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Success Factors in Integrated Natural Resource Management R&D: Lessons from Practice

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Type: Journal Article
Author: Hagmann, Jurgen; Chuma, Edward; Murwira, Kudakwashe; Connolly, Mike; Ficarelli, Paolo
Journal: Ecology and Society
Volume: 5
Date: 2002
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/2779
Sector: Social Organization
Region: Africa
Subject(s): learning
natural resources
participatory management
Abstract: "This paper analyzes integrated natural resource management (INRM) lessons and success factors based on a practical case study over more than 10 years in Zimbabwe. The work was geared toward enhancing the adaptive management capacity of the stakeholders in their resource-use systems. One main result was the development and institutionalization of an approach for participatory and integrated NRM research and extension. The INRM approach described is grounded in a learning paradigm and a combination of theories: the constructivist perspective to development, systemic intervention, and learning process approaches. Participatory action research and experiential learning, in which researchers engage themselves as actors rather than neutral analysts in an R&D process to explore the livelihood system and develop appropriate solutions together with the resource users, has shown high potential. However, this should be guided by a clear strategy, impact orientation, and high-quality process facilitation at different levels. The case study revealed the importance of a 'reflective practitioner' approach by all actors. More effective response to the challenges of increasing complexity in NRM requires a shift in thinking from the linearity of research 'extension' farmer to alternative, multiple-actor institutional arrangements and innovation systems. To overcome the weak attribution of research outcomes to actual impact, it also suggests an alternative to conventional impact assessment in INRM R&D interventions."

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