Local networks and social infrastructure: Inciting social capital formation

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Blacksburg, VA: SANREM CRSP, OIRED, Virginia Tech

This presentation talks about a sustainable way to transform the African land tenure system through the development of rural civil society by building local networks and social infrastructure (yielding social capital) at the local level. It begins by characterizing two interdependent problems: land tenure (current land use structure and legal frameworks); and local decision-making, which are issues of economic and political empowerment. Then, it describes the context of civil society: a bifurcated society with little enfranchisement of rural populations. SANREM West Africa intervened in this context and focused on building social infrastructure in the context of NRM conflicts by transforming local social capital, shown in an example of the NRMAC of Madiama. The presentation closes with a set of Lessons Learned from our experience: participation; multiple paths to empowerment; training of development agents; power issues; and public/private synergy.

Rural development, Social capital, Land tenure, Empowerment, Sustainability, Civil society organizations (CSOs), Madiama, Local networks, Social infrastructure, Governance
Presented at North Carolina A & T State University, Greensboro, NC, 13 June 2006