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Using forum theatre to debate synergies and trade-offs between adaptation strategies of pastoral society with scientists, local and national stakeholders

Botta A., Jankowski F., Diao Camara A., Corniaux C.. 2017. In : Resilience 2017. Stockholm : s.n., p. 307-307. Resilience 2017 : Resilience frontiers for global sustainability, 2017-08-20/2017-08-23, Stockholm (Suède).

International development institutions such as FAO and the World Bank have specifically targeted the agropastoral area of Sahel to promote adaptation to global changes and recurring crises (climatic, social and economic). But the practices and strategies supported by these institutions, as well as governments, can drastically differ from those developed by local stakeholders. Our project aimed at exposing and debating the potential synergies and trade-offs between adaptive strategies in the Ferlo area of Senegal, using a new medium: the forum theater (FT). We tested FT as a mediating tool among three worlds: academic actors, local actors and national/international actors, to express and share knowledge, and debate the diversity of viewpoints. A FT group and scientists created a first play to illustrate the gaps between the adaptive strategies favored by the national and international stakeholders, and those developed locally by farmers. The play addressed simplistic oppositions, such as the ¿traditional¿ mobility versus the ¿modern¿ sedentarization. It was then performed, debated and revisited with local farmers during a 4-day workshop in Ferlo. Finally, the new version of the play was performed and debated with national and international stakeholders in Dakar. In this experiment, FT allowed to debate perceptions among the participants within each performance, and, to a certain extent, between the various performances. By following the evolution of the play and the associated debates, we retraced the knowledge exchange between the different worlds. First step to distinguish true incompatibility between strategies from misunderstanding among worlds. Using FT, we directly addressed the power relationships associated to the plurality of adaptive strategies, pointing out the issues of considering a single perception. Yet, other tools, for example roles playing games and multi-agent systems, would be necessary to further investigate the implications of the trade-offs and synergies suggested during the performances. (Texte intégral)

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