Designing Participatory Strategies for Forest Projects in West Africa: Two Case Studies from Benin

Research reports and studies
December 1998
Eva Sodeik

Contrasting two successful forestry projects in Benin, this paper examined different approaches to achieving effective participation by local people. A GTZ-funded forest rehabilitation programme followed a strategy of 'working with people', creating joint activities and paid labour, while a large multilateral project, PGRN, took the approach of 'talking with people', fostering political involvement. The author argued that certain crucial factors - common interest between project staff and target groups, a clear project strategy and commitment to a long process of communication and institution building - distinguished projects in which participation was merely functional from those in which local people had a full political role in decision-making.

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