Written by William A.Twayigize
What are the levels of community participatory for natural resources management intervention?
There are a number of ways to consider community participatory natural resources management. As demonstrated in the discussion above of advantages and disadvantages, this kind of process always presents, even at best, a trade-off between efficiency and inclusiveness. Time pressure, the needs of the community, the skills and experience of those participating, and the nature of the intervention, among other factors, all help to dictate the actual shape of the natural resources management process.
So what are the possibilities? Just how community participatory do you want to be? David Wilcox, in his excellent "Guide to Effective Participation," sets out the following as a model of the different possible levels of participation:
- Information - The least you can do is tell people what is planned.
- Consultation - You offer a number of options and listen to the feedback you get.
- Deciding together - You encourage others to provide some additional ideas and options, and join in deciding the best way forward.
- Acting together - Not only do different interests decide together what is best, but they form a partnership to carry it out.
- Supporting independent community initiatives - You help others do what they want - perhaps within a framework of grants, advice and support provided by the resource holder.
Each of these levels may be appropriate in different circumstances, or with different groups, although only at "deciding together" and above do they really begin to be fully community participatory in the sense that the term is used in this section.