Latin America: Cooperation at eye level – understanding and effectiveness of the work with promoters in the extension of sustainable land management and agroecology
MISEREOR has been working with partner organisations for many years to promote agroecological development in Latin America by training local farmers as promoters. Promoters are selected from the communities and are considered ‘grassroots-level actors’ in their municipalities to engage in the joint elaboration of agroecological production and lifestyles. However, there are methodical and technical differences in the training of the various organisations. To date in most project proposals no methodical objectives exists.
FAKT was tasked to collect and secure data on the methodical approach practised for the work with promoters and to examine the effectiveness of the instruments applied. An evaluation was carried out in 14 organisations from three countries in Central America and five countries in South America. For a more detailed study, five organisations were selected on the basis of the selection criteria ‘experience with the approach’, ‘specific characteristics’ and ‘geographical location’.
The main results of the study show that grassroot actors have high credibility in their environment and improve problem-solving capacity in collaboration with smallholder farmers. The continuous work with promoters shows positive influences in the local agrarian economy and favors the adoption of new practices in their collaborative work. In particular, the involvement of promoters in socially disrupted environments shows an improvement of social cohesion and identification. In the formation and during their practical engagement their personal and communication skills increase. This is reflected in increased personal initiative for cooperation in communities and advocacy for political interests in their regions. In addition, the attractiveness for engaging as a promotor is increasing within women (44-61% of all promoters contacted) and young people (30-50% of all promoters contacted). The study also highlights the importance of exchange platforms to foster exchange among MISEREOR partners and the need for an enhanced methodological reflection and training for promoters.