Women’s roles in the management of community forest resources: a case of Kwania district
The study analyzed women’s roles in the management of community forest resources in the Kwania district. The focus was on examining the role of women in the management of the community for resources in Kwania district for gender equity and women’s empowerment. The study was guided by three objectives that included: assessing women’s access to and utilization of forests in Kwania district; examining women’s involvement in community forest resource management activities and identifying the challenges experienced by women in community forest resource management. Agarwal’s Feminist Environmentalism theory was used to examine women’s roles in the management of community resources the source in Kwania district. A qualitative methodology was used while employing a single case study design which used an exploratory study approach. Data collection methods included: interviews (in-depth and key informant interviews): focus group discussions and observation. The study showed that the women are allowed to get local forest products like firewood, herbal medicine etc however, they are not allowed to get timbers unless they have granted permission by the local forest authority. In addition to that, these forest resources are used by men and women for different purposes. In addition to that, the study findings also indicated that the women near Bung Aduku and Bung Inomo are involved in forest resource management through: reporting illegal misuse of forests to the forest officials; they do tree planting and weeding of the trees. The findings further indicate that decision making power about the community forests in Kwania district is still a highly debatable subject since some of the participants said women are involved in making decisions on forest resource management while other participants say the power to make decisions is entirely left to the men. These differences were caused by several gender-blind factors such as lack of time for women since they have heavy burdens of reproductive, productive and community managing roles. Nonetheless, the women face a lot of challenges when it comes to forest resource management which include; male dominance in forest resource management activities, Gender roles and responsibilities for women. In conclusion, the challenges affecting women’s involvement in forest resource management can be addressed through women’s empowerment through awareness creation and skills development on community forest resource management; involvement of women in forest resource management decision making process and abolition of gender-blind cultural norms and rules among others.