This Action Research study dealt with the forced resettlement and integration of La Pipe village community in Mauritius once located in the catchment area of the largest dam, the Midland dam, planned to be built in 1995. The La Pipe community was powerless at the beginning of the problem but was empowered by Mouvement Pour L'Autosuffisance Alimentaire(MAA), a Mauritian national NGO, to reverse the power relations in their favor. Community cohesion and participation in decsion making were at the heart of the positive outcomes of the resetllement process. The study also confirms that negotiation is fundamental in a resettlement issue. Each family of the community finally obtained a piece of land and a housing unit. In the truest sense the resettlement of La Pipe community was incomplete since the livelihood relocation did not take place.The non-availaibility of livelihood opportunities at the relocation site resulted in their impoverishment. A resettlement theory has evolved from the study which confirms other theories and can be replicated in other dam projects where forced resettlements are taking place.
Eric Mangar is an Agronomist and the Director of Mouvement Pour L'Autosuffisance Alimentaire (MAA), a food security organisation in Mauritius. He has been the negotiator and resettlement coordinator of La Pipe community from 1995 to 1999 and more recently helped local displaced farmers to restore their livelihoods.