Participatory processes towards co-management of natural resources in pastoral areas of the Middle East
Dawn Chatty, Stephan Baas, Anja Fleig
This training sourcebook has come into being at the special request of an FAO - Italian government initiative in the Syrian desert. The project to which much of this sourcebook owes its existence is the " Range Rehabilitation and Establishment of a Wildlife Reserve in the Syrian Steppe" project. The request for it was initiated after a series of participatory workshops - four in all between 1997 and 2000 - had been conducted in the project area. It is, therefore, very much based on the activities field-tested in the Syrian workshops and on the lessons learned from that process. It also draws on the experiences of the authors, and others, in a variety of pastoral regions of the world. Over the course of the four years during which time these participatory workshops were run, an incremental, step-by-step process was developed to complement the project’s field implementation process by introducing and integrating the concepts and principles of participatory work into the thinking, planning and management of the project. This ‘learning by doing’ strategy and the emphasis on shifting between class room theoretical work and active, practice in the field with project staff and local facilitators were a key elements contributing to the success of the endeavour. The consolidated sourcebook provides guidance how participatory processes in co-management of natural resources might be encouraged and promoted at the field level. Building on the specific and organic experience of introducing participatory processes in an environment previously inexperienced in these contemporary concepts, the sourcebook outlines a progressive and sequential set of skills which proved to be useful in promoting both technical and sociological skills required to enhance a participatory process. The approach described combines the introduction of different sets of techniques and exercises (related to participatory attitudes, PRA methods and tools, planning skills, facilitation, forming groups, and managing conflict) with the idea of process guidance and coaching of project staff in their daily work of creating a process of participatory and collaborative management of natural resources.