Researching with farmers : a study of KARI participatory research practices in context

G. Kamau

    Research output: Thesisinternal PhD, WU


      Participatory research was introduced into the Kenyan Agricultural research institute to facilitate a farmer driven research process. The present research analysed the historical and current contexts and practices which could have led to partial achievement of the intended objective.  Studies conducted on selected farmer research groups, farmer self organized groups, farmer partnerships and school groups’ provided insights for an enhanced research practice. Analysis of the institute’s history revealed continuities and discontinuities in spatial outlay and mandates, institutional culture and operational policies. The ambivalence in commercial and subsistence focus, diverse collaborators’ and donors’ agenda besides researchers’ disciplinary bias and professional ambitions were shown to influence research implementation Overlooking of farmers’ perspectives was shown to render existent structures like joint planning and evaluation committees mostly symbolic. Farmer flexibility in response to emergent realities was illustrated by the dynamic farmers’ technical and social innovations while harnessing of synergy through mutual interaction was illustrated by partnerships and the school groups’. In conclusion, it is argued that existent structures to enhance mutual interaction ought to be re-juvenated through enabling strategies at various levels. This would enhance utilization of innovations by farmers and incorporation of farmer perspectives by the researchers. Areas proposed for further research include how to create functional partnerships, communities of practice and mechanisms to change researchers’ views of farmers perspectives aimed at a research process with capacity to respond to dynamic contextual changes.  
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Awarding Institution
    • Wageningen University
    • Richards, Paul, Promotor
    • Karega, R., Co-promotor, External person
    • Hebinck, Paul, Co-promotor
    • Almekinders, Conny, Co-promotor
    Award date25 Oct 2007
    Place of Publication[S.l.]
    Print ISBNs9789085047605
    Publication statusPublished - 2007


    • development studies
    • farmers
    • agricultural research
    • research institutes
    • research projects
    • participation
    • interactions
    • social interaction
    • research workers
    • research policy
    • africa south of sahara
    • kenya
    • participation methods
    • agricultural extension


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