Exploring Stakeholders’ Engagement in Heritage-Led Community ...

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Abstract

Sustainable heritage conservation and management occurs when there is effective stakeholder involvement and collaboration in the process. This study identifies hindrances to effective stakeholder engagement and collaboration by identifying lapses in the heritage management process in the Badagry area of Lagos State, Nigeria. Badagry has the potential for growth and prosperity through heritage-led development if its heritage resources are well managed. Data were collected through interviews, document reviews, and focus groups to explore the structures that exist for stakeholders’ involvement and how this affects heritage management and development processes. This study’s relevance lies in its addition to the knowledge on stakeholders’ studies in heritage endeavors regarding the development of historic towns by presenting case-specific evidence. The findings connote that heritage conservation is premised on the values attached by different stakeholders and is influenced by those in charge in terms of ownership and financial capability of ensuring the conservation intervention. Some key issues with stakeholders’ involvement include the governance structure and local government incapacities, inadequate human capacity and skillsets, and the disengagement of the local community. The study revealed three central areas for intervention to promote effective stakeholder collaboration: regularizing heritage activities between stakeholders, creating an enabling environment, and connecting heritage policies to culture and tradition.