Participatory Materials Development in Rural Zambia
AbstractThe World Wide Fund for Nature Zambia Education Programme (WWF ZEP) has been implementing and supporting environmental education activities in selected rural communities in Zambia for more than ten years. These activities have been developed in support of recent environmental policies in Zambia. The aim of these programmes has been to develop the capacity of communities to manage natural resources sustainably in context, and to identify alternative strategies of resource management and use in order to alleviate poverty. This paper provides insight into ways in which community members in Chieftainess Chiawa’s area (a community context in rural Zambia) participated in the development of learning resources in response to environmental issues that affected their livelihoods. Members of this community firstly identified the environmental issues affecting them, their causes and effects. They then explored ways of mitigating these issues by developing posters that would be used in a community environmental education programme. The posters were developed through participatory processes, using an action research orientation and process, with support from WWF ZEP. A number of insights associated with participatory materials development processes in community contexts emerged from this research. They include the role of the existing social and political structures, ethnicity, language and literacy, local knowledge, the roles of different actors, and decision making and power relationships in a community context.
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