- About IDCE
Richard Ford, Ph.D.
Research Professor of International Development and Social Change
Ph.D. in African History, University of Denver, 1966
M.A. in History, Yale University, 1959
B.A. Economics, Denison University, 1957
Resource trends and resource management in Africa, community participation and sustainable development, conflict mediation, community-based planning, monitoring and evaluation
Professor Richard Ford has 40 years field experience in rural African land use and management. His writings focus on community institutions, integration of traditional practices into contemporary decision-making and policy, poverty alleviation, conflict mediation, and community-based planning. He has worked in 25 African countries (especially Kenya, Somalia, Somaliland, Ghana, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Senegal, Mali, The Gambia, Malawi, Zambia, Madagascar, and Rwanda) on these themes. More recently, he has conducted field research and training in India, The Philippines, Romania, Iraq, Bangladesh, and the South Pacific. In 1988, working jointly with colleagues from Clark and Kenya's National Environment Secretariat, he adapted the Rapid Rural Appraisal to be responsive to community priorities and needs. This was the beginning of Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA). Since that time, PRA has spread to many thousands of agencies in Africa and elsewhere.
Ford has been the recipient of several foundation and agency grants including those from the U.S. Peace Corps, Ford Foundation, ActionAid, VITA, US-AID, African Development Foundation, Development Alternatives, Save the Children, Terre des Hommes Foundation Italy, International Cooperation for Development, Ghana Organization for Voluntary Assistance, Chemonics, United States Institute of Peace, and GTZ primarily on applications of participatory rural appraisal and policy analysis for participatory poverty alleviation for village-based planning, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation.
An IDCE student/faculty team, led by Ford and IDCE director William Fisher, helped conduct workshops with the Bhutanese that provided tools and strategies to help them establish lives in the United States. The program stems from Ford’s work in Kenya 25 years ago, where he and fellow Clark research professor Barbara Thomas-Slayter, working with several Kenyan colleagues, developed the process known as PRA, which uses community-based development and action to build stable, thriving communities. Ford and his students first put those practices to use domestically in Lewiston, Maine, which has been host to an influx of refugees from war-torn Somalia beginning in 2001. For the Concord project, he conducted a seven-week module course on PRA during the spring 2010 semester that was designed to be a “hands-on community-building experience.” As a result of the project, the group developed the publication "The Long Trek from Bhutan to America: A Journey from the Foothills of the Himalayas to Concord, New Hampshire," which you can download as a PDF file. Read more about the project and view the video here.
Ford, R.B., Edna Adan Ismail, Hussein M. Adam, (eds.) War Destroys, Peace Nurtures: Somali Reconciliation and Development (Africa World Press, 2004).
Ford, R.B. and Hussein Adam (eds.) Mending Rips in the Sky: Exploring Options for Somali Communities in the 21st Century, Red Sea Press, 1997.
Ford, R.B., “Somali Pastoralists in Lewiston, Maine: Searching with Participatory Tools for a New Life,” in Somalia: Diaspora and State Reconstitution In The Horn Of Africa, Abdulkadir Osman Farah, Mammo Muchie & Joakim Gundel, (eds.) Adonis &Abbey Publishers, 2007.
Ford, R.B., “Sub-Saharan Africa: Muslim Women’s Agriculture in East Africa,” in Encyclopedia of Women and Islamic Cultures, Vol. 4, Economics, Education, Mobility, and Space, Suad Joseph (ed.), Brill: Leiden and Boston, 2007.
Ford, R.B., Mark Bohe, Edith Veg, Zsofia Sztranyiczki, Magda Zoltan, Edit Bartha and Catherine Cordes, Reducing Conflict, Increasing Development: A Case Study of Felsőrákos in the Háromszék Region, Transylvania, (IDCE, Clark University; Unitarian Universalist Church of Romania, Unitarian Universalist Partner Church Council, 2005. also available in Hungarian.
Ford, R.B., Assane Goudiaby, Laura Miller, and Louise Sarr, “PAPPA à Nganda: rapport préliminaire, - (a field guide for use in Francophone West Africa), Published jointly by ISE/Senegal and IDCE/Clark, 2005.
Ford. R.B., “Using Participatory Tools in Refugee Settlements: An Example from the Somali Community in Lewiston, Maine (USA) in Kari Nes, Tove Skoug, Marit Strømstad (eds.), Somaliere i Norge: Perspektiver på integrering, språk og religion (Vallset, Norway, 2005).
Ford, R.B., Nihal Anton Attanayake, Myra Vivaris-Waddington, Rebecca Quimada Sienes, Mato Bato - Solving a Water Problem on Negros Island through Community Action: A PAPPA Community-Based Assessment of Nagbinlod Barangay Santa Catalina Municipality Negros, The Philippines (IDCE, Clark University; Unitarian Universalist Church of the Philippines, 2004)
Ford, R.B. and Adan Abokor, “Participatory Tools for Peace Building: New Models for African Governance,” in War Destroys, Peace Nurtures: Somali Reconciliation and Development (Africa World Press, 2004).
Ford, R.B., Laura Hammond, Abdirizak Mahboub, and Shukri Abdillahi entitled, Somali Families in Hillview: Assessing Needs, Setting Priorities, Building Consensus. (IDCE and the City of Lewiston, 2003).
Ford, R.B. Adan Abokor and Shukri Abdullahi, Nabad iyo Caano (Peace and Milk): Linking Peace Building and Community-Based Development for a Decentralized Somaliland (Program for International Development, Clark University, 2002).
Ford, R.B. and B.Thomas-Slayter, "Alternatives to Anarchy: Africa’s Transition from Agricultural to Industrial Societies" in Progress in Planning, (Volume 56, Part 2, August 2001).
Ford, R.B., Eric Arthur Thipthorpe, and Abdullah Al Hasan Shamin, Listening to Street and Slum Children in Dhaka (Bangladesh): Using Participatory Tools for Urban Planning and Action. (2001).
Ford, R.B. and William McConnell, “Linking GIS and Participation to Manage Natural Resources in Madagascar,” in Biological Diversity: Balancing Interests through Adaptive Collaborative Management, (eds. Louise E. Buck, Charles C. Geisler, John W. Schelhas and Eva Wollenberg, CRC Press, Boca Raton, 2001).
Ford, R.B., “Building Capacities for Local Governance: An Example from Somalia of Planning, Conflict Resolution, and Action When There Is No Government”(Bar El, R. (ed.) Proceedings of Conference on Integration of the Mediterranean Basin, 2000).
Ford, R.B. with Frances Lelo and Harlys Rabarison, “New Models for Community-Based Monitoring: Linking Governance and Responsible Resource Management” in African Development Perspectives Yearbook, Vol 3, (Lit Verlag Munster, Hamburg, 1999).
Ford, R.B. “Katheka Revisited: An Inquiry Into Participation, Urban Agriculture, and the Challenge of Intensified Resource Utilization,” in David Grossman (ed.) Urban and Peri-Urban Agriculture in Africa (Ashgate: Aldershot, 1999).
Ford, R.B and Hussein Adam, “Removing Barricades: Options for Peace and Rehabilitation in Somalia” Peaceworks Series of the United States Institute of Peace, 1999.
Ford, R.B. Francis Lelo and Harlys Rabarison. “Linking Governance and Effective Resource Management: A Guidebook for Community-Based Monitoring and Evaluation,” Program for International Development, Egerton University, and APAM (Protected Areas of Andasibe/Mantadia) Madagascar, March, 1998.
Community Development and Planning
Participatory Development Planning