Challenges to The Sustainability of Participatory Forest Management Program: The Case of Gebradima Forest, Southwestern Ethiopia
Keywords:Challenges, donor funded project, Ethiopia, Gebradima forest, participatory forest management, sustainability
Since the mid-1990s, the government of Ethiopian has implemented participatory forest management (PFM) program as major strategy to promote sustainable forest management whilst enhancing the livelihoods of those who largely dependent on the forests. This program was largely initiated by non-governmental organization and bilateral donors. However, several challenges threaten its sustainability following the termination of fund from the donors for funded projects. The present study seeks to identify some of the key challenges facing the sustainability of PFM program in the Gebradima forest, southwest Ethiopia, with emphasis post project period. Data were collected between January and March 2016 from three PFM scheme rural kebeles through in-depth interviews and focus group discussions which were supplemented with secondary data. The study revealed that the main challenges to the sustainability of PFM program are lack of financial resources that support long-term capacity buildings for participants, limited facilities, staff turnover, poor government support and gaps in PFM policy and legal framework. The study therefore suggests that to ensure long-term sustainability of the program the government will provide significant support toward financial, technical and institutional capacity enhancement for forest users, and create enabling policy, legal and institutional conditions for the program.
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