Gender, Tenure and Community Forests in Uganda: Policy and Practice for Women's Participation

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Date
2013
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Abstract
"Despite the trend toward greater participation of communities in forest management, women have been largely shut out of decision making. Yet women depend on forest resources for subsistence, as safety nets and even for income. This study reviews policies, legal and institutional frameworks, organizations working in forests and district level governments to understand the extent to which Uganda's constitutional provisions supporting gender equality are being practiced. It finds important progress in gender mainstreaming but weak implementation at all levels. For example, the Forestry Policy, Forestry Act and Forestry Plan all address gender and women's specific needs. Nevertheless, institutional, legal and policy frameworks are not backed up by relevant legal provisions for ensuring compliance. Through interviews in three districts at varying distance from the capital Kampala, the study also examined the extent to which gender features in projects and programmes that involve forests. On the one hand, about three-quarters of organizations not specific to forestry had written gender policies and had strategies to promote gender integration, perhaps due to donor pressure as a condition for funding. Only one third of these organizations reported success. On the other hand, the majority of forest-specific organizations had no policy on gender and did not show any intention of promoting gender in forest management. At the district level, integrating gender in forest management activities was hindered by the limited number of women in technical and leadership positions, absence of the gender focal persons required by law, and inadequate knowledge and skills on gender equity issues by councilors and district technical staff. At community level, women's groups are supporting capacity building and access to loans from micro-finance institutions, which may improve women's ability to participate effectively in the management of forest resources. Nevertheless, all levels would benefit from the development of indicators for monitoring and the design of specific targeted gendered strategies for practitioners."
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gender, institutions, forest management, trees, IASC
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