July 28th, 2015

Increasing local capacities in participatory rural appraisal methods in Caquetá, Colombia

- Blog post by Paul Peters -

Last week a new chapter in the SAL (Sustainable Amazonian Landscapes) project came to its end. A social science team from CIAT consisting of Erwan Sachet, Martha Vanegas, Paul Peters, Marcela Beltran and Gisella Cruz went to Florencia, Caqueta to conduct a training to build local capacities for the development of participatory rural appraisal methods (PRA). The participants of the workshop were student and graduates from the University UNIAMAZ in Florencia , as well as professional staff from CIPAV and SINCHI. Around 15 to 20 participants were trained on the following exercises:

  1. Local perceptions on climate change and the effect on ecosystem services
  2. Cause effect diagrams of deforestation
  3. Participatory tree selection for agroforestry and silvopastoral systems
  4. Land use trends
  5. Effect-adaptation strategies diagram on climate change
  6. Local adaptation strategies to cope with social, economic and environmental issues

After the workshop, a pilot study was conducted with local farmers to adjust methodologies to the local context. This workshop was very fruitful, and both farmers and participants found it very motivating. Farmers participating in the workshop expressed their appreciation given that this kind of participatory exercises made them reflect on their own livelihoods, major problems and environmental concerns, and look for bottom-up solutions instead of depending exclusively on external support to solve to their local problems.

Selection of tree species

At the end of the workshop all farmers received 50 small native trees that they will plant in their fields.

After the fieldwork the students presented the results of the workshop and reflected on their experience together with the other participants. They critically reviewed their work, thinking on ways to further improve their skills on PRA methods, for the upcoming SAL fieldwork activities and their future professional careers.



For more information on the SAL project please visit:

Creating Sustainable Amazonian Landscapes (SAL) through participatory research in the productive agricultural systems of Caquetá, Colombia

Arranca nuevo Proyecto del CIAT: Paisajes Sostenibles para la Amazonía (SAL)


This work was undertaken as part of the project “Sustainable Amazonian Landscapes” which is supported by the International Climate Initiative (IKI). The project is led by CIAT and implemented together with the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), the Center for Research on Sustainable Systems of Agriculture Production (CIPAV), Instituto Amazónico de Investigaciones Científicas SINCHI, Universidad de la Amazonía, Instituto de Investigaciones de la Amazonía Peruana (IIAP), and Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina (UNALM).

Tags: Participatory research