Sara BELOTTI, University of Bergamo, Italy
The paper presents some reflections on the participatory processes as a support to environmental management and tourism development projects within African Parks, in order to promote a community empowerment. Analyzing the specific case of the Zinave National Park (ZNP), the study adopts an approach aimed at investigating the socio-territorial configurations and traditional knowledge of local communities, to prove that this information is crucial for the management of environmental and cooperation projects, in order to preserve cultural heritage and improve local governance. The PNZ is an interesting case study, because it has been involved in a tourism cooperation project to promote community conservation, supported by the Ministry of Tourism, two Italian NGOs and some international bodies, now concluded. At the same time, a participatory process was implemented in the Park using a participatory research method called SIGAP Strategy, based on field survey and the active involvement of local communities. In particular, this paper will discuss the results arising from the fieldwork carried out in the ZNP, in order to reconstruct the territorial structures existing within it. These data are shown using the participatory mapping which could act as the basis of a a GIS community mapping system able to express and communicate these values, thus implementing the participation of the communities in the decision-making process and promoting a sustainable development at a local level.
Keywords: Participatory processes|National parks|Zinave national Park|Mozambique|Tourism