Learning through networking: enabling an adaptive learning network of local communities for integrated floodplain management in Bangladesh
This chapter documents and analyses how over 250 existing communitybased organizations (CBOs) managing natural resources in Bangladesh have improved their management through an adaptive learning network, and the challenges through this process of encouraging CBOs to adopt improvements in their practices that take a more system-wide view of the productivity of floodplains, which we call ‘integrated floodplain management’ (IFM). The chapter is based on an action-research approach. The authors have worked in development initiatives to establish CBOs and in research and evaluations in this field since 1996, and specifically since 2007 we have piloted adaptive learning among CBOs. Through this CBOs have taken up elements of IFM, and at the same time we have investigated the effectiveness of this and impacts in participating communities. The chapter is based on working with a partnership and network of CBOs – about 150 since 2007, which expanded to about 250 from the end of 2008. Our experience is reported and assessed in the context of recent contributions on adaptive collaborative or comanagement. The main questions that we seek to address are whether and how adaptive learning can be effective between a set of independent and dispersed CBOs, and what are the outcomes from this approach.