Collective action, governance and management of collective resources

“Even the goats feel the heat”: Gender, livestock rearing, rangeland cultivation and climate change adaptation in Tunisia

Dina Najjar

Women’s contributions to rangeland cultivation in Tunisia and the effects of climate change upon their livelihoods are both policy blind spots. To make women’s contributions to rangeland cultivation more visible and to provide policy inputs based on women’s needs and priorities into the reforms currently being made in Tunisia, we conducted fieldwork in three governorates. We conducted focus groups and interviews with a total of 289 individuals. We found that women and men are negatively affected by rangeland degradation and water scarcity, but women are additionally disadvantaged by their inability to own land and access credit, and by drought-mitigation and rangeland rehabilitation training that only targets men. Our findings reveal that women are involved in livestock grazing and rearing activities to a greater extent than is widely assumed, but in different ways than the men in the same households and communities. Understanding how women use rangelands is a necessary first step to ensuring that they benefit from rangeland management on par with men. Women’s feedback and priorities should be considered critical for the sustainable and equitable use and management of rangelands. Women’s growing involvement in livestock rearing and agricultural production must be supported with commensurate social and economic policy interventions. As an example, it is crucial that women gain access to drought management and adaptation training on par with men. Providing women and men farmers with appropriate support to optimize rangeland cultivation and productivity is particularly urgent in the context of resource degradation accelerated by climate change.

Women’s voices in civil society organizations: Evidence from a civil society mapping project in Mali

Katrina Kosec

How does women's engagement in civil society organizations (CSOs) differ from that of men, and what factors predict women's willingness to hold the state accountable? We analyze these questions in the context of rural and urban Mali, leveraging face-to-face data collected as part of a civil society mapping project during February–March 2020 and December 2020; and an in-depth survey conducted with leaders from a randomly selected subset of these CSOs during January–March 2021. First, we explore the characteristics of women's groups compared to other CSOs. Second, we explore their likelihood of sanctioning a hypothetical corrupt mayor. We use an embedded survey experiment to try to understand these groups' willingness to report on the mayor. We find that women in Mali are often highly organized at the local level with greater mobilization capacity than men—frequently in self-help groups or organizations related to gendered economic activities. However, they are not typically recognized by outside actors; their strong networks and group infrastructure represent untapped social capital. CSOs comprised of women have lower informational and technical capacity, including lower levels of political knowledge, and incur a higher cost of sanctioning public officials. Women are generally less willing to sanction corruption than men, but are more likely to when their CSO is less hierarchical, when their technical capacity is higher and when their political knowledge is greater. However, priming their importance as a CSO (by telling them they were identified by well-connected citizens as influential) reduces sanctioning, perhaps by making them fear reprisals from recommenders.

Participatory rangeland management: Understanding women's engagement and implications for social change

Philip Miriti

Participatory Rangeland Management (PRM) works with customary institutions in dryland pastoral settings to strengthen communities’ abilities to manage their rangelands. The process includes the creation of management committees that develop plans to manage resources that support resilience to climate change, such as restoring grazing areas. This study describes the process of women’s engagement in PRM and what it means for women’s participation in decision-making processes in resource management and broader gender relations in the community and household. The study takes place in four communities in Baringo County, Kenya; an area severely affected by climate change effects such as drought. We use a mixed-methods approach and draw upon 56 intrahousehold interviews, 34 key informant interviews and 8 FGDs. We first contextualize social change in pastoral settings, which includes describing the influence of gender sensitization efforts of development organizations and increasing numbers of women assuming leadership positions. Women actively participate in PRM committees through negotiating and advocating for the protection of resources, notably those that they frequently use, such as water sources. Women also earn income from PRM related activities, which garners more support from their spouses to attend meetings. Women have also taken up so-called men’s activities such as beekeeping. PRM processes—that are part of wider social, economic and environmental change—bolster women’s participation in decision-making processes across multiple domains. Constraints however persist and limit women’s potential to lead groups that include men, attend seminars, and source labor to manage domestic tasks while they participate in civic activities. These findings contribute to empirical research concerning the governance of rangelands, to understanding the potential of existing frameworks to measure women’s participation and provide practical lessons regarding gender-responsive development.

What influences women's participation in water governance? Preliminary findings from Bangladesh

Niyati Singaraju

The Bangladesh polder zones cover 1.2 million hectares of agricultural land and are home to around eight million people, with women playing a critical role in agriculture and food systems. With limited access to and control over productive resources and incomes, women are disproportionately vulnerable to climatic risks. Their ability to make important decisions can have positive outcomes on the governance of natural resources, agricultural productivity and livelihoods. Using a mixed-methods approach, this study aims to examine the extent and level of women’s participation in water management groups (WMGs) and analyze the sociocultural, political, economic and biophysical contexts which influence participation. A structured-questionnaire survey of 720 households was conducted from April–June 2022 in four polders of the Khulna Division. Focus group discussions with women and men household members were conducted to reflect on the factors that influence women’s participation in WMGs. Results reveal that while men contributed most to decisions on structure/equipment investment and the release and distribution of water that directly affected agriculture production, women were more involved in enlisting participants for training on homestead gardening, livestock and poultry, and leadership development. Both women and men highlighted that participation in WMGs resulted in access to innovations that improved crop productivity and incomes. Women members opined that participation gave them social recognition in the community. Despite these perceived benefits, more than 60% of women respondents believed that their participation in meetings and decisions in WMGs is constrained by unpaid domestic work and restrictive social norms. The preliminary findings highlight that tackling restrictive gender norms to redistribute the unpaid domestic work burden of women is one way of enabling effective participation in water governance.