Community Participation in the Management of Wechiau Community Hippo Sanctuary, Ghana
Effective community participation in the management of tourism projects is advocated as a useful tool for sustaining such projects but also, as a means of empowering community members. Though this subject has received much academic attention in the broader tourism literature pertaining to other regions, the specific forms of participation relative to community-based tourism projects, the activities engaged in by community members as well as the impediments to their participation in such projects are yet to be investigated and understood in Ghana. Thus, this study aims to unpack how residents get involve in the management of the Wechiau Community Hippo Sanctuary, the specific activities they undertake as well as challenges they face in that regard. The study employed a mixedmethods research design comprising 206 surveys, six in-depth interviews and four focus group discussions. The results show that community members participate in the project through the services they offer to guests and compliance with laid down rules regarding access and usage of the resource. Also, there was unanimity regarding the forms of participation in the project which were largely coercive and inducive in nature but also barriers which were mainly operational and structural in a nature. In dealing with operational barriers, the study recommends that the Sanctuary Management Committee should provide community members with adequate information to sidestep any possible mistrust in the management. And to address structural barriers, management should also provide training programmes to the community to enable them contribute meaningfully to issues concerning the project.
Keywords: Community Participation, Tourism, Management, Mixed-Methods, Ghana
© 2018 The authors.
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