Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) was used to assess people's perceptions of the benefits and difficulties of their life near Mole National Park in northern Ghana. PRA was frequently the only approach acceptable to villagers biased by years of mistrust and conflict with the Ghanaian Department of Game and Wildlife (GWD). The paper briefly recounts the methods used and problems encountered, the most significant of which was the suspicion and antagonism towards GWD by the villagers. Reviewing some of the lessons learned, the paper concludes that 'if obtaining community participation is crucial to ensuring the sustainability of protected areas then PRA must be viewed as an important component of any conservation approach'.
Those seeking to involve local people in wildlife conservation and park management, particularly in situations of conflict and mistrust.
International Institute for Environment and Development