Participation in Forestry: The Role of Patron-Client Relationship in Ensuring People’s Participation in the Social Forestry Policy of Bangladesh
Asian Profile, Vol. 37, No. 3, June, 2009
19 Pages Posted: 18 Feb 2012 Last revised: 15 Jul 2014
Date Written: June 30, 2009
People’s participation in the Social Forestry (SF) policy in Bangladesh is believed to be an effective way of improving the condition of the forest sector by increasing access to services of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged groups. But 'patron-client relations' is a dominant phenomenon of the political order of the peasant society of Bangladesh that largely influences SF farmers’ access in project design and management. SF is working under the weighty influence of local political institutions, especially the Union Parishad. But the malpractice of this institution often delimited the development orientation and 'welfare' purpose of SF. Moreover, good relationship of Union Parishad Chairman with the local bureaucrats and NGOs help him to carry out his activities in the locality without any trouble. The Union Parishad Chairman have local power base and supporter group. To uphold his political position he is giving benefits to his supporters. For that cause when he is going to select the members (who tend to be landless or disadvantaged class of the society) for the SF project, he is usually selecting those people with whom he has close personal relationship and from whom he will be benefited in future. The clients also are dependent on patrons for work as agricultural laborer and sharecropper in their (patron’s) field.
Keywords: patron-client, participation, social forestry, Bangladesh
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