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18-01-2021 | Issue 4/2021

Environmental Management 4/2021

Successful Community Participation in Climate Change Adaptation Programs: on Whose Terms?

Journal:
Environmental Management > Issue 4/2021
Authors:
Subhajyoti Samaddar, Martin Oteng-Ababio, Frederick Dayour, Akudugu Ayaribila, Francis K. Obeng, Romanus Ziem, Muneta Yokomatsu
Important notes
Publisher’s note Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Abstract

Community participation in climate change adaptation (CCA) programs has been advocated for long, but its implementation remains uncertain. There is also very little understanding and consensus on how and to what extent local communities can and should be involved in these projects. Arguably, both the concept and practice of community participation remain equivocal and contentious due to a lack of systematic effort to define the participatory framework in CCA. While the framework for community participation can be adopted from other planning and management discourses, yet they are typically expert-driven. The local communities hardly play a role in designing the framework. This study, therefore, took an alternative approach to define the meaning and implication of community participation from local communities’ perspectives. To this end, we used the grounded theory qualitative research methods to survey 50 respondents across five rural communities in climate change impacted Northern Ghana. To evaluate the communities’ meaningful participation in the adaptation projects, respondents suggested three critical parameters—First, community participation in a CCA project can be considered successful if the project contributes towards the livelihood security of the community. Second, the project outcome should be tangible. Third, the project should enhance the community’s skills and training such that the community can run a similar project in the future without much dependence on external agencies. This study provides an alternative methodological insight on how to design and operationalize meaningful community participation in CCA that will have universal application irrespective of the geographical and socio-cultural boundaries.

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