socio-economics of tsetse control
Investigating Collective Action
An accurate and useful picture of a community’s potential for collective
action can only be gained from careful and well-resourced participatory
study. Such a study is likely to use:
• Group discussions
• Participatory diagramming exercises, and
• Semi-structured interviews with key informants.
The last is important because large open discussions may be dominated
by the most powerful interests in the community and relay their view about
how institutions should work in principle, rather than the views of the
less powerful about how institutions work in practice.
Some of the key issues for study will be:
Social, economic and cultural homogeneity has been identified as an important
variable in determining the potential for collective action (e.g. by Kamuanga
2003). Forms of wealth ranking and similar exercises can help in determining
whether there are widely divergent interests within a programme area.
The existing patterns of institutions
Existing institutions (in the broad sense of both organisations and patterns
of behaviour) will greatly affect the potential for collective action
on tsetse control. Relevant institutions will include both formal/governmental
and traditional institutions, and institutions for general community government,
natural resource management, collaboration in herding or other forms of
labour, and income-generating activity, as well as organisations that
seem to have a religious, cultural or solely social function. In general,
demonstrated collaboration or collective action in another field makes
it more likely that collective action can be used in tsetse control, even
if the same institution is not involved. Various forms of participatory
diagramming can be used to understand the role of institutions better.
Matrices and ranking exercises can show the relative valuations and priorities
people assign to institutions, generally and for specific needs. Venn
diagrams may be useful in visualising the relative importance of institutions
and the linkages between them.
The size of existing institutions is also an important variable to consider,
as some authors (Kamuanga 2003) consider that tsetse control is best organised
through small groups (less than 20 members) that can ensure effective
collective action. However, if the most important existing institututions
are on a larger scale, it may still be preferable to organise tsetse control
Because tsetse control must operate over a defined area, the spatial aspect
of institutions is very important, and can be investigated using participatory
mapping. For example, in Konso, Southern Ethiopia, men of a single village
may maintain fora (lowland cattle camps) in different areas, and a fora
may contain men from many different villages. Furthermore, while there
is a defined Konso grazing territory, Konso people are increasingly grazing
their cattle in areas associated with other ethnic groups, sometimes alongside
those groups, sometimes not. So the potential for collective action within
Konso society (which is considerable) may be insufficient to allow effective
collective action for tsetse control in those areas.
While it should not be assumed that collective action can only be stimulated
by threat of sanctions, it is interesting to investigate what sanctions
people consider they can or could use against those who fail to comply.
For example, in Handeni, Tanzania, cattle-owners talked about passing
formal bye-laws through the local government system to give livestock
committees the power to fine those who did not regularly dip cattle, but
it was unclear if this was legally or politically feasible. More convincingly,
some spoke of not allowing non-dippers to herd with other members of the
community, a very powerful sanction as it means effectively a suspension
of labour-sharing arrangements.
DFID (1999) Sustainable Livelihoods Guidance Sheets 4.9 Livelihoods Assets
I, 4.10 Livelihoods Assets II and 4.11 Policy, Institutions and Processes.
Available in pdf format here
or rtf format here.
Kamuanga, M (2003) Socio-Economic and Cultural factors in the Research
and Control of Trypanosomiasis. PAAT Technical and Scientific Series
4, FAO, Rome.