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Masculinity on Unstable Ground: Young Refugee Men in Nairobi, Kenya


Jaji, Rosemary. 2009. “Masculinity on Unstable Ground: Young Refugee Men in Nairobi, Kenya.” Journal of Refugee Studies 22 (2): 177–94.

Author: Rosemary Jaji


A gender perspective in refugee studies usually conjures up images of refugee women. Such images are an outcome of the association of vulnerability with women and children. Yet, it is not only refugee women who face monumental challenges in the country of asylum; refugee men also encounter a wide range of problems. Exile comes with obstacles for refugee men's quest to conform to culturally defined masculinity. This paper presents the nature of the challenges young refugee men predominantly from the Great Lakes region face in exile and the struggles they engage in as they seek to maintain and live up to their pre-flight notions of masculinity. The paper also shows how the men create alternative masculinities that are sustainable in a context that is largely characterized by existential uncertainties.

Keywords: masculinity, refugee men, Great Lakes, Kenya

Topics: Displacement & Migration, Refugees, Gender, Gender Roles, Masculinity/ies, Men Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Kenya

Year: 2009

Absent Voices: Women and Youth in Communal Land Governance. Reflections on Methods and Process from Exploratory Research in West and East Africa


Lemke, Stefanie and Priscilla Claeys. 2020. "Absent Voices: Women and Youth in Communal Land Governance. Reflections on Methods and Process from Exploratory Research in West and East Africa." Land 9 (8): 266- 66. 

Authors: Stefanie Lemke , Priscilla Claeys


An increasing number of African States are recognizing customary land tenure. Yet, there is a lack of research on how community rights are recognized in legal and policy frameworks, how they are implemented in practice, and how to include marginalized groups. In 2018–2019, we engaged in collaborative exploratory research on governing natural resources for food sovereignty with social movement networks, human rights lawyers and academics in West and East Africa. In this article, we reflect on the process and methods applied to identify research gaps and partners (i.e., two field visits and regional participatory workshops in Mali and Uganda), with a view to share lessons learned. In current debates on the recognition and protection of collective rights to land and resources, we found there is a need for more clarity and documentation, with customary land being privatized and norms rapidly changing. Further, the voices of women and youth are lacking in communal land governance. This process led to collaborative research with peasant and pastoralist organizations in Kenya, Tanzania, Mali and Guinea, with the aim to achieve greater self-determination and participation of women and youth in communal land governance, through capacity building, participatory research, horizontal dialogues and action for social change.

Keywords: gender, women and youth, communal land governance, right to land, collective rights, Participatory Action Research, transdisciplinary approach, COVID-19, West and East Africa, constituencies

Topics: Age, Youth, Gender, Gendered Discourses, Women, Governance, Land Tenure, Rights, Land Rights Regions: Africa, East Africa, West Africa Countries: Guinea, Kenya, Mali, Tanzania, Uganda

Year: 2020

Reclaiming Peoples’ Power in Copenhagen 2009: A Victory for Ecosocialist Ecofeminism


Kaara, Wahu. 2010. “Reclaiming Peoples’ Power in Copenhagen 2009: A Victory for Ecosocialist Ecofeminism.” Capitalism Nature Socialism 21 (2): 107–11.

Author: Wahu Kaara


The article describes the contribution of African women to ecosocialism. The authors argue that the 2009 Copenhagen Conference represents the recognition that the collapsing patriarchal market economy owes humanity an economic debt, and owes the planet an ecological and climate debt. The author compares the status of the police forces in Kenya and Denmark, since both uphold the bankrupt system of neoliberalism.

Keywords: females, socialism, human ecology, protest movements

Topics: Economies, Environment, Feminisms, Ecofeminism, Gender, Women Regions: Africa, East Africa, Europe, Nordic states, Northern Europe Countries: Denmark, Kenya

Year: 2010

Whose Feminism(s)? Overseas Partner Organizations’ Perceptions of Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy


Rao, Sheila, and Rebecca Tiessen. 2020. “Whose Feminism(s)? Overseas Partner Organizations’ Perceptions of Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy. International Journal 75 (3): 349–66.

Authors: Sheila Rao, Rebecca Tiessen


Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy, introduced in 2017, is an ambitious and forward-thinking policy focussed on gender equality and women’s empowerment. The emphasis on a feminist vision, however, raises questions about how feminism is defined and interpreted by Canada’s partners in the Global South. In this article, we examine the interpretations of feminism(s) and a feminist foreign policy from the perspective of NGO staff members in East and Southern Africa. The research involved interviews with 45 Global South partner country NGO staff members in three countries (Kenya, Uganda, and Malawi). We consider the partner organization reflections on Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy using a transnational feminist lens. Our findings provide insights into future considerations for Canada’s feminist foreign policy priorities, consultations, and programme design. 

Keywords: feminist foreign assistance policy, partnerships, gender equality, Canadian Aid

Topics: Feminisms, Feminist Foreign Policy, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality Regions: Africa, East Africa, Southern Africa, Americas, North America Countries: Canada, Kenya, Malawi, Uganda

Year: 2020

Local Institutions and Smallholder Women’s Access to Land Resources in Semi-Arid Kenya


Po, June Y. T., and Gordon M. Hickey. 2018. “Local Institutions and Smallholder Women’s Access to Land Resources in Semi-Arid Kenya.” Land Use Policy 76: 252–63.

Authors: June Y. T. Po, Gordon M. Hickey


Land is a critical resource in smallholder farming systems, access to which is guided by complex interpretations of local norms, customary values, and statutory laws. This study explores how smallholder women access land resources under local institutions in semi-arid Kenya following a major constitutional reform on land succession passed in 2010. We draw on social relations approach, access theory, and social-ecological resilience thinking to examine Kamba women’s access to land resources using qualitative data collected through in-depth key informant interviews (n = 77), twelve focus group discussions (n = 134), and eight community meetings (n = 363). Results show that although some women were aware of their rights to inherit and own land, Kamba women were generally reluctant to claim land resources through local customary institutions and/or land registration processes. This stemmed from a desire to maintain gender dynamics within the household and to maintain their current relational access to land and other livelihood resources. Women, as daughters, sisters, wives, mothers, grandmothers, divorcée and widows, were found to face vastly different pressures in land resource access. They reported using relational access mechanisms to cope with, and adapt to, land resource constraints. When combined with rights-based mechanisms of access, women could better secure future generations’ land resource access, especially in cases of skipped-generational households.

Topics: Agriculture, Gender, Women, Households, Land Tenure, Rights, Land Rights Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Kenya

Year: 2018

The Making of a ‘Charismatic’ Carbon Credit: Clean Cookstoves and ‘Uncooperative’ Women in Western Kenya


Wang, Yiting, and Catherine Corson. 2015. “The Making of a ‘Charismatic’ Carbon Credit: Clean Cookstoves and ‘Uncooperative’ Women in Western Kenya.” Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space 47 (10): 2064–79.

Authors: Yiting Wang, Catherine Corson


The Kyoto Protocol under the United Nations Convention on Climate Change first legitimized state-to-state carbon trading in 1997 with the goal of cost-effectively reducing carbon emissions. Voluntary carbon markets for private trading have emerged since, often claimed by their proponents to pioneer innovative projects that reduce poverty as well as carbon emissions. We use the case of a cookstove project, financed by the carbon emissions reductions generated when rural Kenyan women switch from traditional to energy-efficient cookstoves, to illuminate the complex process through which ‘charismatic’ pro-poor carbon offsets are produced. We highlight the role of women's labor in creating the initial carbon emissions reductions, which then become tradable virtual commodities through a series of studies to measure and verify the associated carbon savings, as well as the signing of a contract that transfers the property rights to the verified savings from the stove user to an international nonprofit carbon credit developer. We argue that, while introducing some improvements in cooking time, smoke level, and labor, the improved cookstove carbon offset ultimately constitutes a gendered, ongoing accumulation by decarbonization that, by securing the means of future wealth that could be generated from the project for investors in the Global North, marginalizes rural Kenyan women.

Keywords: cookstoves, gender, carbon trading, foreign aid, Kenya

Topics: Development, Economies, Environment, Climate Change, Gender, Women, Infrastructure, Energy, International Law Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Kenya

Year: 2015

Climate Change Adaptation and Women's Land Rights in Uganda and Kenya: Creating Legal Pathways for Building the Resilience of Women


Kabaseke, Charlotte. 2020. “Climate Change Adaptation and Women's Land Rights in Uganda and Kenya: Creating Legal Pathways for Building the Resilience of Women.” Gender & Behavior 18 (2): 15458–5475.

Author: Charlotte Kabaseke


Climate change poses a considerable threat for women in developing countries due to their unique vulnerabilities. In East Africa, women largely depend on land for their livelihood. They are responsible for generative tasks, among others, food and energy supply for their households and are involved in 70 % of agricultural production and labour, yet they have limited land rights. Whereas the law at international, regional (Africa), Sub - regional (East African) and national levels guarantees women's right to land ownership, women still have limited access, use, control and ownership of land. This is mainly due to the deep rooted patriarchal society and cultural practices and beliefs. As a result, women are unable to use the land to invest in lasting adaptation measures. This paper analyses the connection between land rights of women and climate change adaptation in Uganda and Kenya and how existing law and policy respond to the normative gaps and practices in respect to land rights of women. The paper examines the legal provisions on women's rights to land at the international, regional, sub-regional and national levels to identify state compliance with the legal provisions in respect to women's land rights. The paper argues that whereas the law guarantees women's land rights, there has been a problem of implementation due to cultural barriers and stereotypes. This article is primarily a desk study where descriptive and analytical methods are used. The doctrinal research approach is employed, where a review of the legal framework on the land rights of women at international, regional, sub regional and national levels is done. Secondary data on women's land rights and their role in enhancing women's adaptive capacity and resilience is reviewed. The article reveals that ensuring women's land rights is key in enhancing their adaptive capacity, hence strengthening their resilience. 

Topics: Agriculture, Environment, Climate Change, Gender, Gender Roles, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Livelihoods, Rights, Land Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Kenya, Uganda

Year: 2020

Women’s Experiences of Peacebuilding in Violence-Affected Communities in Kenya


Mueller-Hirth, Natascha. 2019. “Women’s Experiences of Peacebuilding in Violence-Affected Communities in Kenya.” Third World Quarterly 40 (1): 163–79.

Author: Natascha Mueller-Hirth


Despite the attention to gender and conflict in empirical positivist peace research, and the interest in local agency in recent peacebuilding literature, women’s understandings and lived experiences of peacebuilding are not necessarily well accounted for. This article, drawing on interviews, focus groups and observation research with 57 female victims/ survivors of post-election violence in Kenya, provides an ethnographic study of women’s largely informal peacebuilding activities, ranging from mediation and dialogue to economic empowerment. It analyses women’s constructions and ways of making sense of being peacebuilders, demonstrating that, while participants employed dominant gender frames, they exerted considerable transformative agency in their communities. It argues that their ‘gendered responsibility for peace’ at community level is simultaneously empowering and disempowering. The research aims to increase understanding of the gendered nature of peacebuilding and the ways in which women exercise peacebuilding agency through a focus on their own voices and lived experiences.

Keywords: gender, peacebuilding, women, Kenya, political violence, post-election violence

Topics: Gender, Gender Analysis, Women, Governance, Elections, Peacebuilding, Political Participation Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Kenya

Year: 2019

The Question of Gender and Human Security in Africa’s Extractive Industries


Andrews, Nathan, and Charis Enns. 2020. "The Question of Gender and Human Security in Africa’s Extractive Industries." In The Palgrave Handbook of African Political Economy, edited by Toyin Falola and Samuel Ojo Oloruntoba, 725-37. Cham, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing.

Authors: Nathan Andrews, Charis Enns


The growing presence of extractive companies in rural and remote spaces across sub-Saharan Africa has been an important subject of public and academic debate. Yet, these debates have often been ‘gender-free’, neglecting to consider the relationship between the presence of extractive companies and the everyday and structural violence experienced by women in local communities. In this chapter, we argue that the security threats created by intensifying extractive activities in these areas are often gendered. Drawing upon fieldwork data collected in Ghana and Kenya between January 2013 and March 2015, the chapter raises concerns about the lack of adequate policy responses to the gendered implications of resource extraction and associated insecurity, despite growing evidence that extractive activities have differential impacts across gender identities. While many local-level security challenges relating to resource extraction have been elevated into the realm of international security concerns, the real and pressing gendered security threats caused by extractive activities have yet to be widely acknowledged by international actors. Thus, our analysis of the gendered threats to human security created by extractive companies at the local level draws attention to inequalities in the human security agenda at both local and global levels, as well as in both theory and in practice.

Topics: Extractive Industries, Gender, Women, International Organizations, Security, Violence Regions: Africa, East Africa, West Africa Countries: Ghana, Kenya

Year: 2020

Analysis of Gender Parity in Climate Change Adaptation Actions within Kajiado and Kiambu Counties, Kenya


Nunow, Abdimajid, Nzioka John Muthama, Josiah Kinama. 2020. “Analysis of Gender Parity in Climate Change Adaptation Actions within Kajiado and Kiambu Counties, Kenya.” East African Journal of Science Technology and Innovation 1(2).

Authors: Abdimajid Nunow, Nzioka John Muthama, Josiah Kinama


Kenya remains susceptible to climate change due to the dependence on rain-fed agriculture with limited climate change adaptation capacity. This study sought to establish the influence of gender roles on climate change adaptation in two different ago-climatic zones namely, Kajiado East and Central within Kajiado County in the arid part of Kenya and Kabete and Kikuyu within Kiambu County in the highlands region. A survey was conducted on 312 households, six gendered focus group discussions, and fourteen key informant interviews. Frequency analysis was used for descriptive statistics. Chi-square was used to test for statistical associations between variables (p≤0.05). The findings showed that Kajiado County has experienced more climate change-related household food insecurity in comparison to Kiambu County. Only 12% of the respondents in Kiambu County indicated having experienced extreme household food insecurity related to climate change. The findings showed 66% of the respondents in Kajiado County considered herd mobility as the most important climate change adaptation strategy while in Kiambu 56% of the respondents considered changing of planting dates as the most important climate change adaptation strategy. Frequency analysis results indicated that there is more gender disparity in Kajiado than Kiambu County as shown by women having the least access and control over household land in both the rainy and extended drought periods. The gender disparity was confirmed by the chi-square test. Chi-square test results for full control of household land during the extended drought season in Kajiado county was (c2= 102.3, df = p≤ 0.1). It was concluded that the autonomous nature of the adaptation strategies coupled with the influence of gender roles impedes achieving effective climate change adaptation strategies at the household level. There is a need for planned gender-sensitive adaptation actions to cushion local communities against climate change and enhance household food security.

Keywords: adaptation, climate change, gender, Kajiado, Kiambu

Topics: Agriculture, Environment, Climate Change, Gender, Gender Roles, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Households, Security, Food Security Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Kenya

Year: 2020


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