Strategic community engagement​

Communities often do not have the capacity to establish and develop initiatives on their own. In addition, there may be conflicts within a community or economic considerations that override conservation concerns. Communities therefore need allies and assistance. Poor education standards retards development of a society leading to communities depending on natural resources that cannot address their households needs. Lack of alternative sources of livelihoods has led to depletion of natural resources such as forests and marine resources. Communities living adjacent to these resources cause a lot of environmental destruction as they try to address their economic and social needs.

The rationale behind COBEC is that, by working together, people are able to achieve more than individuals or organizations working on their own, and involving those affected is likely to result in a better and more acceptable long-term solution. These desired outcomes have led to increased acknowledgement of participatory activities as a means of achieving environmental and sustainability goals.

Improved communication, information exchange, problem solving and an enhanced ability of local communities to carry out tasks are obvious benefits from group activities. Local people and outsiders can share their awareness of problems, resources, knowledge and skills.