The impact of increased awareness on forest governance. A case study of the Mama Misitu awareness raising campaign in forest adjacent villages in Southern Tanzania.
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In response to the alarming rate of deforestation and forest degradation caused by illegal forest activities in Southern Tanzania, a collaborative civil society initiative called Mama Misitu was set up to raise awareness at village level regarding good forest governance and to support the implementation of participatory forest management (PFM). This study looks at how raised awareness may influence the key factors of good governance; participation, accountability and legal enforcement. The study also aims to examine perceptions among villagers in forest adjacent communities where Mama Misitu has been working, in relation to forest value, corruption and local ownership of the forest. The study found that villagers emphasize conservational values of the forest, but seem unaware of its market value. Despite this lack of awareness, villagers seem to have a strong sense of ownership of the local forest. Corruption in the forest sector is perceived to be a local problem, and the majority of the villagers interviewed believe they can have an impact in the effort to curbing corruption. The study further concludes that awareness raising will have a positive effect on forest governance, strengthening the local institutions and their power relations with other forest stakeholders.
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