NGOs today, as part of civil society, have come to play a prominent role in South Asia in the context of community-based natural resource management (CBNRM). This book examines the theory and practice of NGO-driven CBNRM within the framework of emerging critiques of dominant discourses of development, the micro-politics of decentralization, and the projection of community development. The book breaks new ground by situating these critiques within six detailed cases of CBNRM initiatives.

To what extent does CBNRM continue to offer a vision for the future and what role, if any, could NGOs play in this? The authors attempt to answer this question by seeking to understand the ideas and insights of CBNRM that intervening agencies bring with them and by examining the outcomes of the interventions and the strategies used to achieve them.

The book concludes that though these CBNRM efforts have made significant contributions to livelihood enhancement, the results gained are limited in collective action for sustainable and equitable access to benefits, continuing resource use, and in terms of democratic decentralization.

Utthan's Work in Nathugadh, Gujarat

Utthan's work in Nathugadh, Gujarat


Utthan literally means uplift. Since 1981, Utthan and another NGO named Mahiti have been known largely for their grassroots work in the Bhal region of Saurashtra, Gujarat that has focused on a woman and community-based approach to solving the problem of drinking water scarcity. Since 1994, Mahiti has concentrated on the Bhal area and Utthan has looked outwards to other geographical areas as well as other spheres of work. We selected Nathugadh, a village in Bhavnagar district in Saurashtra, for our case study. Utthan worked in the village first on drinking water and sanitation issues and later took up and completed a watershed project. What primarily attracted us to this village was the community (village) initiative ...

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