A plant scientist by training, Dr Samantha Adey, did sociological research on interventions of development organisations in small-scale subsistence farming in South Africa. While these interventions are often participatory in nature, there are still lessons to be learned when it comes to the process of development, says Adey.
Judging whether a development process is sustainable depends on the level from which it is viewed, Adey concludes. At field level, it is important that the intervention of the development organisation is based on local knowledge and practices. But that’s not enough. The process itself needs to be sustainable as well, which means that learning should be a key issue in interactions and that development organisations should create room for organisational development. / Joris Tielens
Dr Samantha Adey defended her thesis on 15 November. Her promotor was Professor Han Wiskerke, chair of the Rural Sociology Group at Wageningen University.