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151 Bright Garikayi Mombeshora, Frank Chinembiri & Tim Lynam Introduction For many years there has been awareness and concern in Zimbabwe about the use and management of natural resources by the government and various individuals, researchers, and extension agencies. There have been concerns about the poor management and the resulting degradation and depletion of natural resources such as soils, forests and rangelands in rural areas. Various programmes and recommendations to conserve and improve management have been suggested and implemented. Examples include programmes and projects by the Native Land Husbandry Act (1951), the grazing schemes, and Communal Area Management Programme for Indigenous Resources (Camp- fire) and the International Centre for Research in Agro-Forestry (ICRAF). However, success in improving resources management has been limited, particularly in the communal areas. In most areas soils are still eroding, forage productivity is still declining, and vegetation and faunal diversity is still being reduced (Mache and Chivizhe 1992; Land Tenure Commission 1994). Varied suggestions have been made about how to overcome these problems. Technologies were often formulated by scientists, and brought to the community for adoption; the community played little or no role in their development. During the colonial period, and even after independence, technologies from the commercial faming sector and were assumed to be equally applicable in the communal and small scale sectors. The technology development process has tended to address specific problems, thereby ignoring broader and more complex social and economic environments. During the last few decades, new approaches and methods have been emerging that seek to link biophysical factors with the socio-economic reality in developing and assessing technologies. There has been a growing experience with the ‘participatory approach’ in agricultural research and extension (Scoones and Cousins 1988; Clarke 1991; Hagman and Chuma 1994). However , ‘participation’ itself can be interpreted differently by different people. Sustainability of the technologies implemented using this approach has been 10 Participatory Development of Community-based Management Plans for Livestock Feed Resources in Semi-arid Areas of Zimbabwe: Experiences from Lower Guruve District Bright Garikayi Mombeshora, Frank Chinembiri & Tim Lynam 152 PARTICIPATORY DEVELOPMENT … limited. The question for the project presented in this chapter was how the participatory approach could be used to provide sustainability in the activities . Empowering the local community to develop local technologies was an option. The community was fully responsible for all decisions on the technologies to be tested or implemented and how they were to be implemented; the research team only facilitated the processes of change. Local knowledge and perceptions were accepted as valid sources of information and decisions were made by the community at all phases of the project. This approach was considered appropriate after reviewing recommendations and principles suggested by several scientists (Murphree 1991; Mache and Chivizhe 1992; Murombedzi 1992; Land Tenure Commission 1994) when working in communal resource management. These are summarised as: ● The resources must be recognised as finite; ● The resource managers must be the owners and beneficiaries; ● There should be a close and proportional link between production and benefits; ● The benefits must be tangible and immediate; ● The community must clearly understand the goals and objectives and the tasks required to attain them; ● There should be local autonomy in decisions on how products and benefits of the scheme will be disposed; ● The management objectives must be made by members of the community, and not imposed on them from outside by government, donors or other institutions; ● The user group must be small enough to be cohesive and to lower transaction costs, but not too small that it becomes exclusive and wholly self-serving; ● The leadership must be accountable, transparent and broadly representative of the community it serves; ● The boundaries of the management units should be distinctive and exclusive. This chapter gives brief reviews of two projects (the Native Land Husbandry Act and the grazing schemes) as examples of attempts to improve communal area natural resources management. It highlights the methodologies used and the success achieved. It then describes the Mahuwe project, to highlight the participatory development of management plans; further, it presents experiences of the project team derived from working with the community. The chapter ends with some recommendations on future needs for research and development in natural resources management. Land Husbandry Act The Native Land Husbandry Act (1951) tried to enforce destocking of livestock , among other cropping and conservation rules, in order to conserve 153 Bright Garikayi Mombeshora, Frank Chinembiri & Tim Lynam grazing and browse resources. Destocking aimed mainly at conserving the grazing lands by limiting the numbers of...


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