For this short post, Frederic Huybrechs told us how the TruePATH project has been returning to fieldwork – albeit slowly and differently – following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Expanding the citizen-science weather station network
Continuing TruePATH’s citizen-science approach, teams of Centro Humboldt and Nitlapan installed three more weather stations in the municipalities of Rio Blanco and Mulukuku (Nicaragua) in August 2020, taking the network of weather observers to nine farms. The research team maintains contact with the weather observers – at a distance – through a Whatsapp group, which is used to exchange weather data and to disseminate weather reports.
Territorial Development Participatory Course for local actors (Diplomado)
Since early 2020 the staff of Nitlapan-UCA have been facilitating a participatory course on ‘territorial development’ for local actors in the centre of Nicaragua. This ‘diplomado’ course is related to a project by the Basque development cooperation ALBOAN and is also part of the TruePATH process.
It is an intricate part of co-creating knowledge on the characterization of the current and alternative
development pathways in the study region. Through several modules and methodologies (including
simulation games, time-lines, participatory mapping and case studies), the staff of Nitlapan and the
participants engaged in discussions and reflection on the related social, environmental and productive
dynamics of participants’ territories. The 30 participants originate from 19 different communities and
represent over 12 different organizations and NGOs. Together, they conceptualise and critically reflect
on development, ‘territory’, power relations, livelihood strategies and value chains. This evolves into
reasoning about the social and institutional factors that generate processes of exclusion, inequality and environmental degradation in the region.
The course was supposed to end in May, with a grand workshop bringing together participants of the course and other local actors. Unfortunately this was not possible in light of the pandemic, and to respect safety measures the last event of the course was broken into smaller group discussions in the different communities. In these closing discussions, the groups discussed different possible future scenarios, reflected on the drivers of the expected dynamics and discussed possible avenues of change.
All photos courtesy of Frederic Huybrechs.