An Exploration of Participatory Mapping Approaches for Integrated Land Use Planning in the Hardap Region, Namibia.
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The paper presents empirical findings on the potential value of participatory mapping for effective Integrated Land Use Plan (ILUP) by local communities in Hardap Region. It reflects on how future participatory approaches should be structured. The research applied a combination of approaches that include sketch mapping, photo-mapping and consultative meetings. Both positive and negative impacts of participatory mapping on ILUP were measured and local communities’ knowledge of participatory approaches objectively tested on the basis of this investigation’s findings. The research established that although participatory mapping is known to the experts in the fields of Geography, Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and Land Use Planning (LUP), it is still not well known to local land users whose knowledge of other participatory approaches that can support ILUP in Namibia is limited. Participatory maps that were produced by local communities in Hardap region suggest that local communities are willing to learn about participatory approaches and willing to share their knowledge on land use. Sketch and photo-maps - although not accurate and sometimes imprecise - were found to be satisfactory approaches to capture and document local knowledge. Local communities are motivated to improve their land use activities by the outcomes of their knowledge input in participatory mapping. Key recommendations include comprehensive participatory land use planning and better knowledge gathering from local communities. The paper presents results of participatory mapping and lessons learned from exploring participatory mapping.