Laying a solid foundation for sustainable development in Bolivian mountain villages

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Abstract

In Bolivia, recent decentralisation policies have broadened the participation of local actors in development processes. However, development is far from sustainable, and poverty and natural resources degradation still increase. The challenge is to develop strategies that achieve the genuine participation of poor farmers in natural resources management and sustainable development. The logical strategy, which was developed and validated in five Bolivian mountain villages, is an example. In this strategy, first a solid foundation for sustainable development is laid, with activities focussing on five basic conditions for sustainable development in rural villages: leadership and organisation, responsible participation, effective collaboration, mutual trust and environmental awareness. The results show that the existence of a solid foundation is crucial for the success of other development activities, such as soil and water conservation activities. However, given that 2 years after the project¿s withdrawal the firmness of the foundation had slightly weakened, it was concluded that a better integration of these villages in local development processes is essential to profit from the new dynamics. This is especially true for soil and water conservation. To achieve this integration, municipalities¿with the support of international development agencies¿must be encouraged to invest in laying this solid foundation in rural villages and in facilitating follow-up activities to keep the dynamic process going. This study shows that such investments result in better organised villages, more equality, and the genuine participation of more people in sustainable village development. Effective collaboration and accountability at institutional level are, however, required.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)233-247
JournalEnvironment, Development and Sustainability
Volume10
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2008

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