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Differences in perception between planners, management, and participants in the scheme

First of all, certain elements must be examined if an under standing of the differences between the planners' perception, represented by the present scheme model, and the settler's perception is to be reached. These may be divided into two distinct groups - first the meaning of the original scheme plan, its objectives, and the possible reforms and obstacles to its understanding as seen by the two parties, and second the resultant adaptive responses as expressed by the tenants themselves, less directly in their poetry, and indirectly in their health records and resource misuse. This problem can also be reviewed through the ideas of what sort of improved model would best meet the expectations of scheme participants. Finally it is necessary to suggest an improved model midway between these two perceptions so as to ensure a better performance of the scheme within the framework of a comprehensive approach to regional development in eastern Sudan.

TABLE 4. Perception of scheme's main objectives (Nubians excluded)

  Partially settled Permanent settlers Average
Answer No. % No. % %
1. Resettlement of Nubians          
and then nomads 30 62.4 31 49.2 55.8
2. Government and settlers' benefits 15 23.8      
3. Use of Butane land and          
Atbara River's water 3 6.3 10 15.9 11.2
4. Settlement of nomads only 15 13.3 7 11.1 21.2
Total 48 100.0 63 100.0  

Source: 1981 field survey

TABLE 5. Why the scheme failed to achieve the set of perceived objectives (Nubians excluded)

Answer Partially settled Permanent settlers Average
No. % No. %
1. Scheme plan did not accomodate livestock 27 60.0 21 55.3 57.6
2. Government failed to meet promises and people did not settle 9 20.0 10 26.3 23.2
3. Plan did not cater for tenants' perception and socio-economic network 9 20.0 7 18.4 19.2
Total   45 100.0 38 100.0

Source: 1981 field survey

TABLE 6. Why plan did not accommodate livestock with the crop rotation

  Nomads Nubian
Answer (%) (%)
1. Damage to crops, especially cotton 41.5 44.5
2. Nomads will care for animals more than crops 26.9 -
3. Not realizing economic value of animals 15.9 -
4. Idea was to change nomads to tenants only 8.5 22.2
5. To keep large herds of animals away and avoid conflicts 7.3 33.3
Total 100.0 100.0

The results indicate general agreement about the scheme's set objectives, despite some disagreement among participants that the objectives were not the ones they aspired to. More than 56 per cent of the respondents among nomads stated that the principal scheme objective is the resettlement of the Nubian people in the first place and then nomads (table 4). Well over 73 per cent of the nomadic respondents stated that this is not the objective they aspired to. This is clear from responses as to why the scheme failed to achieve the set of objectives as they perceived them (table 5). More than 58 per cent attribute this to the failure of the scheme to accommodate livestock, 23 per cent to government failure to keep promises, and 20 per cent to the failure of the scheme plan to cater for the tenants' perception and failure to take sufficient account of the social and culture traditions of the settlers (socioeconomic network) (table 6).

FIG 4 Nomadism in the Butana

As to the best way of integrating livestock into the scheme, 63 per cent of all nomads suggested the creation of special animal breeding areas within the scheme, and 37 per cent suggested incorporating fodder crops into the rotation and developing mixed farming. Nubians were equally divided between the two suggestions. Being more involved in animal breeding, their attitude towards livestock in the scheme is less extreme than it used to be.

Eighty-three per cent of the Nubians attribute the scheme's failure to the original plan's neglect of the tenants' perceptions and socioeconomic network. By this they mean something different from the nomads, who have a livestock economy in mind. The Nubians refer to the unregulated small-scale agricultural system which they practiced in their original home region. On the other side, three out of five top management officials asserted the soundness of the original plan, maintaining that it had the flexibility to consider the users and to accommodate tenants' suggestions. They cited the opportunities for participation in management through the Tenants' Association and the recent acceptance of aura in the rotation and the agreement to incorporate a specific number of animal units (five sheep, one cow) for each tenant in the scheme. Tenants, especially nomads, think that this is not due to flexibility in the plan or to management attitude but rather is the result of pressure exerted by the Tenants' Association. In fact the whole series of differences in perception stem from disagreement over this point of whether the original plan is sound or not. Nomads consider the scheme plan not sound because it did not cater for livestock and aura. However, 58.6 per cent of the partially settled nomads consider the plan unsound compared with only 41 per cent of the permanently settled nomad tenants. This may suggest a change in perception with change in culture and contact, with a decreased reliance on the livestock economy among permanent settlers, who in most cases lost their animal wealth before coming into the scheme.

TABLE 7. Perception analysis-permanently settled formerly nomadic tenants

Answer No. %
A. Image of the scheme on first arrival
1. Successful and properly planned and managed 34 58.7
2. Chance of better life 18 31.0
3. No clear picture 6 10.3
Total 54 100.0
(For answers 1 and 2 above) What changed that image?    
1. Poor management and decline in productivity 27 54.5
2. Failure to lead better life 15 29.4
3. Not accepting livestock 8 15.7
Total 51 100.0
B. Settlers' view of planners' perception of the scheme
1. Successful enterprise for national interest 30 52.6
2. Increase productivity of land, water, and man 14 24.6
3. Give nomads chance to settle and lead a better life 1322.8  
Total 57 100.0
C. Why settlers and planners have different perceptions of the scheme
1. Difference in background 23 41.0
2. Planners copy theoretical models only 17 30.4
3. Planners think of a quick return and think they have a national mission 16 28.6
Total 56 100.0

Source: 1981 field survey

Similar results were obtained in response to questions related to the degree of achievement of expectations of the scheme as the tenants had perceived them. Of permanent settlers, 58.2 per cent felt that the scheme had succeeded in achieving for them some of their objectives, i.e. permanent settlement, better services, and increased income. Of the partially settled tenants, 44 per cent thought that the scheme had satisfied some of their expectations, i.e. increased income, better services, and available fodder. The state of dissatisfaction was far higher among the Nubians, 83 per cent of whom reported that scheme achievement is far behind their expectations. This appears to be due to their high level of expectation from the scheme compared with the nomads' more modest expectation based on their perception that the scheme was not in the first instance designed for them. This belief is evident from responses relating to the image of the scheme when tenants first joined. Only 58.7 per cent of the nomads expected it to be successful and properly designed to meet their expectations, while 31 per cent believed it would give them a chance of a better life, and a further 10.3 per cent had no clear picture of what the scheme could provide. By contrast, 97 per cent of the Nubians expected the scheme to be successful and proper!y planned to meet their aspirations.

The perception gap is more evident from the replies to questions as to what the users think are the planners' and management's image and perception of the scheme. Similar questions were put to top management officials, asking what they think is the nomads' perception of the scheme. The response of the nomads is summarized in table 7. The present management still adheres to the original assumption that nomads perceive, or should perceive, development simply in terms of increased income Three of the five top officials reported this, and the other two believed that the nomads have no clear idea of what development means at all. Answers by management are based on assumption and not on substantial evidence or any in-depth study of the nomads' socio-economic network. The top officials were divided when asked the points at which their perception and that of scheme users meet. Two of the respondents thought that they met in "better life" and "more income" and the rest thought this occurred at "full settlement and integration of animals in the scheme". This last is a hopeful sign that in future a compromise suitable to both sides can in fact be reached.

This perception gap creates important obstacles to the dissemination of information about the scheme to the users and to understanding any feedback. Respondents thought the management was basically not interested in the free flow of information to them and from them because it follows a tight programme of work as specified in the scheme's original plan. Ninety-eight per cent of the partially settled nomads and 67.6 per cent of the permanent settlers believed this. Reasons given for this lack of interest in information flow and the best way of improving the means of information flow are summarized in table 8.

TABLE 8. Participants' views on the dissemination of information by management (Nubians excluded)

Answer Partially settled Permanently settled
No. % No. %
A. Causes of poor information flow
1. Management is not interested in our ideas 27 75 21 35
2. Management inefficiency 9 25 16 26.7
3. Management has Iim ited resources - - 14 23.3
4. Poor communication system in the scheme - - 9 15.0
Total 36 100.0 60 100.0
B. Means of information transmission
1. Village committee and Tenants' Association 9 22.5 33 55.9
2. Field staff 10 25.0 17 28.9
3. Other sources 21 52.5 6 10.2
4. Personal contact - - 3 5.0
Total 40 100.0 59 100.0
C. Towards an improvement of information transmission
1. Actual tenant participation and efficient communication system 9 22.5 29 60.4
2. Power and training to tenants under open-minded management 10 25.0 19 39.6
3. Joint meetings and more contact with management 21 52.5    
Total 40 100.0 48 100.0

Source: 1981 field survey

TABLE 9. Reasons for attachment to the scheme when it is not financially rewarding (Nubians excluded)

Answer Partially settled Permanent settlers
No. % No. %
1. Permanent settlement and services - - 48 51.6
2. Hope for change 18 17.6 21 22.6
3. Base for other activities, services, work, income,market, and water supply 33 32.3 9 9.7
4. Butana no longer suitable for living - - 7 7.5
5. No other alternative 12 11.8 8 8.6
6. Fodder for livestock 39 38.3 - -
Total 102 100.0 93 100.0

Source: 1981 field survey

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