Communication between Participants and Non-participants in Analytical Capacity Building Projects: Management Advice to Family Farms in Benin
The Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension
Purpose: Approaches to build farmers' analytical capacities are said to trigger wideranging changes. This article reports on the communication process between participants and nonparticipants in one such approach, related to the technical and management skills learned by participants and the changes these participants subsequently made, and the outcomes in terms of non-participants' learning. Design/methodology/approach: In this study, we analysed the following: i) participants' learning and
... ts' learning and changes in social practices; ii) communication between participants and non-participants regarding technical and management skills and changes in social practices; iii) non-participants' learning and changes in social practices. The case study was a management advice to family farm project in three villages in Benin. Findings: Most participants learned management skills, which led them to reassess their objectives and to reduce traditional social practices they now considered unproductive. Even in the case of frequent communication, non-participants found it difficult to learn management skills, which hindered their experiential learning. Non-participants consequently had difficulty understanding why participants changed their social practices such as reduction of their traditional gift giving, leading to limited well-argued discussion about these changes in practices between participants and nonparticipants. Practical implication: This study shows that, due to the limited learning process of non-participants communicating with participants, there is a need to design and test approaches to achieve capacitybuilding while including more participants at a similar cost, and to stimulate explicit discussion at village level about the changes in values and social practices that these approaches may trigger. Originality/value: The article analyses both participants and non-participants' experiential learning, and looks at the two sides of the interaction between the communication processes and nonparticipants' learning.