In The Absence Of Their Men: Women And Forest Management In The Mid-hills Of Nepal
Free (open access)
295 - 304
K. Giri, B. Pokhrel & I. Darnhofer
In Nepal, the management of community forests is based on the participation and decision making of forest users. The premise of its success is the involvement of the real users in forest conservation and management. The Nepal Forest Laws identify women as key forest users and underline the importance of their participation in community forest management. However, given the sociocultural setting and the prevailing patriarchy, fostering women’s active participation remains a challenge. Women are traditionally limited to the private sphere and men tend to look after the responsibilities in the public sphere. However, the increasing trend of male outmigration observed in the Mid-hills may offer a window of opportunity for women to become more involved in the public sphere and thus, be able to have a decisive influence in forest management. This paper investigates the factors that have increased the participation and decision-making level of women in two community forest user groups. Data were collected through focus group discussions, informal discussions and interviews with key informants. The results suggest that key factors that encourage women to take an active role in the management of community forests are: degraded forests hampering the women to fulfil their duties (supply of firewood, grass, etc.), previous experiences with women’s groups to increase their self-confidence, an unsatisfactory flow of information and men’s full support. Given the high prevalence of male outmigration in the Mid-hills of Nepal, these results are relevant to formulate policies and strategies that foster women’s empowerment. Keywords: community forestry, community forest user group, male outmigration, left-behind women, participation, decision-making, focus group discussion.
community forestry, community forest user group, male outmigration, left-behind women, participation, decision-making, focus group discussion.