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Strategic approaches for local community involvement in natural resources management

by Portal Web Editor last modified Jan 10, 2013 09:11 AM
Contributors: Idrissa Mbaye

In Senegal, the ineffectiveness of top-down development strategies has increased demands for community-based resource management. This study by the US Forest Service was conducted to find effective methods for increasing the participation of public and private institutions and NGOs. The goal was to discover methods that could be adapted to natural resource management in Senegal.USFS has learned that top-down approaches are not effective. They now reach out to communities using various methods, depending on whether the local people are involved in management of public or private forests. USFS has identified three roles for itself in community outreach: technology transfer using local knowledge, serving as a center of information, and providing financial assistance for conservation projects. Techniques of outreach include conducting Search Conferences to determine and prioritize needs, celebrating special events such as Arbor Day to increase awareness, and identifying established community leaders. They ask these leaders about community needs and form liaisons with the NGOs through community volunteers to promote networking and participation.Participatory approaches in Senegal have changed since the 1980s, and now focus on being realistic, operational, decentralized, participatory and bottom up rather than top down. Multiple approaches have been developed, including grant programs, private sector programs, multimedia training, test areas for community management, and support of Community Action Plans.The authors recommend that Senegal's government invest in creating enabling conditions for CBNRM, notably: Decentralized management; Increased information dissemination;Land tenure and policy reform; Increasing the role of women in management; Providing technical training; Offering conservation incentives; Increasing access to markets.

Author(s): Idrissa Mbaye

Publication Date: 1994

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