Community participation in environmental management and the fulfillment of household food security : a case study of Sanale community in Insiza District, Zimbabwe.
Sibanda, Mbizo Edward.
MetadataShow full item record
Current development thinking revolves around sustainable development, which must be achieved at every level of society in order to attain sustainable livelihoods. One way of fulfilling this, is by ensuring that human beings are put at the centre of the development process, that is, development should be woven around people and not people around development. In other words development should be participatory and people should have the opportunity to invest in the development of their capabilities in various facets of their life. This notion was applied to the Sanale community of Insiza District of Zimbabwe. The community in question mobilized itself around projects as a way of tackling mounting environmental and food security problems. The thrust of this thesis therefore is to establish how community participation enhances environmental management and how it can also lead to improvement of food security of the community in question. The study adopted a qualitative research paradigm which entails the non-numerical examination of phenomena focusing on the underlying meanings and patterns of relationships. This is because the study utilized a case study method as a way of gaining an in-depth understanding of the community. Hence, in order to obtain information on the activities of the community in as far as conservation and livelihood issues are concerned fieldwork was undertaken and interviews conducted with household respondents and key informants. A focus group discussion was also conducted with community members involved in programme activities. Review of documents and literature such as journals, occasional papers, proposals , brochures, organizational reports and internet search was conducted in order to obtain information from secondary sources and gain insights from the literature on the subject matter. Also the observation method was used to cross check claims made by both community and key informants with regard conservation and livelihood endeavors by the community. Research findings indicate that the Sanale community managed to pull itself out of a precarious position characterized by environmental degradation and constant food deficits. This was achieved through self-mobilisation and participation in project activities. Such initiatives impacted positively on the lives of poor Sanale villagers including women. It also emerged that projects in Sanale have led to full realization of human capabilities as the community in question presides over their own decisions, have cultivated the right attitude to plan and work resulting in natural resources conservation and fulfillment of livelihood needs. In short, participation of the community in their own development has been a key factor in the success of their projects. Such success can be measured in terms of the improvement of the situation of the community after the inception of projects as compared to before project inception. This was also made possible by stakeholders such as NGOs, Government departments, CBOs and local leaders who played a facilitator role. The study concluded that interactive participation and self-mobilisation of communities is a necessary ingredient for resource conservation and improvement of household food security. However, it emerged in the study that there is need to strengthen institutional structures, national or local, to allow full integration of environmental and developmental issues, at all levels of decision-making. Also important was the sustenance of the Sanale project beyond the life of grants such as GEFSGP and ERF. Further, fostering community participation in all stages of the project cycle is important for the project and community. Above all, the issue of sustainability should preoccupy such projects and multi-stakeholder partnerships should be encouraged if rural projects are to last into the foreseeable future.