Studying the Effective Factors on Participation of Rural People in Watershed Plans of Khomarak Basin (Case study: Deh Jalal village)



In the recent years for achieving development in different countries, various theories have been presented, but nearly all the experts and scholars emphasize the necessity and importance of attention to human resources and active participation of people in the development process, as one of the main ways of internalization the development. Participation of the people particularly in the rural regions in the various development programs, including watershed plans, leads to increasing of capability and suitable use of available facilities and resources in the basin areas. Several studies have shown that if the plans and projects perform without involving and participation of the local people, they will not accept the responsibility for maintaining those plans and will not attempt to eliminate their disadvantages and shortcomings. In the other words, rural people increase largely the efficiency of the activities and plans by involving theirselves in the watershed projects and plans. Worldwide experiences suggest that more watershed projects have faced with defeat and failure because the farmers and locals have not participated in the different stages of planning, implementation and evaluation of the projects. However, considering the importance of rural people participation in the watershed projects and activities, it seems that investigation and identification of the effective factor on participation in such activities is are key steps in achieving and improving the real participation of people. Regarding the importance of this fact, the main purpose of this survey has been studying of effective factors on participation of rural people in watershed plans in Deh Jalal village.

The method degy of the study in terms of the nature, rate and degree of control; and the method of data collection was quantitative, non-experimental and field research, respectively. The statistical population of the study consisted of all the heads of household in Deh Jalal village (N= 178). According to Morgan & Krejcie table, 120 persons amang them were selected by Simple Random Sampling for doing the study (n=120). the questionnaires were used for collecting the data. A panel of experts in the field of participation and rural development established the validity of the questionnaires. A pilot study was conducted to establish reliability of the instrument. Cronbach alpha's coefficients for the main scales of questionnaires including rural people participation rate in the watershed plans, rural people attitudes towards watershed plans, rural people familiarity level with watershed plans and rural people views towards the importance of each of the participation barriers in the watershed plans were 0.82, 0.76, 0.98 and 0.78, respectively. Collected data were analyzed using the SPSSWin18 software. For data analysis, descriptive statistics (including frequency, percentage, mean, standard deviation and coefficient variation) and inferential statistics (including regression analysis) were used. According to the results, "other rural people" has been the most important respondents’ familiar channel with watershed plans.

The descriptive results revealed that in total, participation of respondents in different stages of planning, implementation and evaluation of watershed plans was at the very low and low level. Also, the results showed that in spite of low level of respondents’ familiarity with watershed plans, they have positive attitudes towards the plans. Based on the results, the most important barriers of rural people participation in watershed plans were including: low level of rural people awareness on watershed plans, lack of suitable information systems to local people awareness on watershed activities, lack of adequate accessibility to credit facilities and government supports and having no sufficient financial ability to participation in the watershed plans. Based on regression analysis, 63% variances of dependent variable of participation of rural people in watershed plans were explained by the four variables: the level of the respondents’ familiarity with watershed plans, the respondents’ attitudes towards watershed plans, and their literacy level and agricultural work experiences of the respondents.

According to the main findings of the survey, some suggestions were presented in order to increase the rural people participation in the watershed activities and projects: 1) Providing information to rural people on different aspects of watershed plans through various extension methods and mechanisms such as preparation and distribution of posters, brochures and other printed materials, preparation and conducting the radio and television programs and educational films, conducting the meetings, workshops and training courses and similar things; 2) providing financial facilities and low-interest loans to rural people through the Agricultural Bank and other relevant institutions to support the villagers to sustainable participation in the watershed plans; and 3) Conducting the several consultative meetings with the rural people and taking their opinions before doing any action in the various stages of planning, implementation and evaluation of watershed plans.