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Widening the Scope of Scenario Planning in Small Communities: a Case Study Use of an Alternative Method

Andrea Rawluk, University of Alberta
Annelise Godber, McGill University.


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Scenario planning can be invaluable for empowerment and learning in resource dependent communities. Pre-existing scenario planning methods call for collaboration between community members, but when cultural norms prevented men, women, and youth from coming together in the community of Ukupseni in Panama, the authors and community sought to devise an alternative method. The research objectives were twofold. First, to develop an alternative scenario planning method that would facilitate learning among decision makers about community needs and perspectives, and second, to explore ways to direct desired futures. Instead of forecasting through community-wide collaboration and backcasting with the creation of one vision through consensus, forecasting used individual interviews to create scenarios and backcasting was conducted separately with each of the six community groups (older women, young women with children, young women without children, young men, older men including fishermen and lobster-catchers, and individuals with formal education) resulting in several visions. To unify the results, we created an organizational matrix that allowed the visions of different community groups to be compared. The organizational matrix allowed decision makers to observe that women and youth, the most marginalized members of the community, had convergent visions that were very different from men whose perspectives and knowledge are more often included in decision making.

Key words

backcasting; collaboration; forecasting; Kuna Yala; scenario planning

Copyright © 2011 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article is under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. You may share and adapt the work for noncommercial purposes provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087