This site aims to provide a practical resource for those who work with communities (in the wider sense of the term) to help them identify and adopt more sustainable natural resource management practices. The above index will help you navigate through this site without reading any further. The following introduction sets the context for the development of this site, outlines how its structure has evolved through the application of community-based approaches in practice, and provides a brief guide to its use for those unfamiliar with the Internet. Your ideas and comments are welcomed in order to improve this on-line resource.|
|"Everything has been said about development, but almost everything remains to be said and therefore to be explored or rediscovered because incontestably, almost everything remains to be done." (Vincent Cosmao. 1984. Un Monde En Developpment! Guide de Reflexion. Paris. Editions Ouvrieres. p. 8)|
It is easy to say that successful development can only be achieved by a truly collaborative effort between local community groups, agencies, scientists and policy makers. However, despite ongoing improvements in this area over recent years, we also know that we still have a long way to go in achieving such collaboration - and effectively sharing the required perspectives, information and ideas. While social scientists and change management practitioners have long sought to inform and improve the practices of those seeking to bring about such constructive societal change, too little of that research seems to have found its way into practice. Yet the volume of participatory-oriented research continues to expand. The resulting information overload causes researchers and practitioners alike to simply miss much useful material which they have neither the means to identify nor the time to read. Often too, while initiatives in this area have been improved by the efforts of individuals (be they local environmental managers, community leaders, NGOs, agency staff or other end-users) as part of their efforts to address a particular problem, the lessons learnt have not always been documented for others to use.
Another major problem facing the would-be "change agent" is the breadth of disciplines and areas of expertise that are needed. The practice of involving people and building constructive partnerships requires not only a specialist knowledge of the particular area (agriculture, biodiversity, etc.), but also skills in a diverse range of areas from information management through to conflict resolution.
The structure of this site has developed through the course of my work on the development of collaborative learning approaches that help communities to identify and adopt more sustainable natural resource management practices. This site provides an annotated guide to a range of on-line resources providing papers, handbooks, tips, theory and techniques in a number of related, skill fields. It also shows how the application of these different skills are interlinked in practice. Although the emphasis of this site is on improving community participation within natural resource management (biodiversity enhancement, conservation, riparian management, agriculture, etc), the approaches outlined here are also useful for those working in a diverse range of development areas such as rural development, health, housing, etc.
A short introduction to each section outlines the nature of the resource links provided, and provides pointers to other topic areas which are closely related in use. As the NRM_changelinks site develops a more detailed overview will also be provided for each section. A number of on-line papers related to collaborative learning, sustainability and change management are already available on this site, and links are provided to these from the relevant sections. The full collection of these can also be accessed at ../site-related papers/.
Each resource referred to is listed with the name of the site and a brief description of the content (in the main taken from the site's own description). You will also notice that, when you click on a link, the site will open in a new browser window. In most cases, these sites provide information on - and links to - a host of relevant topics in addition to the one they are listed under. Therefore, once you arrive at a new site, additional searching of a menu or file hierarchy can often prove fruitful. Because the Internet is vast, it is continually growing and it keeps changing, accordingly this guide represents only a sample of what is available. Moreover, because people tend to move their sites around the Internet periodically the actual address at any given time may be different from that shown here. Thanks in advance for e-mailing any corrections or suggestions for additions and improvement.