Diversity within village institutions and its implication for resilience in the context of climate change in Cameroon

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Climate change will create challenges for forest-dependent communities in Africa. Local institutions play an important role in fostering community resilience in the context of change. The resilience of a community is influenced by social learning that can happen as people meet together and share their diverse experiences and knowledge. Surveys of 232 people from 13 villages, in three regions of Cameroon, provided insight about the role that internal village institutions can play in fostering community resilience. Almost all villagers, both men and women, are members of at least one group and the membership of these groups is very diverse in terms of family relations, gender, occupation, age, and level of education. While the groups were not currently working together to respond to climate change, the diverse social networks that villagers have in these groups have already fostered exchange of knowledge. Their existence in villages provides opportunities for developing and sharing of knowledge that can be important for climate change adaptation in the future. Community resilience could be better fostered through a deliberate action-reflection process that includes both men and women, and builds on the social capital present in communities.

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