Perceptions re Community-Based Projects for Economic and Societal Development

Perceptions re Community-Based Projects for Economic and Societal Development

Neeta Baporikar (Namibia University of Science and Technology, Namibia & University of Pune, India)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 26
DOI: 10.4018/IJABE.2019100103

Abstract

Perceptions and expectations are integral aspects which affect people's decision making to support community-based development programs. Few studies have explored the perceptions-behaviour relationship and more so the stakeholders' perceptions towards the sustainability of community-based agricultural projects especially aquaculture. An understanding of perceptions for different stakeholder groups in community-based projects can clear misconceptions, and identify factors that can unleash the full potential of the community-based projects, so as to achieve sustainable societal development. In Namibia, four out of six community-based fish farm projects have failed. Hence, there is a need to explore stakeholder perceptions for improvement. Adopting a qualitative research method with interview guide to collect primary data, the aim of the article is to understand the status quo, re-define stakeholders' roles, expectations, and perceptions about consultation, participation, empowerment, ownership, etc., of community-based aquaculture project improvement and sustainability in Namibia.
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Introduction

Perceptions and expectations are integral aspects, which affect people's decision making to support community-based development programs (Levitt & Dubner, 2005; Evan & Garling, 1991). Few studies have explored the perceptions-behaviour relationship in the aquaculture policy field, as well as respondents’ perceptions of the relationship between task and social cohesion and performance in the cooperative movement (Chu et al., 2010; Nash, 2004; Mazur & Curtis, 2008; Mohd, 2012). However, stakeholders' perceptions towards the sustainability of community-based agricultural projects have been largely neglected (Chu et al., 2010; Nash, 2004; Mazur & Curtis, 2008). An understanding of perceptions of different stakeholder groups in community agricultural setups can help to clear misconceptions, as well identify important factors that can assist to unleash the full potential of community agricultural projects, particularly in the aquaculture sector and achieve social, economic and environmental sustainability (Bacher et al., 2014). Perceptions theory helps to understand and predict the responses of different stakeholders to new or existing programmes or initiatives (Bockstael et al., 2016). Perceptions are defined as a subjective belief or opinions, often held by many people and based on how things seem (Cambridge Dictionary, 2016) and these become their truths (Munhall, 2008). Perception includes people's interests, social values, experiences, interpretation, and evaluation (Jefferson et al., 2015; Bennett, 2016). Thus, considerations of perceptions towards community-based aquaculture project sustainability are essential. The concept of the community-based development approach became popular in Namibia soon after independence in 1990. The primary focus was to educate and involve rural communities in the planning, decision-making processes, and to implement rural development programs so that they could share benefits. However, top-down approaches in many instances have hindered many community-based development initiatives (Sebele, 2010).

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