Environmental NGO's, dispossession, and the state: The ideology and praxis of African nature and development

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Plenum Publishing Corporation


Zimbabwe provides a significant context to examine the interplay of the new development rhetoric, the actions of powerful conservation organizations, donor policies, a relatively strong and stable government, and the empowerment of local communities. This interplay exists in diverse rural areas where the Communal Areas Management Program for Indigenous Resources (CAMPFIRE) is in various stages of experimentation and implementation. CAMPFIRE has been described as a philosophy of sustainable rural development that enables rural communities to manage, and benefit directly from indigenous wildlife. It is the best known of African efforts to permit African communities to re-assert their management of selected natural resources. The program has the official support of the Zimbabwean government. Nonetheless, there are many potential areas of serious conflict. Three cases are utilized to explore how the challenges of repossession of critical environmental resources by marginalized communities in the changing context of state and NGO relationships where international tourism is a revenue generator for both the private sector and government.


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Rural development, Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), Sustainable development, Conflict, Ecotourism, International NGOs, Government, Zimbabwe, CAMPFIRE, Ecosystem Governance


Human Ecology 23(2): 199-215