Local participation in research & extension for conservation & development of natural resources: A summary of approaches


C. Flora; S. Gasteyer; E. Fernandez-Baca; D. Banerji; S. Bastian; S. Aleman; M. Kroma; A. Meares

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Conference Proceeding or Document


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This paper explores the elements that lead communities to take action to protect ecosystem health. The operating assumption has been that the provision of information would be the essential ingredient in spurring communities to protect natural resources.

Our conceptualization of local action on issues of ecosystem health links context, process, and impacts. The context refers to the social, economic, political and natural conditions of a given community as it organizes to protect drinking water. The process refers to the kinds of actions taken by community or other organizations and interim results of those actions to bring about change, such as structures built, organizations founded, membership increased, actions taken. The impacts refer to the results of actions and outputs or outcomes, such as cleaner water or a more inclusive process of decision making that takes into account upstream and downstream stakeholders. As an analytical tool we have used indicators of human, social, financial, built, and natural capital to measure the state and change at each of these phases of the process.

The conclusions of this work are that the process of protecting and managing water resources is necessarily linked to building, strengthening, and expanding the definition of communityand as such that watershed management must be related to community development and empowerment more broadly defined (Shaxson 1999). This means valuing local knowledge and local ways of knowingnot just as a way to get citizens to accept the conventional scientific wisdom, but as a way of expanding the learning and decision making process (Chambers 1983; Cortner and Moote 1999). To understand the parameters for developing indicators of process, we have conducted a brief Overview of participatory approaches to research and development.

Additional Bibliographic Information

Paper presented at the Sixteenth meeting of the International Farming Systems Association, Santiago, Chile, 30 November 2000

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