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Institutional collaboration and shared learning for forest management in Chivi district, Zimbabwe

by Portal Web Editor last modified Jan 10, 2013 09:11 AM
Contributors: Nontokozo Nemarundwe

This chapter provides case studies of successes and failures in community based collaborative resource management in southern Zimbabwe. Coordination among institutions is analyzed, especially their ability to adapt together to changing social and environmental conditions. It is argued that CBNRM works best in a context of institutional collaboration and shared learning. In cases where there were overlaps in authority, conflicts occurred and management goals sacrificed. Lack of incentives to involve community leaders hindered collaborative management efforts, as neglecting to involve these leaders eventually haunted the project and had to be addressed in retrospect. Had there been a mechanism of formally reflecting on and changing projects in progress, problems such as these could have been remedied more quickly. Key elements of successful collaborative management included enhancing farmer's creativity and capacity, involvement of farmers in actions, debates, reflections and self-evaluations, encouragement of coordination among interest groups, using a facilitator during project development, and learning by doing. Institutions that need to be included should be identified early in the planning process and agreement needs to be reached among these parties at each stage. More specifically, three requirements for collaboration are identified and described: effective facilitation of experimental learning, equal power in the learning process, and willingness to engage in a multi-stage process despite costs. Success rates would be boosted if local groups could provide their own trained facilitators, since current facilitators often are not neutral. Recommendations focus on creating institutions that adapt, as opposed to simply enduring. Such concepts as double loop learning are described, which refers to learning that occurs when institutions change their actions and the assumptions on which the practices were based. Social learning is a multi-stage process that involves investment over time and is expensive but is important to CBNRM success.

Author(s): Nontokozo Nemarundwe

Publication Date: 2001

Location: Zimbabwe

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