‘TRANSFORMING IDEAS AND INSTITUTIONS’: ENVIRONMENTAL GRASSROOTS ORGANISATIONS, COLLECTIVE ACTION AND COMMUNITY-BASED CONSERVATION IN INDIA

Maria Costanza Torri, Thora Martina Herrmann

Resumo


Environmental non- governmental organizations (ENGOs) have been stylised as bearers of hope for social changes. Nevertheless, they also have been criticised for their lack of capacity to truly reflect local needs and enhance participation.
This paper provides a contribution to the debate of the role of the ENGOs by analysing Tarun Bharat Sangh (TBS), a well known environmental grass-roots organisation in India. The paper examines up to which extend an equitable decision making process has been adopted by this grassroots organization as well as its capacity to fuel collective action.
Data came from individual and group interviews with multiple stakeholders and informal interviewing. In total, 32 semi-structured interviews were carried out.
The paper illustrates that environmental collective action has diverse important functions which include promotion of participatory processes among community members, equity in decision-making processes, and mobilisation of social innovation through village institutions
For policies to increase community participation in natural resources management and to succeed, a better understanding of the factors that facilitate and inhibit community participation is needed. The challenges for participatory development initiatives require an approach which takes into account the dynamics of power relationionship existing between the different stake-holders involved.

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