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Transforming urban and rural women’s lives (Vol. 2, Issue 2)

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FTA communications

Welcome to the March edition of the FTA newsletter series. This month, in celebration of International Women’s Day (IWD), we put a strong focus on FTA’s gender research and gender integration work. The theme of IWD, “Time is Now: Rural and urban activists transforming women’s lives”, foregrounds the many actors who mobilize diverse strategies to catalyze change for gender equality.

FTA’s research aims at enabling transformative change to enhance the wellbeing of women as well as men, young and old, who inhabit and manage forest and agroforest landscapes. This requires a focus on gender as a research area of its own, as well as mainstreaming gender throughout FTA’s research portfolio.

Social transformation requires the respective roles and contributions of different societal actors to be properly understood, recognized and rewarded. FTA scientists and partners use a range of methods to inform, and raise awareness of, decision makers at national and international scales on the perspectives that local women and men express throughout the research process.

Rural women, younger generations, and civil society more broadly can be change makers. They need to be supported, through capacity building and financial support, to engage with one another and other actors, and to make themselves heard and understood. We all — researchers, governments, and private sector actors included — have an active role to play in supporting transformative change in women’s lives.

Read on to see how FTA’s research on gender equality and social inclusion contributes to this goal.

Vincent Gitz, FTA Director, and Marlène Elias, FTA Gender Research Coordinator

Thoughts on gender

Woman on a mission: Pushing for rights and a seat at the decision-making table

imagethumb.jpg To mark International Women’s Day, FTA Gender Research Coordinator Marlène Elias sat down with Cécile Ndjebet, president of the African Women’s Network for Community Management of Forests (REFACOF), to discuss the network’s successes and challenges in securing women’s tenure rights to land and forests, and the role of FTA research in supporting transformative change for its members, their communities, and their environments.


FTA launches new webpage on gender equality and social inclusion

imagethumb.jpgThe forestry and agroforestry sector has much to contribute to addressing inequalities between women and men, and empowering disadvantaged women and men in ways that contribute to sustainable rural landscapes. FTA recently launched a new webpage summing up how it embeds gender research within each of its five research areas. The page also features a learning module comprising information, case studies and resources on key areas of FTA’s gender research for students, academics, practitioners, policy makers and others who work on natural resource management, gender, and the gender-agro/forest nexus.

Gender integration and gender-responsive research

imagethumb.jpgA new compilation of work showcases knowledge products and engagement activities carried out by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) as part of FTA, highlighting key achievements thanks to the support of UK aid’s Knowledge for Forestry (Knowfor) program. The work furthers gender integration and gender-responsive research by deepening conceptual and methodological capabilities to undertake nuanced and relevant gender analyses, and by synthesizing and disseminating current gender research.

Women improve food security through land-restoration technology in Kenya

imagethumb.jpgAmid many challenges, women in Kenya are taking control of their farms, with impressive results – using a farming technique that is helping to alleviate food shortages. Following a previous article on the topic, women farmers have achieved stark differences in yields through simple planting basins, a water-conservation technology, with preliminary results showing that the size of the basins and their combination with other practices, such as applying manure and mulching, determine their impact on maize production under different conditions.

REDD+ findings from Tanzania, Indonesia and Peru show gender divide

imagethumb.jpg Men and women differ in their preferences when it comes to REDD+ benefits, with men preferring cash incentives and women leaning toward non-cash benefits, according to a team of researchers that conducted in-depth intra-household interviews in Tanzania, Indonesia and Peru as part of a larger project on REDD+ and tenure. The researchers also found a correlation between increased women’s participation and more equitable distribution of benefits.

Costs and benefits of challenging the patriarchy for women charcoal producers in Zambia

imagethumb.jpg Women’s involvement in the traditionally male-dominated charcoal industry is increasing across Zambia, from packaging charcoal to molding kilns, and even felling and cutting trees. The increased involvement of women is attributed to heightened demand as well as a perceived increase in poverty in rural areas, with many women viewing charcoal production as a viable business opportunity with low entry barriers.

ACM levels the playing field for women and men in forest-adjacent communities

Aimed at enhancing women’s participation as well as identifying how negotiation and facilitation can strengthen women’s tenure, a gender-equity approach known as Adaptive Collaborative Management (ACM) is showing better outcomes not only for women but also for forest resources. CIFOR principal scientist Esther Mwangi outlined the approach in a recent webinar organized by the CGIAR Collaborative Platform for Gender Research.

Women left on sidelines of decisions about forest management

imagethumb.jpgWomen in forest-dwelling communities in Latin America use a wide array of products from their farmland and forests in their daily tasks, but when it comes to tenure rights to those forests or participation in decisions about their management, women are often left on the sidelines. That leaves the women — especially rural and indigenous women — particularly vulnerable, according to studies from Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Nicaragua and Mexico, which formed part of a recent Special Issue of the Women’s Studies International Forum.

Banner photo by O. Girard/CIFOR. Thoughts on gender and news photos, from top, by: Marlene Elias; M. Edliadi/CIFOR; M. Edliadi/CIFOR; A. Mamo/ICRAF; N. Mtimgwa/CIFOR; M. Edliadi/CIFOR; J. Baptist Wandera/CIFOR; J. Carlos Huayllapuma/CIFOR.

Contact us

Recent publications


Special Section on Latin American women’s farm land and communal forests


Forest tenure reform implementation in Uganda: Current challenges and future opportunities


Beyond timber: balancing demands for tree resources between concessionaires and villagers


Genetic conservation in Parkia biglobosa (Fabaceae: Mimosoideae) – what do we know?


The importance of species selection and seed sourcing in forest restoration for enhancing adaptive potential to climate change


Approaches and tools for assessing mountain forest ecosystem services


Wealth and the distribution of benefits from tropical forests: Implications for REDD+


Drone technology for science


Generating science and solutions


Creating a movement on sustainable landscapes


Mapping traditional forests in Maluku, Indonesia


Sustainable symbols: ‘Sasi’ taboos in Maluku, Indonesia


Changing times: Living off the forest in Maluku, Indonesia


World Water Forum
March 18, 2018

Ulysses Guimarães Convention Center, Brasília, Brazil

Asia-Pacific Rainforest Summit (APRS) 2018
April 23, 2018

Alana Yogyakarta Hotel and Convention Center, Yogyakarta, Indonesia


The CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) is the world’s largest research for development program to enhance the role of forests, trees and agroforestry in sustainable development and food security and to address climate change. CIFOR leads FTA in partnership with Bioversity International, CATIE, CIRAD, ICRAF, INBAR and TBI.

We would like to thank all donors who support this work through their contributions to the CGIAR Fund.

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