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Improving participatory processes through collective simulation: Use of a community of practice

Dionnet M., Daniell K.A., Imache A., Von Korff Y., Bouarfa S., Garin P., Jamin J.Y., Rollin D., Rougier J.E.. 2013. Ecology and Society, 18 (1) : 16 p..

Stakeholder and public participation in natural resources management (NRM) is now widely accepted as necessary to achieve sustainable development outcomes. Yet, effective implementation of participatory processes necessitates wellcalibrated methods and tools, as well as carefully honed facilitation skills that are difficult to gain without practice. Practitioners and academics leading these processes are thus encouraged to better reflect on, prepare, and justify their interventions, before starting to work in the field with stakeholders. Our paper shows how a Simulation Community of Practice (SCoP) was set up to support improved participatory practice. The specificity of this community is that its members not only discuss planned participatory interventions, but also simulate these processes by adopting roles of future participants, and by working through the different steps of the workshop that will be later implemented in the field. The evaluation of our approach shows that individual and social learning of participants in the SCoP is developed, leading mainly to improved facilitator skills and to calibration of the participatory methods and tools being tested. A space is also provided for deepening reflection on the purposes of the participatory process and the values that guide these interventions. Our experience could provide a model for others around the world to set up their own SCoP to support participatory NRM practice. Further improvements to our SCoP and new ones could be made by enhancing the feedback mechanisms between the field sites and the community, in order to encourage more cumulative learning and to reinforce the members' interest, maintaining their involvement in the community over time. (Résumé d'auteur)

Mots-clés : approches participatives; irrigation; gestion des eaux; gestion des ressources naturelles; expérimentation; simulation; apprentissage; participation; recherche; méthodologie; jeu de role

Thématique : Méthodes de recherche; Ressources en eau et leur gestion; Conservation de la nature et ressources foncières

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