Participation Strategies and Ethical Considerations in NGO led Community-Based Conservation Initiatives

Chaudhry Ghafran, Sofia Yasmin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study examines the participation strategies of an environmental non-governmental organization (NGO) in community-based conservation (CBC) initiatives in the developing country context of Pakistan. We use local Pakistani concepts and terms to interpret and narrate our study. Drawing on the micro-mobilization literature, our analysis embeds a situated analysis of the ‘biradari’ (kinship) structures that pervade Pakistani social and cultural milieu. We shed light on the importance of various gatekeepers in providing access and ongoing support for CBC initiatives, suggesting NGOs must navigate complex cultural and social structures to manage participation in developing country contexts. Here our findings point to the importance of local knowledge not just in articulating community needs but also in articulating participation strategies. Furthermore, even though 'elite' structures have the potential to jeopardize equitable participation and project long-term sustainability, our analysis suggests interacting and gaining ‘bharosa’ (trust) of communities’ via these structures is critical to participation. While previous research has called into doubt the efficacy of CBC in advancing conservation, we suggest that frequent and culturally atoned engagement is a must for environmental NGOs working in socially entrenched developing nations. Our research brings to light the complex ethical terrain navigated by environmental NGOs in CBC projects, illuminating the inherent potential for both empowering and subjugating outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Business Ethics
Early online date16 Apr 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16 Apr 2024


  • Environmental NGO
  • Accountability
  • Community-based Conservation
  • Participation


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