Volunteering in catchment management groups: empowering the volunteer

Gooch, Margaret (2004) Volunteering in catchment management groups: empowering the volunteer. Australian Geographer, 35 (2). pp. 193-208.

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This paper discusses one aspect of a phenomenographic study that investigates experiences of individuals who volunteer their time for a variety of catchment care groups in coastal Queensland. Data were collected through group and personal interviews, which were undertaken in 2001. Interviews took place in a number of locations along the east coast of Queensland, from Brisbane to Mossman, just north of Cairns. A number of broad conceptions emerged from the data, and this paper discusses one of these, that of empowerment. Analysis of interviews revealed that some catchment volunteers became personally empowered, and developed skills that they would not otherwise have had. Other volunteers saw catchment volunteering as a vehicle for empowerment that allowed individuals to have a say in decision making and governance of local resources. Many volunteers, however, revealed the difficulties associated with public participation processes, and described power struggles that arose within groups, and at a community level, when catchment group members wanted to be directly involved in decisions affecting their local environments. These struggles were further complicated by a chronic lack of resources. Despite these setbacks, community catchment groups can provide personal and group empowerment, resulting in a 'little voice' as opposed to none.

Item ID: 430
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1465-3311
Keywords: empowerment, decision making, participation, volunteering, community groups, landcare, integrated catchment management, natural resource management
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© Taylor & Francis 2004. This journal is available online (use hypertext link above)

Date Deposited: 26 Sep 2006
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1699 Other Studies in Human Society > 169999 Studies in Human Society not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 94 LAW, POLITICS AND COMMUNITY SERVICES > 9405 Work and Institutional Development > 940503 Time Use, Unpaid Work and Volunteering @ 100%
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