CONFLICTS, NARRATIVES OF ENTITLEMENT AND COMPETING VIEWS OVER NECH SAR NATIONAL PARK, ETHIOPIA

Researcher:

Dr. Asebe Debelo

Research Area:

C


Issues of participatory development have become common discourses among nation states, multinational corporations, and international institutions working in development areas. While nation states and multinational corporations use the concept as a rhetoric tool for legitimacy, others pursue it as a mechanism of exerting influence on the former. In Ethiopia’s context, the national political discourse ostensibly claims decentralization and empowerment of local stakeholders and their active participation in development activities. While the policy directives encouraging active involvement of local communities in decision making processes on matters that affect their livelihood are altruistic, its effectiveness strongly depends on genuine participation and empowerment of the communities concerned. Taking ecotourism and local communities’ participation in southern Ethiopia as a case study, this project tries to assess compatibilities between the rhetoric of participatory development and its practical implementation. It will also investigate the perception of different actors about development and participation. Using critical ethnographic methodology and extended case method, the project tries to deconstruct the conventional development paradigm that purports a top-down perspective in development endeavours.