Spotlight on ... women's participation in community forestry in Gabon

DACEFI project often grapples with the issue of women's involvement in the activities it supports. A strategy has been developed to foster women's emergence while respecting local customs...

 

Excerpt of Newsletter no. 12:

Spotlight on ... women's participation in community forestry in Gabon

Gabon’s patrilocal societies (where the woman moves to the man’s village) are by definition societies in which women occupy a secondary place in the traditional organization of space and resources. In so far as she originates outside of the village, and finds herself far from where she grew up, she is spontaneously kept out of the decision-making process. Though she is an active part of the production system (especially in agriculture and harvesting), and plays a central role in the family economy, her voice often goes unheard in traditional seats of power.

Community forestry, to the extent that it alters the organization of space and activities conducted there, affects women in their day-to-day life. It therefore makes sense that they should be given equal consideration as any other village dweller in the process. There is a conflict between the precept of local democracy (in which everyone would be represented and would vote) and participatory management in the strict sense (which would let the community decide which actors to include and thus would easily exclude women).

The DACEFI project therefore often grapples with the issue of women's involvement in the activities it supports. A strategy has thus been developed to foster women's emergence while respecting local customs. The strategy is multi-pronged. On the one hand, it includes meetings where their presence is encouraged, and on the other hand within associations, it fosters their involvement in the management of FCs (where treasury and secretarial positions are often assigned to women) and then during training (where women are encouraged to foray into traditionally male-dominated trades such as carpentry or sawing) and lastly in activities proper (collective banana plantations, grouped NTFP harvesting, etc.). . In specific training activities, it is women talking to women, women facilitating the technical and practical sessions.

As they increasingly occupy higher positions, women are thus gradually coming into the place they deserve and airing their views, which are key to ensuring more rational forest use, in addition to achieving more efficient management of the common heritage.

 

For more Information, please download here below the Newsletter no. 12:

 

 

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