Articles | Volume 14, issue 9
Research article
05 Sep 2014
Research article |  | 05 Sep 2014

Reducing volcanic risk on Fogo Volcano, Cape Verde, through a participatory approach: which outcome?

P. Texier-Teixeira, F. Chouraqui, A. Perrillat-Collomb, F. Lavigne, J. R. Cadag, and D. Grancher

Abstract. This research paper presents the outcomes of Work Package 5 (socio-economical vulnerability assessment and community-based disaster risk reduction) of the MIAVITA (MItigate and Assess risk from Volcanic Impact on Terrain and human Activities) research programme conducted on Fogo Volcano, Cape Verde. The study lasted for almost 3 years (May 2010 to January 2012), of which most of the time was spent in the village of Chã das Caldeiras, situated within the 9 km wide caldera of the volcano inside Fogo Natural Park. The objectives of the programme included assessment of the vulnerability of the community at risk in terms of livelihoods, access to resources, and power relations between the local people and the different public and private institutions. These are important factors that need to be investigated in order to understand the root causes of vulnerability of the local people. This case study shows that the voluntary exposure of people to volcanic threats is linked to daily access to sources of livelihood, especially agriculture and tourism. This is despite the perception of people of the risk to their lives and properties. In order to counter the factors of vulnerability, the study also aimed to identify and enhance local capacities. To achieve such an objective, a participatory three-dimensional mapping (P3DM) activity was conducted to facilitate the dialogue between the local people and the different stakeholders as well as to prepare plans and measures to reduce volcanic risk. The P3DM was a half success considering that it has not yet led to an operational plan which takes into account the local capacities. The main reasons included (1) the non-participatory aspect of the project at the beginning which should have identified priorities for people and let them lead the project to ensure the sustainability of (2) deep conflicts within the community which complicated the focus group discussions around the 3-D map, and the difficulties in involving more marginalised people like women and the youth, and (3) the fact that volcanic risk is not a priority for the people, who are more concerned with daily difficulties due to unsustainable livelihoods, a lack of access to water, land tenure, and the restrictions by the Fogo Natural Park administration and the municipal officials. Still, the study was successful in creating a space for dialogue between the local people and the outside stakeholders such as the Natural Park Administration, the Civil Protection, and the Municipality of Santa Catarina, who have all participated actively during the course of the project.

Final-revised paper