Story | 24 Apr, 2020

Making sense of natural resources governance through community perceptions in Uganda

Local attitudes and history count. Explore learning from a social survey tool called SenseMaker® to weigh community perceptions of protected areas and governance structures in support of natural resources management in Uganda.

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Photo: CD Langoya

How do you encourage the participation of communities and traditional institutions in enhancing landscape governance in and around protected areas? Ask them. Understanding attitudes and personal histories are paramount to successful landscape governance approaches. 

The landscape approach to reconciling conservation and development has gained momentum in the past two decades. However, there are very few examples of tools and methods on how to implement it on the ground. IUCN, with support from the German Government’s International Climate Initiative (IKI), addressed this gap in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Tanzania, and Uganda. The aim is to demonstrate how conservation and development benefits can be generated through better use of protected area categories supported by a participatory process of land-use governance at the landscape level.

In Uganda, this process was aided by a research tool called SenseMaker®. The application of SenseMaker® contributed significantly to facilitating local dialogues to reconcile competing claims and interests in both Mount Elgon and Agoro-Agu landscapes. By capturing perceptions, it provided insights into perspectives, attitudes, values, needs, and concerns of the communities. It also shed a different light on the historical and cultural issues that influence how decisions are taken and implemented by the communities. The participatory feedback and sense-making workshops were very powerful mechanisms to encourage collaborative analysis and stimulate debate among landscape actors towards actionable insights. Gathering additional perspectives built on identified trends and stories helped to expand options for stakeholder inclusion in protected area management.

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 (IUCN Forest Brief no. 26):
Making sense of community natural resource governance perceptions (Uganda)