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Learning from one another: evaluating the impact of horizontal knowledge exchange for environmental management and governance

Tschirhart, Céline; Mistry, Jayalaxshmi; Berardi, Andrea; Bignante, Elisa; Simpson, Matthew; Haynes, Lakeram; Benjamin, Ryan; Albert, Grace; Xavier, Rebecca; Robertson, Bernie; Davis, Odacy; Verwer, Caspar; de Ville, Géraud and Jafferally, Deirdre (2016). Learning from one another: evaluating the impact of horizontal knowledge exchange for environmental management and governance. Ecology and Society, 21(2), article no. 41.

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DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link: https://doi.org/10.5751/ES-08495-210241
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Abstract

There is increasing advocacy for inclusive community-based approaches to environmental management, and growing evidence that involving communities improves the sustainability of social-ecological systems. Most community-based approaches rely on partnerships and knowledge exchange between communities, civil society organizations, and professionals such as practitioners and/or scientists. However, few models have actively integrated more horizontal knowledge exchange from community to community. We reflect on the transferability of community owned solutions between indigenous communities by exploring challenges and achievements of community peer-to-peer knowledge exchange as a way of empowering communities to face up to local environmental and social challenges. Using participatory visual methods, indigenous communities of the North Rupununi (Guyana) identified and documented their community owned solutions through films and photostories. Indigenous researchers from this community then shared their solutions with six other communities that faced similar challenges within Guyana, Suriname, Venezuela, Colombia, French Guiana, and Brazil. They were supported by in-country civil society organizations and academics. We analyzed the impact of the knowledge exchange through interviews, field reports, and observations. Our results show that indigenous community members were significantly more receptive to solutions emerging from, and communicated by, other indigenous peoples, and that this approach was a significant motivating force for galvanizing communities to make changes in their community. We identified a range of enabling factors, such as building capacity for a shared conceptual and technical understanding, that strengthens the exchange between communities and contributes to a lasting impact. With national and international policy-makers mobilizing significant financial resources for biodiversity conservation and climate change mitigation, we argue that the promotion of community owned solutions through community peer-to-peer exchange may deliver more long-lasting, socially and ecologically integrated, and investment-effective strategies compared to top-down, expert led, and/or foreign-led initiatives.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2016 The Authors
ISSN: 1708-3087
Keywords: best practices; community owned solutions; environmental governance; Guiana Shield; Guyana; indigenous; knowledge exchange; participatory; visual
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) > Engineering and Innovation
Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
Research Group: Innovation, Knowledge & Development research centre (IKD)
Item ID: 55347
Depositing User: Andrea Berardi
Date Deposited: 12 Jun 2018 09:46
Last Modified: 10 May 2019 00:35
URI: http://oro.open.ac.uk/id/eprint/55347
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