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Strengthening women's tenure and rights to forests and trees and their participation in decision making


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Presented by Dr. Esther Mwangi on February 8, 2018, during the "More than a seat at the table: Strengthening women's tenure and rights to forests and trees and their participation in decision making" webinar, organized by the CGIAR Collaborative Platform for Gender Research and the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) and the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).

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Strengthening women's tenure and rights to forests and trees and their participation in decision making

  1. 1. Esther Mwangi, Concepta Mukasa, Alice Tibazalika, Abwoli Banana Strengthening women’s tenure and rights to forests and trees and their participation in decision making February 8th, 2018 WEBINAR: CGIAR collaborative platform on gender
  2. 2. Outline • Policy background • Findings of diagnostic research/situation analysis • Adaptive Collaborative Management (ACM): An approach to gender equity • ACM implementation and outcomes • Conclusions
  3. 3. BACKGROUND “The government will ensure the integration of gender concerns and issues into the development of the forest sector….. This will include efforts to: -increase security of tenure over forest resources for women and youth; -encourage active participation of women and youth in decision-making, resource management and sharing of benefits;….” Uganda Forest Policy (2001)
  4. 4. DIAGNOSTIC RESEARCH IN 18 COMMUNITIES, 3 DISTRICTS (2010-2011) Prominent gender inequalities still exist in forest use and/or management  government programs/NFA have focal points but don’t have specific guidelines/strategies; programs did not actively promote gender integration  staff had no incentives to encourage women’s participation  limited budgets  people were not aware that the law governing forests in Uganda had changed to encourage more community participation  Due to cultural norms and practices, trees are owned by men; women cannot plant trees eg Ficus.  Forests/trees= men
  5. 5. ADAPTIVE COLLABORATIVE MANAGEMENT Purpose:  Enhance women’s participation  Identify whether/how negotiation & facilitation strengthen women’s tenure rights in the context of strong customary norms with male bias  Generate lessons
  6. 6. ADAPTIVE COLLABORATIVE MANAGEMENT: AN APPROACH TO EMPOWERMENT (2011-2016)  conscious efforts among voluntary groups to communicate, collaborate, negotiate, resolve conflicts and seek out opportunities to learn collectively about the impacts of their actions (CIFOR 2008);  ‘learning by doing’: group together with other stakeholders identifies a problem, takes action to resolve it, monitors and evaluates the outcomes, reflects and learns from the activity;  move from an undesired current situation to a desired future state that the actors agree upon; to empower the community to create change and deal with their own challenges  empower women and other marginalized groups who live in and around forests by giving them greater say in how forests are managed (CIFOR 2004);  proved successful in encouraging both men and women to participate in management of their natural resources eg in Zimbabwe and Nepal
  7. 7.  6 communities in 3 districts (randomly selected from 18 forest-adjacent communities in 6 districts)  Six ACM groups involving 279 members — 128 men and 151 women — participated voluntarily in the action THE ACM PROCESS
  8. 8. Women expressed concerns over forest and tree-related issues that included the following:  exclusion from decisions despite their use and management of forests and trees  absence in leadership positions  poor attendance at meetings  lack of confidence to speak up during meetings  cultural norms that prevent them from planting, owning and economically benefiting from trees. ACM process/interventions aimed to address them.
  9. 9. M&E INDICATORS  Number of women: o in leadership o attending meetings o Participating or actively contributing o owning trees o controlling incomes  Perceptions of participation in decision making and confidence of women leaders
  10. 10. HOW WERE THESE OUTCOMES ACHIEVED?  Capacity-building: increased knowledge, skills and confidence of women  Vertical linkages to the National Forest Authority and NGOs ensured support (such as technical capacity, networks, information) and recognition  ACM facilitators created a safe, non-intimidating space free from intimidation or retribution  Working with men; benefits of group action were distributed beyond women
  11. 11.  Alternative livelihoods activities through e.g. village banking schemes, provided independent income sources  Formal, registered groups provided a legally recognized structure for collective action and for greater security of access to and use of trees and forests  Engagement beyond the community level including legislators, project advisory committee ENABLING CONDITIONS
  12. 12. CONCLUSION  Rights granted by statute are not automatically exercised due to ineffective or lack of implementation  Customary norms are not etched in stone. Negotiation and facilitation by trusted intermediaries can strengthen women’s rights, and participation---lower transactions costs of collective action; level the playing field; decision rules;  Collective action/organization and linkages to external actors are key to women being able to exercise rights, secure them and to derive value from their rights  Men can be allies in processes of strengthening women’s rights and empowerment; mixed groups of men and women can be viable pathways for this as opposed to women-only groups
  14. 14. Thank you!