International Symposium on
Drylands Ecology and Human Security

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The Role of Grassroots Organizations
in Management and Protection of Natural Resources

Sharaf Eldin Hamad Magzoub

Environmental Management, University of Khartoum, Sudan


This paper reviews literature and different views of a number of experts, authors who studied popular participation and the role of civil society in the management and conservation of natural resources.
In this respect the study explores a number of local experiences, such as the experience of the Sudanese Social Forestry Society (SSFS) in the area Alhaj Abdullah in central Sudan, area of fertile black mudslides. The association carried awareness raising activities among the local community regarding planting, management and protection of community forests in the region. The community benefited from those forests as a source of income and firewood. This was possible through some of the projects that helped the sustainability of forest resources and through popular participation of the local population. These projects helped to alleviate poverty and raised the standard of living of the beneficiaries. Indeed, these projects relieved the pressure on natural resources resulting from population growth and other environmental problems.
The paper presents an analytical presentation of the role played by the local associations and organizations of civil society in raising the role of environmental awareness among local citizens in the villages affected by factors desertification and dessert encroachment. Furthermore it analyzes the role played by women in the management and maintenance of nurseries in the villages adjacent to the forest.
The paper proceeds to reviews legislations and laws effective in the field of protection of forests and natural resources and how local people benefit from these regulations. The article also highlights the role played by donors in the creation and development of projects and raising the efficiency of the local human resource training.
Finally the paper discusses the obstacles that impede the sustainability of projects in the field of community forests. The major obstacles revealed were the lack of trained human resources, lack of infrastructure and lack of capital necessary for investment in this field. Dependency on donor inputs is another problem.