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Community Learning and Empowerment Research

This research programme focuses on how communities learn to be more empowered and resilient in the face of new forms of social-ecological risk and change (e.g. loss of ecosystem services, climate change etc.). Examples include: how communities learn to adapt to or mitigate the depletion of fish resources in lake Malawi; how communities learn to work together to manage water resources in the rural Eastern Cape.

Theories of social learning, agency, social justice and capabilities help researchers to examine these learning processes. Social learning takes place at both individual and community levels. Developing agency involves enhancing our ability to act and learn new processes. Such action can be individual or collective. Collective agency requires developing relationships in communities of practice or relationships between different communities of practice. Learning helps to address the factors that impede or constrain agency and people’s empowerment, however, such learning cannot be narrowly conceived. It needs to take account of existing cultures of practice, existing knowledge and experience, new possibilities, and what people may or may not value, as well as existing power relations.

For information on studies in progress, completed studies, research partners, and how to link up with, or participate in this research programme, email elrc@ru.ac.za 

Last Modified: Fri, 02 Nov 2018 10:55:06 SAST