Agroforestry as a mean towards women’s empowerment – A case study of women’s access to household decision making and control of resources as a result of agroforestry projects in Karagwe, Tanzania
Through a case study on the gendered impacts of agroforestry in Karagwe, Tanzania, this thesis has been focusing on women’s empowerment as in their access to decision making at a household level, as well as their increased access to economic resources, at a household level. The research question addressed has been:
- Have women’s access to household decision making and resources changed through the agroforestry project Trees Sustain Life? If so, how?
Having sustainable outcomes as a prerequisite, the study has been focusing on and analyzing the expected empowerment process of women as a result of joining the Vi Agroforestry project Trees Sustain Life. A number of variables limiting and encouraging women’s empowerment has been studied. It was shown that women would still have a high work burden due to fetching of firewood and water, low access to decision making on the cultivation of cash crops as well as on the income gained from such crops, even if they cultivated it themselves. Moreover, the land ownership was still following customary law, with the man looked upon as the landowner. Women did however have access to land, an aspect that was a crucial for the women to be able to join the project. Organizational aspects on women’s participation showed that meetings and capacity building would be easily accessed for the women. As a result from the agroforestry methods, bringing higher yields and the possibility to join microcredit groups, women stated that they had the possibility to save, take loans and start up businesses. Furthermore, they managed to hire additional labor and thus reduced their own work burden at the farm, allowing them to enter the productive sphere to some extent. It was also shown that in the aspect of the project’s group composition, the use of gender mixed groups would enhance the sharing of ideas between men and women, and result in a better understanding of the project, which had previously been looked upon as a ‘women’s activity’.’
In conclusion, women would get better access to resources and be able to start businesses thanks to the specific agroforestry project. Their decision making at a household level was still marginal, but their participation ultimately increased family cooperation and discussion that included their husbands on things such as crops, income, and micro credits. The overall recommendation would be to continue education and capacity building of women as well as men in agroforestry techniques and enterprise selection, to further increase women’s long term access to resources. Moreover, the understanding concerning sustainable use of the resources which the farmers have at hand, in order to address the long term benefits of agroforestry, as well as to increase men’s understanding of women’s daily struggle, might further develop the empowerment process in terms of access to resources and decision making.
Matsson, L. (2012). Agroforestry as a mean towards women’s empowerment – A case study of women’s access to household decision making and control of resources as a result of agroforestry projects in Karagwe, Tanzania. Master’s Thesis. Department of Government.