Qualitative study of the empowerment of bird guides, their experiences and expectations resulting from training received as part of a conservation initiative.
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This report presents the fmdings of an exploratory study into the perceived benefits and subjective experiences of Local Bird Guides along the Zululand Birding Route, an avitourism project, sponsored by Rio-Tinto, managed by BirdLife South Africa (BLSA), one of the largest conservation Non-Governmental Organisations in South Africa. The report explores the impact development and empowerment, through training, offered by BLSA as part of a conservation initiative, has had on the every day lives of Local Bird Guides. The fmdings are based on research generated by conducting qualitative, semistructured interviews with eight Local Bird Guides operating along the Zululand Birding Route. Recorded interviews were transcribed, and analysed using theory led thematic analysis. The results of the study provide insight into the perceived benefits and expectations of participants, their experiences, perceptions, expectations and disappointments in respect of the project.