From EGO to ECO: decolonization and decentering of research & development

I attended  Global Insight Brown Bag in which three speakers Naama Raz-Yaseef, Ph.D., Carla Handley, and Gustavo Hernandez shared on participatory approaches at the intersection of decolonization and climate change, The presenters emphasised that environmental goals cannot be achieved without community participation. They discussed the need to move from extraction of local knowledge to authentically community-led research. what is the role of communities, government and external researchers. They also underlined that participation includes human beings as well as nature.

Three Takeaways:

  1. Extractive research increases the marginalization of indigenous people and local communities. We need to move from transactional to relational mindset - Dr Carla

     2. From community engagement to community-decision making - act beyond tokenism. Change operational culture from inside. While local communities are central, non-local entities can offer skills and coordination- Dr Naama

     3. Embrace 'buen vivir' 

Respect and do not commodify nature.  - focus on the collective- living in harmony with people and nature. We have forgotten that we are humans in the communities of other living beings. we have to reframe the notion of participation as nature and society are inter-linked. Dr Juan emphasized the need for Laws around biocentrism, which holds that the natural environment has its own set of rights.

Dr Naama shared an example of community led research for environmental justice in which communities used nature based solutions to the issue of rising water level of the sea in Bay area of Sanfrancisco 


The event concluded with discussion on a challenging topic- quality in participatory research to which the presenters responded that they let their control and expectations as professional researchers and let the community drive the research agenda.

A big thanks to Jillian J Foster and Global Insight team for this excellent webinar. Slides are courtesy of the presenters.

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Comment by Rituu B. Nanda on August 29, 2022 at 11:25am

Thanks to  Corey Oser for sharing this video

CESF: National Perspectives on Critical and Liberatory Community Engagement w. Michelle Fine

Comment by Rituu B. Nanda on August 4, 2022 at 9:15pm

Response on Linkedin

Indeed. Great discussion and a lot of thought-provoking but practical ideas on decolonizing research and evaluations. Thanks for reiterating,
Comment by Rituu B. Nanda on August 4, 2022 at 9:12pm

Response on Linkedin

Wow I love that we have to include the voice of nature! The Uruguayan president about a decade ago gave nature its own legal voice, but I’ve never heard it since


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