The Cold War inadvertently led to the formation of two human rights treaties – with specific civil rights being encouraged by the West and participatory rights by the East. These participatory rights have found their voice in resource governance in Sub-Saharan Africa. This is due to lack of socio-economic infrastructure, corruption, and the weak or non-existent rule of law. Harnessing the benefits of extractive resources have been problematic, as the countries concerned failed to reap the benefits of the resources, and the development of the resources triggered violent conflicts, destroyed the environment, exacerbated inequalities across gender and geography, displaced communities, and undermined democratic governance. This article examines the fundamental questions about community participation in decision-making processes that have long-term environmental, economic, and social impacts on the community. Using context case studies, the article investigates the building blocks of effective participation in development projects in Africa. The critical questions asked are: Who delineates the contested space of participation and how are multiple layers of organized participation adopted? The potential for participatory development mechanisms as an inducement to encourage local community participation in resource governance is examined. Encouraging participation is indispensable for achieving environmental justice in vulnerable, resource-rich zones.