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The exchange trip as a learning method

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Le voyage d’échange comme méthode d’apprentissage - fiche illustrée EN

Context

In September 2019, two peasant organizations that are members of the collective Train to Transform, MPP and UGPM - met in Senegal for a week-long exchange trip.

We experimented with this modality of exchange for the first time within our collective and together we drew lessons that appear in this article .

The exchange trip thus appears, under many aspects, as an interesting and enriching learning method.

3 main areas of learning

I Analysis of contexts.

  • Common challenges around agro-ecology : subsistence during the lean season, water storage, the issue of valuing agro-ecological practices/communication around products.
  • Common challenges around the dynamics of peasant groups : the demobilization of peasants, the question of the exodus of young people, the question of relations of domination in the groups, the question of the constitution of the groups and the selection of the facilitator.
  • Difficulties are shared  : the financing of actions, environmental hazards, the question of succession and the declining attractiveness of the farming profession, the high illiteracy rate in rural areas, environmental degradation/climate change, the rural exodus and the exodus abroad (particularly among young people), land pressure.
  • Specificities specific to each context : the high rate of deforestation in Haiti, the long dry season in Senegal, the relationship with the State and the political/economic situation of the country.

II Analysis of the organizations

  • Visions  : the meeting allows to confront visions on many themes : the relationship to politics, social transformation, or on the vision of common practices such as agro-ecology. The preparation of these exchanges required a process of reflection and reformulation that led to a strengthening of teamwork and cohesion within the teams.
  • The organization : inter-knowledge of organization charts and structures, functioning, decision-making bodies, scales of autonomy and size of farmers’ groups.
  • Taking a step back  : the exchange allows you to benefit from an external viewpoint, as well as to start a process of presentation of your own organization : these two aspects allow organizations to better identify the know-how to be valued, or the difficulties they are facing.

III Analysis of methods of action

  • Coaching practices and training methods : How to build and update training modules ? How to articulate the language used in the projects and the local language ? How to select a zone facilitator ? How to mobilize young people ?
  • Exchange of tools and methods : Both organizations have shown a strong interest in the inter-knowledge and direct exchange of tools and methods, given the similarities in terms of the themes addressed, practices and issues.
  • Ideas for local action : The exchange developed in the participating organisations the idea of implementing on their territory, practices or experiences presented by the other organisation. Examples : on the radio as a distance learning tool for the UGPM ; on solidarity mechanisms within the groups observed during the trip for the MPP.
  • The development of expectations and desires : the trip raised, among other things, expectations on the part of the UGPM on a strengthening of its approach in Change-Oriented Approaches, and on the part of the MPP the desire to discover more about the system of endogenous (proximity) facilitators. The participants expressed the desire to continue the exchange of tools and methods, which will continue after the trip.
  • The participants expressed the desire to continue the exchange of tools and methods, which will continue after the trip.