Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) Toolbox

Case Details

"If you saw it with my eyes": collaborative research and assistance with Central American forest steward communities

Author(s) Taylor, P.L., Cronkleton, P., Barry, D., Stone-Jovicich, S. & Schmink, M.
Year of publication 2008
This paper discusses an experience with innovative participatory research in Guatemala and Nicaragua that aimed to strengthen community capabilities in natural resource management. The Grassroots Assistance Project trained community members to document and critically reflect upon local experience with forest management and external assistance. Together with regional context studies undertaken by professional researchers, these local ‘auto-systematization’ studies made possible comprehensive documentation of the multiple dimensions of communities’ resource management, identification of their strengths and vulnerabilities and discussion of future strategies. Technical ‘accompaniment’ emphasizes long-term social processes, shared learning, community empowerment, validation of local knowledge and continual strengthening of organizational capabilities. It also suggests organizing assistance to pursue closer proximity to communities and their processes, flattening of technical staff hierarchies, flexible response to community input, more horizontal information exchange, and incorporation of social process indicators into assessment.
Type of Case
Printed publication (book, sourcebook, journal article…)
Forest Type
All forest types (natural and planted)
Primary Designated Function