Participatory Monitoring and Impact Assessment of Sustainable Agriculture Initiatives: An introduction to the key elements
The pressure is on to prove the effectiveness of efforts that claim to lead to more sustainable development. Over the past fifteen years, funding agencies have invested much effort, money and faith in participatory natural resource management (NRM). There is now growing attention to finding out how effective this work has been, fuelling an interest in participatory monitoring. This interest is being further stimulated by a general push for better accountability and a need for more local level environmental information. However, participatory monitoring is far from straightforward. This document is a practical, methodological introduction to establishing a participatory monitoring process for sustainable agriculture initiatives. After explaining the objectives of the research, this document introduces several key concepts and identifies steps in developing a monitoring system. The paper ends by reflecting on common pitfalls and specific difficulties faced in Brazil in starting up a participatory monitoring system for assessing sustainable agriculture.