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Where the Rhetoric Meets the Road: Collaborative Teaching and Learning in a Participatory, sustainable Mountain Development Initiative in Northern Mexico

Emilia Gonzalez-Clements

The Carranza-Casillas Sustainable Mountain Development Initiative, sponsored by a private agency from Oregon, aims to build capacity of villagers in a river valley in Northern Mexico by providing training and financial, technical, and research support for their endeavors. The people share a history of exploration, conquest, colonization, migration, independence, hacienda, revolution, agrarian reform, modernization, privatization, and globalization. This article describes the exchange of teaching and learning between U.S. volunteers and local partners that builds on over twenty years of continuous mutual involvement from academic research to small participatory development projects. Participation and sustainability are development approaches that have emerged in the last few decades, which have a rich and constantly expanding literature–the rhetoric. When the rhetoric meets the road–collaborative planning in the field setting–process and content are highlighted, along with insights from research and application. [sustainable development, participatory research, technical support, Mexico]

The Applied Anthropologist, No. 2, Vol. 28, 2008, pp 176 - 191

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