Evaluating community participation in the effective management of protected areas : a case study of Lake Malawi National Park

Kaleke, Tamanda Sabina (2015-04)

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2015.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Lack of collaboration amongst resource user groups in protected areas undermines effective community participation in protected area management. Currently, collaborative approaches are recognised as a planning tool and less of a management tool. However practice reveals that utmost, participatory approaches are recognised in management plans, but fail in the actual implementation. With this study an attempt was made to identify a possible means of enhancing community participation in protected area management by evaluating the extent to which the community of stakeholders in Lake Malawi National Park effectively engage in the management of the protected area. To achieve this aim, the research identified the stakeholders; their relationships with the park; and their relationships with each other. It further evaluated the present level of collaboration on whether it was adequate to enhance community participation in the sustainable management of the park. This research followed a descriptive-qualitative approach because the researcher was interested in exploring wider perceptions of people. It took the form of a case study to allow for an in-depth understanding of the phenomenon through understanding the participants‟ point of view in their natural setting. A critical review of related literature and a field research were conducted where data was collected from park documents and seven representatives from three stakeholder groups through the use of semi-structured interviews in English and Chichewa (official and national languages respectively); supported by note taking. The study has four findings. Firstly, that the primary stakeholders were the park authority management, lodge operators and indigenous people (villagers). Secondly, that stakeholders were found to have a special relationship with the park as it provided business opportunities, a source of livelihood, a sense of empowerment, relaxation space and employment. Thirdly, that stakeholders were not satisfied with the level of relationships in the park especially towards park authority management. This is a deviation from the expected in that for a long time relations in the park were seen to be faulted by the indigenous people and especially towards lodge operators, yet in this research, the relationship between these two stakeholder groups were found to be satisfactory. Fourthly, the research found that whilst there were reduced levels of conflict and that stakeholders related as and when need arose, the general level of collaboration was below the community‟s expectation. On a positive note, the findings showed the willingness of the stakeholders to form a representative body which they all felt would be better placed to negotiate decision-making and would improve the level of collaboration and management in the park. Five recommendations followed on how collaboration and stakeholder skills could be improved in the park and some of which include: the speedy facilitation of the registration of an already existing umbrella association; and the formal recognition of tour guides by Government. These issues if critically looked at, will create an environment in which stakeholders are able to collaborate and work as a community in the management of the protected area which is necessary for conservation and sustainability of livelihoods, the park‟s objectives.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: ʼn Gebrek aan samewerking tussen die gebruikersgroepe van hulpbronne in beskermde gebiede ondermyn doeltreffende gemeenskapsdeelname in die bestuur van hierdie areas. Samewerkingsbenaderings word tans gesien as ʼn beplanningsinstrument eerder as ʼn bestuursinstrument. Die praktyk wys egter dat terwyl deelnemende benaderings herken word in bestuursplanne, dit nie geïmplementeer word nie. In hierdie studie is daar gepoog om moontlike maniere te identifiseer om gemeenskapsdeelname te verbeter in die bestuur van beskermde gebiede deur middel van ʼn evaluering van die mate waartoe die gemeenskap van belanghebbendes in die Malawi Meer Nasionale Park doeltreffend betrokke is in die bestuur van dié beskermde gebied. Om dit te bereik, het die navorsing die belanghebbendes geïdentifiseer, sowel as hulle verhouding tot die park en hulle verhouding met mekaar. Verder is die huidige vlak van samewerking geëvalueer om vas te stel of dit voldoende is om gemeenskapsdeelname te verbeter in die volhoubare bestuur van die park. Die navorsing volg ʼn beskrywende-kwalitatiewe benadering omdat die navorser belanggestel het daarin om die breër persepsies van mense te ondersoek. Dit het die vorm aangeneem van ʼn gevallestudie om sodoende ʼn dieper begrip van die fenomeen te kry deur die deelnemers se oogpunt in hulle natuurlike omgewing te verstaan. ʼn Kritiese oorsig van verwante literatuur en veldwerk is uitgevoer waar data ingesamel is uit parkdokumente en van sewe verteenwoordigers van drie belangegroepe deur die gebruik van semi-gestruktureerde onderhoude in Engels en Chichewa (onderskeidelik amptelike en nasionale tale); asook deur die neem van notas. Die studie het vier bevindings opgelewer. Eerstens, die primêre belanghebbendes is die bestuursowerheid van die park, verblyfoperateurs en die inheemse bevolking (dorpsbewoners). Tweedens is daar gevind dat rolspelers ʼn spesiale verhouding het met die park aangesien dit die bron was van sakegeleenthede, inkomste, ʼn gevoel van bemagtiging, ontspanning en werk. Derdens, die rolspelers was nie tevrede met die vlak van verhoudings in die park nie, veral ten opsigte van die bestuursowerheid van die park. Dit is ʼn afwyking van wat verwag word in soverre daar vir ʼn lang ruk gedink is dat verhoudings in die park deur die inheemse bevolking bederf is, veral ten opsigte van verblyfoperateurs. In hierdie studie is daar egter gevind dat verhoudings tussen hierdie twee groepe rolspelers bevredigend is. Vierdens het die navorsing bevind dat hoewel konflik afgeneem het en dat rolspelers met mekaar skakel indien nodig, die algemene vlak van samewerking nie voldoen aan die gemeenskap se verwagtings nie. ʼn Positiewe punt is dat die bevindings wys dat die rolspelers gewillig is om ʼn verteenwoordigende liggaam te stig wat in ʼn beter posisie is om oor besluitneming te onderhandel en wat die vlak van samewerking en bestuur in die park kan verbeter. Vyf aanbevelings het gevolg oor hoe samewerking en die vaardighede van die belanghebbendes in die park verbeter kan word. Waarvan sommige sluit: die spoedige fasilitering van die registrasie van ʼn reeds bestaande oorkoepelende vereniging, en die formele herkenning van toergidse deur die regering. As hierdie kwessies krities beskou word, kan ʼn omgewing geskep word waarbinne belanghebbendes kan saamwerk as ʼn gemeenskap in die bestuur van die beskermde gebied, en dit is nodig vir die bewaring en volhoubaarheid van lewensonderhoud en die park se doelwitte.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/96789
This item appears in the following collections: