Community participation in strategic environmental assessment: an exploration of process and learning outcomes in Kenya
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Meaningful public engagement is a challenging, but promising, feature of strategic environmental assessment (SEA) in developing countries such as Kenya. This research examined completed Kenyan SEA and compared procedures to standard practice, with particular emphasis on public participation. Two selected SEA case studies explored the extent of participation, learning outcomes of participation, and whether the learning outcomes lead to social action for sustainability at the community level. Document reviews, participant observation, a focus group, and semi-structured interviews with environmental practitioners, government officials, and community members provided data for the thesis. The study revealed that public participation is variable amongst the completed SEAs and shows that the ideal conditions for learning in public participation were not completely fulfilled, resulting in a greater abundance of instrumental than communicative or transformative learning outcomes. Nonetheless, individual and social actions that contribute to sustainability have been taken based on the learning outcomes.