Steps Towards Averting Desertification in the Sefiane Rural Community, Algeria: The Role of Environmental Education
Desertification reflects and contributes towards societal problems such as poverty, underdevelopment and lack of food security. For mere survival purposes, many people feel they have no option but to engage in environmentally unsustainable activities that further contribute to desertification and perpetuate the cycle. Constraints in successfully dealing with desertification have been identified as being a lack of adequate and validated information on the different aspects of the phenomenon in individual areas, a lack of sustainable development plans for desertified areas, a lack of active awareness-raising campaigns, a lack of appropriate training on assessment and mitigation of desertification and the neglect of local stakeholder involvement in addressing land degradation and desertification. This paper provides a contextual profile of desertification and land degradation processes in the Sefiane rural community in Algeria, focusing on how the community’s survival is affected by their current farming activities. A qualitative study using a snowball sampling technique to identify respondents was conducted. Data collection tools included observation, interviews and questionnaires. The research findings, which highlighted activities that farmers engage in that compromise their ability to sustain their environment and their livelihood, were considered and used as a guideline to develop a framework for a contextually relevant environmental education programme that could empower the local community to address the land degradation and sustainable agricultural concerns in their community.
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