Facilitating participatory processes for policy change in natural resource management : Lessons from the highlands of southwestern Uganda
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Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/42849
Internet URL: http://www.nrsp.org/database/documents/1748.pdf
Despite the recognition that policy processes are important for sustainable natural resources management (NRM), there is concern that agricultural research and technology development have not been reflected in policy change, nor have they affected decision-making processes of wider communities. Most policy research focuses on policy analysis, often at the macro, national level, ignoring the much more difficult and rather murkier part on how to get policies implemented and adopted by users; and how to get the intended beneficiaries, small-scale resource poor farmers, to influence policies in NRM. This paper reports results of a participatory policy action research process that aimed at strengthening local-level processes and capacity for developing, implementing and enforcing local policies and byelaws to improve the adoption of NRM technologies in Kabale, Uganda. The policy action research was built around five components: facilitating community visioning and planning; participatory policy analysis; linking bottom-up processes to higher level policy processes through policy dialogue and policy learning events, and supporting policy action at different levels. Results show that pilot communities have formulated and implemented a number of byelaws on soil erosion control, tree planting, animal grazing, wetlands management, bush burning and food security. The paper suggests a five “INs” approach: strengthening local institutions; providing information; linking byelaws to NRM innovations; finding and promoting incentives, and building network of influence. Results suggest that recent decentralization reforms in Uganda provide significant opportunities for research to influence and support the process of policy change in NRM. Influencing policy in NRM is, however, a long process that needs perseverance, and a sustained programme of interventions by different institutions.