'Environmental policy to community action' : methodology and approaches in community-based environmental education programmes in Uganda
Abstract (Summary)This research was conducted in Luwero, a rural district in central Uganda, over a period of three years, half of which entailed fulltime engagement in a participatory action research process with VEDCO, an indigenous NGO. The study focuses on the educational processes involved in the translation of Uganda's environmental policy into action at community level. It looks at community-based education and development activities run by VEDCO among smallholder farmers. The study addressed four objectives. For the first objective I developed a conceptual framework through a review of theories informing education in general and environmental education, adult education, community education, and community development in particular. The second objective was to conduct a situational analysis to identify contextual issues related to policy implementation at community level. The third objective was to engage in a participatory action research process with the NGO in the farming community in response to the identified contextual issues, and the fourth was to explore and comment on environmental education methods used within a community context. PRA techniques, interviews, and other participatory data collection methods were used to generate the data. The study reveals contradictions that limit NGO capacity to make appropriate use of participatory education processes in implementing policy-related training at community level. Elements in the National Plan for the Modernisation of Agriculture, for example, conflicted with the principle of sustainable development underlying the policy. VEDCO itself was changing from a social-welfare-oriented organisation into a commercial enterprise pursuing economic goals, which conflicted with its social goals. The capitalist development ideology of the donor was being adopted by VEDCO, which contradicted the goals of people-centred development. This was exacerbated by VEDCO's dependency on donor funds for its activities. Contextual issues like people's history; poverty, gender and inconsistent land policies further complicated the policy implementation processes. There were also inconsistencies in the epistemological assumptions and didactic approaches evident in the implementation. The study shows that the intended emancipatory education processes are more often supplanted by technicist methodologies. Thus, it exposes the underlying historical, ideological and epistemological tensions and contradictions within the field of education, particularly in relation to the `paradigmatic' orientations (neo-classical, liberal and socially critical/emancipatory) outlined in the literature. Conclusions are made at two levels: in relation to the study goals, of examining policy implementation at community level and in terms of the study's contribution to the understanding of current education theory in the context of sustainable development among communities.
School Location:South Africa
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Date of Publication:01/01/2004