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Gendered tenurial niches and access to the informal irrigation in the Kandeu area of Malawi: Policy Implications for SDGs attainment in Africa


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Presented by Everisto Mapedza at the Stockholm World Water Week (SWWW), August 25, 2019.

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Gendered tenurial niches and access to the informal irrigation in the Kandeu area of Malawi: Policy Implications for SDGs attainment in Africa

  1. 1. Gendered tenurial niches and access to the informal irrigation in the Kandeu area of Malawi: Policy Implications for SDGs attainment in Africa Everisto Mapedza Senior Researcher, IWMI, Ghana. Presented at the Stockholm World Water Week (SWWW), 25-30 August 2019
  2. 2. Organization • Introduction • Gender – an overview • Gender and Agriculture • Study Area • Methods • Findings • Implications • Conclusion
  3. 3. Introduction • “Tenure is not about land, it is about people (men, women and youths). It is about land only as far as land can serve the needs of people (men, women and youths)” (à la Westoby 1967)
  4. 4. Gender Overview • Gender roles are the "social definition" of women and men - different societies and cultures, classes and ages, and during different periods in history • Gender - often governs the processes of production and reproduction, consumption and distribution • Gender differences - roles, power, resources for males and females, access to services, opportunities, information • Gender is often conveniently misconstrued as sex – biological differences – or women • It is about power relationships and power dynamics
  5. 5. Gender and Agriculture • Feminization of agriculture – blind spots • 50-60% of sub-Saharan labour force are women (FAO 2011, 2010; COMESA) • Women have lesser access to inputs than men (FAO 2011) • Female farmers produce less than male farmers due to unfavorable context (IFPRI 2010) • Demystify gender – more informed team – ‘they don’t get it’ – how do we engage? • Partners/Implementers are gender sensitive “Gender (charity) begins at home • SDGs - ‘Business as unusual mode’ • Nothing about women/youths without women/youths
  6. 6. Study Area • Kaziputa Irrigation Scheme (Kandeu EPA) • 75 irrigators (22 men and 53 women) • Clubs: Gobeke, Chikamba, Chimwalira, Namichimba and Lithethe • Ntcheu District in Malawi • Central Region • 155-184 people/km² • 70-90% poverty levels – 52% at national level
  7. 7. Methods
  8. 8. Methods (cont’d)
  9. 9. Research Findings • Matrilineal and matri-local society (75-80%)– Ngoni (70%)! • Land inherited through women • Tenure – tenurial niches (Fortmann 1992; 1996 – going beyond De Soto security of tenure through titling • Avoid binary of male and female ownership – gradient from female to male – multiple stories “I was given a piece of land by my grandparents from my father’s side since I had come to stay with my father after I separated with my wife long ago”
  10. 10. Research Findings (cont’d) • Access – distributional equity, who gets what – going beyond neat bureaucracy to look at the social, economic and political dimensions of land tenure • There is need to monitor the dynamics, processes and sub-processes of the tenurial niches within the Kandeu area • Paradox of land ownership - not translating into control of benefits
  11. 11. Research Findings (cont’d) • Niches - men are re-negotiating their access to land through land rental arrangements • Markets – gender roles – ‘its not safe for women to travel overnight across the mountain range to the market’ – land tenure within the broader cultural spectrum • Men are involved in marketing – some say prices were ‘not good’ most of the time
  12. 12. Research Findings (cont’d) • Divorce your husband – torch (gendered access and control over land) • Role of uncles in decision making – men in key decision making
  13. 13. Whose Labour?
  14. 14. Access to Agricultural Extension
  15. 15. Social Capital
  16. 16. Implications • Land Tenure – key challenge for gender • Patriarchy and Matriarchy – agricultural productivity • Structure and agency • Focusing on structure tends to downplay individual agency in Africa • Norms yes – but how do people negotiate household norms of a ‘good wife’ ‘good husband’ ‘good migrant wife/husband’ (land access and control) • More informed Intra-Household analysis
  17. 17. Conclusion • Tenure is not absolute – it is fluid, created, challenged, modified, negotiated and re-configured - importance of tenurial niches • Move away from the binary - gradient • ‘I own. You own. He owns. She owns. We own. They control’ • Gender central – meeting SDGs in Africa
  18. 18. Thank You, Merci, Tatenda, Medase Acknowledging the support of the study partner communities in Malawi