Securing Livelihoods 

Saskia Ivens, Independent consultant, Netherlands


Dagmar Wicklow, University of Kassel, Germany

The socio-economic participation of spouses in family farming
This qualitative study explores how spouses perceive their legal and operational participation in family farming. Based on guidelines developed through a literature analysis, narrative interviews were conducted with 12 participants (11 female, 1 male) in the Württemberg-region of Germany. The findings confirm research that spouses are often in a precarious position. The results show that the work taken on by spouses may coincide with their participation in decision-making on family farms, assumed liabilities, involvement in the legal structure, and with property relations. However, theses aspects do not have to match or may match only partially. Regardless of life stage and gender, most respondents are thus exposed to a high risk of poverty in the event of divorce. Talking about the consequences of death and divorce was deemed unpleasant by interviewees. Due to the legal situation in Germany, however, it is necessary for spouses marrying into family farms to negotiate this issue with their partner. Notions of time-enduring romantic love additionally hinder spouses in these negotiations, as does the internalized priority of the family farm above individual interests.


Malvika Chaudhary and Mariam A.T.J. Kadzamira, CABI

The catalytic role of plant clinics in livelihood improvement of women engaged in local biocontrol agent production enterprises in India
This study analyzes the impact of Plant Clinics established in Chokkalingam Puddur village, India, in linking their advice of using biofungicides to product availability through a women’s cottage industry, an arm of a larger farmer producer organisation in the area. Using a mixed method approach we determine how participation in the women only cottage industry has positively impacted the cottage industry members livelihoods with changes observed at the personal, relational and environmental levels. Furthermore, we find that the livelihood outcomes of the cottage industry members are far better than for other women who are only members of the larger farmer producer organisation comprising of both men and women. The study also shows that availability of a plant clinic in the area, which channeled clients to the women’s cottage industry, was key in increasing the volume of business for the women’s cottage industry, thus catalyzing changes in the livelihoods of the cottage industry members. Key recommendations are for the need for targeted rural development interventions that target women’s business development resulting into improved social and economic standing. Targeted initiatives provide for ‘safe spaces’ that allow women to thrive personally (i.e. personal spaces foster improved self-confidence, allow for increased individual knowledge, allows voicing of opinions and personal autonomy). These personal improvements enable the women to have better relational outcomes at both the household and community level (i.e. via influencing community development, having greater control over household assets, being involved in household decision making, having an independent income and controlling their own time).


Deborah Olamide Olaosebikan, Steven Michael Cole and Bela Teeken, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA)

The growing importance of cassava cultivation and processing to livelihood security in Nigeria: A life history analysis
Objective: This study examines the perception of smallholder cassava farmer-processors in rural Nigeria on the importance cassava plays in generating opportunities for increasing their livelihood security.
Methodology: A life history interview guide was administered to 32 women and their spouses, in Osun and Imo States, Nigeria. The data were analyzed using an inductive content analysis approach.
Result: Cassava cultivation and processing has and continues to be a primary livelihood activity for women, men, and youth from a range of backgrounds in rural Nigeria. Cassava-based livelihoods generate higher employment and revenue opportunities to mainly indigene women processors while also enabling migrants to adapt and integrate into rural communities, provide an alternate option for adults to be self-reliant before and after retirement, and help youth studying to raise income to achieve their educational aspirations. The wellbeing status of cassava farmers-processors has improved over the past ten years. Improved wellbeing is associated with combining cassava cultivation and processing with several other livelihood activities. While the cultivation and processing of cassava has created opportunities for women, men and youth to generate food and cash, male youth in Osun State mentioned low productivity as a major constraint to increasing their wellbeing through cassava cultivation. Young and adult women mentioned that cassava processing is both labour-intensive and time-consuming.
Implications: Life history findings broaden the abounding opportunities within cassava-based livelihood to cater for specific needs and prioritizing focus to young males and women for easier access to improved cassava varieties and labor and time-saving processing technologies.


Christina Ruano-Chamorro, James Cook University, Australia

Advancing gender equality in coral reef socio-ecological systems
Coral reef degradation is an impending crisis for the millions of people who depend on coral reefs for their livelihoods, food security and wellbeing. Here, we seek to understand current practice and opportunities, and more broadly, to provide an evidence base for future efforts to advance gender equality alongside resilient livelihoods in coral reef dependent communities and fisheries more broadly. We review peer-reviewed and grey literature on livelihood interventions and gender equality in Fiji, Solomon Islands, Madagascar, Philippines and Tanzania. Drawing on CARE’s Gender Equality Framework, we synthesize how gender equality is and can be pursued across four key pathways that impact livelihoods in coral reef systems: 1) alternative or improved livelihood initiatives; 2) initiatives that build adaptive capacity; 3) conservation initiatives to conserve biodiversity and 4) resource management to ensure sustainability. We find that overall, gender and sex-disaggregated research is growing. However, key knowledge and practice gaps remain. Across the five focus countries, we found some examples of gender transformative approaches, but most were gender accommodative. Better understanding of gender dynamics through place-specific studies, and trialling and assessing transformative approaches in coral reef and fisheries settings will be key to address gaps between theory and practice. To this end, we summarize successful practices and processes from related systems, and highlight key gender transformative tools, resources and opportunities to advance gender equality in coral reef socio-ecological systems.