This case study explores wellbeing and sustainable development in rural sub-Saharan Africa – a culturally and ecologically diverse and vibrant region devastated by colonial and postcolonial injustices that have created persistent and pervasive social, economic, and ecological crises. The growth-oriented capitalist economic model that has shaped the operative understanding of wellbeing and perpetuated the invented reality of underdevelopment also guides large-scale sustainable development efforts that persistently fail to significantly improve wellbeing among rural communities. Ecological economics may provide a paradigm for sustainable development that is culturally, ecologically, and economically more appropriate – and more effective – for both assessing and improving wellbeing. Twenty-seven participants from two rural, forest-dependent communities in Cameroon’s Southwest Province were surveyed to assess perceptions of wellbeing and social-ecological resilience. These communities are heavily invested in a sustainable agriculture initiative that reflects an ecological economics worldview and key dimensions of community resilience. Results indicate that perceptions of wellbeing are influenced by both gender and occupation, and that the sustainable agriculture initiative positively impacts perceptions of wellbeing for farmers more than non-farmers, and female farmers more than male farmers. This suggests that participation in the program may positively influence perceptions of subjective and community wellbeing. Further study in these communities, and across similar communities may shed light on how ecological economics might provide a practical basis for broadening an understanding of wellbeing and for informing the approach, design, and implementation of sustainable development initiatives.
|Commitee:||Farley, Joshua, Magis, Kristen, Subramanian, Suneetha|
|School Location:||United States -- Arizona|
|Source:||DAI-A 78/10(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||African Studies, Sub Saharan Africa Studies, Sustainability|
|Keywords:||Cameroon, Community resilience, Development, Ecological economics, Social-ecological resilience, Sub-Saharan Africa, Well-being|
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