Participatory process in natural resources management and the politics of empowerment
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This paper draws concepts from the experiences in Manupali Watershed in Bukidnon, Philippines. Participatory process has become imperative in agricultural development work because of the dismal failures of conventional top-down models. Because farmers are the main stakeholders of the Manupali watershed, they need to become equal partners in development actions that concern them. To achieve this, a new paradigm is required. This paper focuses on the central question of how participatory process can be institutionalized in natural resources planning and management. In the case of Manupali watershed with various stakeholders and different levels of control, it is viewed that local capacity building results to a gradual sharing of power among local stakeholders and in the longer term leads to a more sustainable use of watershed resources. This paper outlines the attempt to institutionalize the process via training needs assessment (TNA) and related capacity in the watershed. This paper aims to contribute to the discussion on how stakeholders participation can be made meaningful and can be integrated into existing institutions and local community processes particularly in the household level.