Prejudice and participation: claiming rights to community forests in Nepal (PLA 66)
In this article in Participatory Learning and Action (PLA) 66, Govinda Prasad Acharya and Pramod Jaiswal examine how the~Kamaiya, a former bonded-labour group in Nepal, have campaigned to uphold their rights of access, use and control of community forests, using participatory methods such as Reflect circles to analyse their situation and converge on consensus within the group. More than eleven thousand Kamaiya have now become members of local community forest user groups (CFUGs), even managing around~40 community forests on their own. Many have also been elected to leadership roles on CFUG executive committees. These groups now produce ginger, turmeric and herbs and have started agro-forestry~cooperatives. The Kamaiyas’ use of indigenous knowledge, unity and participation has also led them to establish community schools, training centres, nurseries and cooperatives.