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About the field manual

This manual offers guidelines for using Rapid Appraisal methods 1 to gather information on tenure and natural resource management. It will not give a full introduction to RA methodology since there are already many documents available on that subject. However, it will remind the reader of some of the most important features of the methodology 2. Neither will it go into much detail explaining tenure and how it relates to development projects. There is already an FAO concept paper (Bruce 1989) that discusses these issues and it may usefully be read as a companion volume to this one. In addition, Appendix 2 suggests further reading on tenure and natural resource issues. It will therefore be assumed that (1) the reader is already familiar with RA and (2) the project for which the manual is being used needs certain information about tenure and natural resource management. The manual will suggest how RA techniques might be used to get the necessary information.

One important reminder is necessary. What follows is not a recipe! It should not be followed as such. Rather, the manual offers suggestions for activities that may prove useful in a tenure study. These must be mixed with the ideas and especially the good judgement of the user before they will produce results of any value. In any given situation, some of the suggestions may not be relevant or may not work. Even those which do seem useful will have to be adapted to the particular kind of study being undertaken and the specific working conditions. RA not only encourages but obliges the practitioner to be creative and resourceful.

The guide addresses, in order, the principal steps in doing an RA study of tenure issues. Chapter 1 gives a brief introduction to tenure and Rapid Appraisal. Preparations needed to do a tenure study are discussed in Chapter 2. Chapter 3 suggests practical techniques that have proved useful in gathering information in the field. Chapter 4 presents methods that may be helpful in organizing and analysing the information collected as well as writing the report. The final chapter discusses issues that may come up in using the information that has been gathered and notes some of the more common problems that may arise.

1 The term RA is being used to refer to the group of methodologies that includes Rapid Rural Appraisal (RRA), Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) and other similar techniques. Much of the information presented here is applicable to both RRA and PRA (see page 9 for a discussion of the difference) and where this is the case we use "Rapid Appraisal" to cover them both. Where there are significant differences in application between RRA and PRA, these are noted in the text.

2 For those who are not already familiar with RA, some sources of information have been listed in Appendix 1.

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