Guidelines for Development Agents

Ethiopia's severe soil erosion problems are complicated by the country's wide variety of climatic and geological features. Each area demands a specific type of corrective action depending on its agroclimatic zone and land use patterns. The Ethiopian Community Forests and Soil Conservation Development Department and the Soil Conservation Research Project have gathered much information on the processes and dynamics of and the methods best suited to combat soil erosion. Based upon their cooperative interactions with the Ethiopian State Forest Conservation Development Department, FAO/Ethiopia, and the Swiss International Development Agency, this book makes erosion prevention techniques available to development agents.

The book's three step procedure enables extension workers to identify the particular agroclimactic zone in which they are working and to decide which measures are applicable to their situation. It thoroughly describes field implementation techniques of eighteen soil conservation measures using integrated text, photos, cross-sections and drawings. The text carefully explains such related constraints for each measure as site specifications, side effects, required materials, management practices and combination systems. The final section of the manual contains instructions on using line levels to measure vertical intervals and contours, soil texture identification practices, lists of technical documents and suitable plant species and sample record keeping forms for development agents.

Available in English or Amharic from:

Soil Conservation Research Project
P.O. Box 2597
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia


by Ueli Scheuermeier

Development workers are increasingly constrained by narrow technological approaches to problem-solving in complex rural realities. Project failures can often be traced to underestimation of human resources by the planning and research community. The "Approach Development" philosophy described in this book considers farming families to be the main actors in project scenarios and thus uses their experiences and capacities as the principle resource base for solving community problems.

"approach development" philosophy goes beyond the Farming System methodology by providing participatory tools to help tackle the predicaments that face rural villagers. It is a continuous, systematic action-oriented learning process stressing shared understanding by the development worker with the community. The book's concise wording and down-to-earth drawings describe general aspects, tools, necessary initial steps and related development methods of the approach development practice which grew from the author's successful work in Nepal.

Approach Development
Ueli Scheuermeier, April 1988.
Published by LBL, CH-8315 Lindau (ZH). Switzerland