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Malawi

‘Spaces of Exclusion’ in Community Water Governance: a Feminist Political Ecology of Gender and Participation in Malawi’s Urban Water User Associations

Citation:

Adams, Ellis Adjei, Luke Juran, and Idowu Ajibade. 2018. “‘Spaces of Exclusion’ in Community Water Governance: a Feminist Political Ecology of Gender and Participation in Malawi’s Urban Water User Associations.” Geoforum. doi: 10.1016/j.geoforum.2018.06.016

Authors: Ellis Adjei Adams, Luke Juran, Idowu Ajibade

Abstract:

Much of the literature on gender dimensions of community-based water governance focuses on irrigation systems in rural areas. Largely overlooked is how gender dynamics influence participation in community-based urban water governance systems. To address this gap, we use insights from Feminist Political Ecology (FPE) to examine whether and how community-based governance of drinking water in an urban context leads to (in) equitable gender participation and decision making. Using household surveys (n = 415), key informant interviews (n = 19), focus-group discussions (n = 14), we explore gender dynamics and power relations underpinning participation, decision making processes, and employment and benefit sharing arrangements among Water User Associations (WUAs) in the urban informal settlements of Lilongwe, Malawi. We find that WUAs do not guarantee equitable gender participation. Rather, inequitable participation is simply reified through: (1) gendered representation in WUA structures; (2) socio-cultural practices and women’s self-exclusion; and (3) community micro-politics and power relations. Our findings contradict the notion that community-based governance of water leads to equitable participation and empowerment of women. The policy implications are that without systematic efforts to incorporate women’s needs, interests, and voices, so-called participatory approaches to water governance will only serve to suppress women’s agency and reinforce existing gender-based inequalities. Future work will explore the pathways to women’s leadership in the WUAs and interrogate how women on the board and executive committees navigate their way up the hierarchy, their experiences in a male-dominated water governance scheme and their recommendations for how WUAs can improve women’s participation.

Keywords: feminist political ecology, water users associations, gender, participation, urban water governance, Malawi

Topics: Feminisms, Feminist Political Ecology, Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equity, Governance, Infrastructure, Water & Sanitation Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: Malawi

Year: 2018

Understanding Gender Dimensions of Climate-Smart Agriculture Adoption in Disaster-Prone Smallholder Farming Communities in Malawi and Zambia

Citation:

Khoza, Sizwile, Dewald Van Niekerk, and Livhuwani David Nemakonde. 2019. "Understanding Gender Dimensions of Climate-Smart Agriculture Adoption in Disaster-Prone Smallholder Farming Communities in Malawi and Zambia." Disaster Prevention and Management 28 (5): 530-47.

Authors: Sizwile Khoza, Dewald Van Niekerk, Livhuwani David Nemakonde

Abstract:

Purpose – Through the application of traditional and contemporary feminist theories in gender mainstreaming, the purpose of this paper is to contribute to emergent debate on gender dimensions in climate-smart agriculture (CSA) adoption by smallholder farmers in disaster-prone regions. This is important to ensure that CSA strategies are tailored to farmer-specific gender equality goals. 
 
Design/methodology/approach – An exploratory-sequential mixed methods research design which is qualitatively biased was applied. Key informant interviews and farmer focus group discussions in two study sites formed initial qualitative phase whose findings were explored in a quantitative cross-sectional household survey. 
 
Findings – Findings shared in this paper indicate the predominant application of traditional gender mainstreaming approaches in CSA focusing on parochial gender dichotomy. Qualitative findings highlight perceptions that western gender approaches are not fully applicable to local contexts and realities, with gender mainstreaming in CSA seemingly to fulfil donor requirements, and ignorant of the heterogeneous nature of social groups. Quantitative findings establish that married men are majority adopters and nonadopters of CSA, while dis-adopters are predominantly de jure female household heads. The latter are more likely to adopt CSA than married women whose main role in CSA is implementers of spouse’s decisions. Access to education, intra-household power relations, productive asset and land ownership are socio-cultural dynamics shaping farmer profiles. 
 
Originality/value – By incorporating African feminisms and intersectionality in CSA, value of this study lies in recommending gender policy reforms incorporating local gender contexts within the African socio-cultural milieu. This paper accentuates potential benefits of innovative blend of both contemporary and classic gender mainstreaming approaches in CSA research, practice and technology development in disaster-prone regions.

Keywords: agriculture, climate change adaptation, DRR, climate-smart agriculture adoption, gender and DRRM, gender policy

Topics: Agriculture, Education, Environment, Climate Change, Feminisms, Gender Mainstreaming, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Households, Intersectionality Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: Malawi, Zambia

Year: 2019

A Cost-Benefit Analysis of Climate-Smart Agriculture Options in Southern Africa: Balancing Gender and Technology

Citation:

Mutenje, Munyaradzi Junia, Cathy Rozel Farnworth, Clare Stirling, Christian Thierfelder, Walter Mupangwa, and Isaiah Nyagumbo. 2019. "A Cost-Benefit Analysis of Climate-Smart Agriculture Options in Southern Africa: Balancing Gender and Technology." Ecological Economics 163: 126-37.

Authors: Munyaradzi Junia Mutenje, Cathy Rozel Farnworth, Clare Stirling, Christian Thierfelder, Walter Mupangwa, Isaiah Nyagumbo

Abstract:

Climate change and extreme weather events undermine smallholder household food and income security in southern Africa. Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) technologies comprise a suite of interventions that aim to sustainably increase productivity whilst helping farmers adapt their farming systems to climate change and to manage risk more effectively. Cost-benefit analysis (CBA) and a mixed methods approach were used to assess the likelihood of investment in various CSA technology combinations. The data were drawn respectively from 1440, 696, and 1448 sample households in Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia, covering 3622, 2106 and 5212 maize-legume plots in these countries over two years. The cost-benefit analysis and stochastic dominance results showed that CSA options that combined soil and water conservation management practices based on the principles of conservation agriculture (CA), improved varieties, and associations of cereal-legume crop species were economically viable and worth implementing for risk averse smallholder farmers. A dynamic mixed multinomial logit demonstrated that women's bargaining power, drought shock, and access to CSA technology information positively influenced the probability of investing in CSA technology combinations. This study provides evidence of the importance of cultural context, social relevance and intra-household decision-making in tailoring suitable combinations of CSA for smallholder farmers in southern Africa.

Keywords: gender, intra-household decision-making, climate-smart agriculture, cost-benefit analysis, Southern Africa

Topics: Agriculture, Environment, Climate Change, Gender, Women, Households, Security, Food Security Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia

Year: 2019

Gender, Agriculture and Agrarian Transformations: Changing Relations in Africa, Latin America and Asia

Citation:

Sachs, Carolyn E., ed. 2019. Gender, Agriculture and Agrarian Transformations: Changing Relations in Africa, Latin America and Asia. Abingdon: Routledge.

Author: Carolyn E. Sachs

Annotation:

Summary:
This book presents research from across the globe on how gender relationships in agriculture are changing.
 
In many regions of the world, agricultural transformations are occurring through increased commodification, new value-chains, technological innovations introduced by CGIAR and other development interventions, declining viability of small-holder agriculture livelihoods, male out-migration from rural areas, and climate change. This book addresses how these changes involve fluctuations in gendered labour and decision making on farms and in agriculture and, in many places, have resulted in the feminization of agriculture at a time of unprecedented climate change. Chapters uncover both how women successfully innovate and how they remain disadvantaged when compared to men in terms of access to land, labor, capital and markets that would enable them to succeed in agriculture. Building on case studies from Africa, Latin America and Asia, the book interrogates how new agricultural innovations from agricultural research, new technologies and value chains reshape gender relations.
 
Using new methodological approaches and intersectional analyses, this book will be of great interest to students and scholars of agriculture, gender, sustainable development and environmental studies more generally. (Summary from Routledge)
 
Table of Contents
1. Gender, Agriculture and Agrarian Transformations
Carolyn Sachs
 
2. The Implications of Gender Relations for Modern Approaches to Crop Improvement and Plant Breeding
Jacqueline Ashby and Vivian Polar
 
3. Change in the Making: 1970s and 1980s Building Stones to Gender Integration in CGIAR Agricultural Research
Margreet van der Burg
 
4. How to Do Gender Research? Feminist Perspectives on Gender Research in Agriculture
Ann R. Tickamyer and Kathleen Sexsmith
 
5. Intersectionality at the Gender-Agriculture Nexus: Relational Life Histories and Additative Sex-Disaggregated Indices
Stephanie Leder and Carolyn Sachs
 
6. Diversity of Small-Scale Maize Farmers in the Western Highlands of Guatemala: Integrating Gender into Farm Typologies
Tania Carolina Camacho-Villa, Luis Barba-Escoto, Juan Burgueño-Ferreira, Ann Tickamyer, Leland Glenna, and Santiago López-Ridaura
 
7. "A Bird Locked in a Cage:" Hmong Young Women’s Lives After Marriage in Northern Vietnam
Nozomi Kawarazuka, Nguyen Thi Van Anh, Vu Xuan Thai and Pham Huu Thuong
 
8. Defeminizing Effect: How Improved Dairy Technology Adoption Affected Women's and Men's Time Allocation and Milk Income Share in Ethiopia
Birhanu Megersa Lenjiso
 
9. Implementing "Gender Equity" in Livestock Interventions: Caught between Patriarchy and Paternalism?
Katie Tavenner and Todd A. Crane
 
10. Implications of Agricultural Innovations on Gender Norms: Gender Approaches in Aquatic Agriculture in Bangladesh
Lemlem Aregu, Afrina Choudhury, Surendran Rajaratnam, Margreet van der Burg, and Cynthia McDougall
 
11. Permanently Seasonal Workers: Gendered Labor Relations and Working Conditions of Asparagus Agricultural Workers in Ica, Perú
María del Rosario Castro Bernardini
 
12. Gender Equality and Trees on Farms: Considerations for Implementation of Climate-Smart Agriculture
Tatiana Gumucio, Diksha Arora, Jennifer Twyman, Ann Tickamyer, and Monica Clavijo
 
13. Kinship Structures, Gender, and Groundnut Productivity in Malawi
Edward Bikketi, Esther Njuguna-Mungai, Leif Jensen, and Edna Johnny
 
14. Changes in Participation of Women in Rice Value Chains: Implications for Control over Decision-Making
Sujata Ganguly, Leif Jensen, Samarendu Mohanty, Sugandha Munshi, Arindam Samaddar, Swati Nayak, and Prakashan Cehllattan Veettil

Topics: Class, Agriculture, Displacement & Migration, Environment, Climate Change, Ethnicity, Feminisms, Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Livelihoods Regions: Africa, East Africa, Southern Africa, Americas, Central America, South America, Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia Countries: Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Malawi, Peru, Vietnam

Year: 2019

Food Security in Rural Sub-Saharan Africa: Exploring the Nexus between Gender, Geography and Off-Farm Employment

Citation:

Dzanku, Fred Mawunyo. 2019. “Food Security in Rural Sub-Saharan Africa: Exploring the Nexus between Gender, Geography and Off-Farm Employment.” World Development 113: 26–43.

Author: Fred Mawunyo Dzanku

Abstract:

How to eradicate hunger and achieve food security remains a key developmental issue, particular in countries south of the Sahara. Most of the empirical literature focuses on agriculture-based interventions although it is well known that rural households have a gamut of income generating activities that constitute their livelihood. This article uses panel data for six African countries to examine the association between off-farm income and household food security and tests key hypotheses that have not been previously explored. We hypothesize that the association between food security and off-farm income is neither gender-neutral nor the same for households living in low and high agroecological potential areas. Because a nontrivial number of households do not earn off-farm income, we also hypothesize that the food security effect of nonparticipation differs by gender and geography. The results show that although off-farm income has a strong statistically significant association with food security the correlation magnitudes are not as strong. However, off-farm income has a significantly stronger association with food security among female-headed and poor region households than it has among male-headed and rich region households in most countries. The gender-related result supports the notion that households tend to benefit more from women's greater control over resources than when such resources are controlled by men. We also show that nonparticipation in off-farm income is more costly, food security wise, for female-headed households and households who live in low agroecological potential regions than it is for male-headed households and those who live in high potential regions. The rural nonfarm sector in high agroecological potential areas tends to be associated with greater poverty reduction among female-headed households than among male-headed households. From a policy and development practice perspective, the results suggest that focusing rural development policies on factors that raise farm productivity alone (e.g., input subsidies) may not lead to gender-neutral welfare outcomes. This means that interventions such as rural nonfarm microcredit schemes that targets female-headed households or women in general could help achieve gender-equitable poverty reduction, as others have shown.

Keywords: Sub- Saharan Africa, off-farm employment, gender, geography, food security, panel data

Topics: Agriculture, Development, Economies, Poverty, Gender, Households, Livelihoods, Security, Food Security Regions: Africa, East Africa, Southern Africa, West Africa Countries: Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia

Year: 2019

The Convergence of HIV/AIDS and Customary Tenure on Women’s Access to Land in Rural Malawi

Citation:

Tschirharta, Naomi, Lucky Kabangab and Sue Nichol. 2015. “The Convergence of HIV/AIDS and Customary Tenure on Women’s Access to Land in Rural Malawi.” SAHARA-J: Journal of Social Aspects of HIV/AIDS 12 (1): 134-46.

Authors: Naomi Tschirharta, Lucky Kabangab, Sue Nichol

Abstract:

This paper examines the convergence of HIV/AIDS and the social processes through which women access customary land in rural Malawi. Data were collected from focus group discussions with women in patrilineal and matrilineal communities. Women’s land tenure is primarily determined through kinship group membership, customary inheritance practices and location of residence. In patrilineal communities, land is inherited through the male lineage and women access land through relationships with male members who are the rightful heirs. Conversely in matrilineal matrilocal communities, women as daughters directly inherit the land. This research found that in patrilineal communities, HIV/AIDS, gendered inequalities embedded in customary inheritance practices and resource shortages combine to affect women’s access to land. HIV/AIDS may cause the termination of a woman’s relationship with the access individual due to stigma or the individual’s death. Termination of such relationships increases tenure insecurity for women accessing land in a community where they do not have inheritance rights. In contrast to the patrilineal patrilocal experience, research on matrilineal matrilocal communities demonstrates that where women are the inheritors of the land and have robust land tenure rights, they are not at risk of losing their access to land due to HIV/AIDS.

Keywords: HIV/AIDS, land rights, women, customary, matrilineal, patrilineal, Droits de la terre, VIH/sida, coutumier, femmes, matrilinéaires, patrilinéaires

Annotation:

Topics: Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Hierarchies, Gender Equality/Inequality, Land Tenure, Health, HIV/AIDS, Rights, Land Rights, Property Rights Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: Malawi

Year: 2015

Smallholder Farmers and Climate Smart Agriculture: Technology and Labor-Productivity Constraints amongst Women Smallholders in Malawi

Citation:

Murray, Una, Zewdy Gebremedhin, Galina Brychkova, and Charles Spillane. 2016. "Smallholder Farmers and Climate Smart Agriculture: Technology and Labor-Productivity Constraints amongst Women Smallholders in Malawi." Gender, Technology and Development 20 (2): 117-48. 

Authors: Una Murray, Zewdy Gebremedhin, Galina Brychkova, Charles Spillane

Abstract:

Climate change and variability present a major challenge to agricultural production and rural livelihoods, including livelihoods of women small- holder farmers. There are significant efforts underway to develop, deploy, and scale up Climate-Smart Agricultural (CSA) practices and technologies to facilitate climate change adaptation for farmers. However, there is a need for gender analysis of CSA practices across different farming and cultural systems to facilitate adoption by, and livelihood improvements for, women smallholder farmers. Climate change poses challenges for maintaining and improving agricultural and labor productivity of women smallholder farmers. The labor productivity of many women smallholders is constrained by lack of access to labor-saving technologies and the most basic of farm tools. Poorer smallholders face a poverty trap, due to low agricultural and labor productivity, from which they cannot easily escape without access to key resources such as rural energy and labor- saving technologies. In Malawi, the agricultural system is predominantly rainfed and largely composed of smallholders who remain vulnerable to climate change and variability shocks. Despite the aspirations of women smallholders to engage in CSA, our research highlights that many women smallholders have either limited or no access to basic agricultural tools, transport, and rural energy. This raises the question of whether the future livelihood scenarios for such farmers will consist of barely surviving or “hanging in”; or whether such farmers can “step up” to adapt better to future climate constraints; or whether more of these farmers will “step out” of agriculture. We argue that for women smallholder farmers to become more climate change resilient, more serious attention to gender analysis is needed to address their constraints in accessing basic agricultural technologies, combined with participatory approaches to develop and adapt CSA tools and technologies to their needs in future climates and agro-ecologies.

Keywords: climate change, women smallholders, labor productivity, participatory technology design, agriculture, economic growth

Topics: Agriculture, Economies, Poverty, Environment, Climate Change, Gender, Women, Gender Analysis, Livelihoods Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: Malawi

Year: 2016

'Gender Hates Men': Untangling Gender and Development Discourses in Food Security Fieldwork in Urban Malawi

Citation:

Riley, Liam, and Belinda Dodson. 2016. “‘Gender Hates Men’: Untangling Gender and Development Discourses in Food Security Fieldwork in Urban Malawi.” Gender, Place & Culture 23 (7): 1047-60.

Authors: Liam Riley, Belinda Dodson

Abstract:

This article examines the social construction and contestation of gender and gender roles in the city of Blantyre in Malawi. In fieldwork on gendered household roles related to food security, interviews with men and women revealed a distinct set of connotations with the word gender, which reflected Malawians’ historical and contemporary engagement with concepts of development, modernity, and human rights. We denote the Malawian concept of gender as gender in order to distinguish the word participants used in interviews from the more widely accepted conventional definition. We then use this distinction to highlight the ways in which ideas of gender equality have been introduced and received in the Malawian context. The urban setting of the research is key to drawing out the association of gender with Westernization, bringing into focus the power dynamics inherent in the project of translating global discourses of gender rights and gender equality into meaningful social change in developing countries. Gender in Malawi denotes a top-down (and outside-in) process of framing Malawi’s goals for gender equality. This creates political constraints both in the form of resistance to gender, because it resonates with a long history of social change imposed by outside forces, and in the form of superficial adherence to gender to appear more urban and modern, especially to a Western researcher. Local understandings of gender as gender undermine efforts to promote gender equality as a means to address Malawi’s intense urban poverty and household food insecurity.

Keywords: gender, development, postcolonial feminism, urban, qualitative research, Malawi

Topics: Development, Gender, Gender Roles, Gendered Discourses, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Households, Security, Food Security Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: Malawi

Year: 2016

Cook, Eat, Man, Woman: Understanding the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, Nutritionism and Its Alternatives from Malawi

Citation:

Patel, Raj, Rachel Bezner Kerr, Lizzie Shumba, and Laifolo Dakishoni. 2015. “Cook, Eat, Man, Woman: Understanding the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, Nutritionism and Its Alternatives from Malawi.” The Journal of Peasant Studies 42 (1): 21-44.

Authors: Raj Patel, Rachel Bezner Kerr, Lizzie Shumba, Laifolo Dakishoni

Abstract:

The Group of Eight Countries (G8) launched the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition to improve nutritional outcomes through private sector involvement in agricultural development. The accession of Malawi to the Alliance reveals the assumptions behind the intervention. We show that while the New Alliance may seem to have little to do with nutrition, its emergence as a frame for the privatization of food and agriculture has been decades in the making, and is best understood as an outcome of a project of nutritionism. To highlight the failings of the approach, we present findings from the Soils, Food and Healthy Communities Initiative in northern Malawi, which has demonstrated success in combatting malnutrition through a combination of agroecological farming practices, community mobilization, women’s empowerment and changes in intrahousehold gender dynamics. Contrasting a political economic analysis of the New Alliance alongside that of the Soils, Food and Healthy Communities Initiative shows the difference between a concern with the gendered social context of malnutrition, and nutritionism. We conclude with an analysis of the ways that nutrition can play a part in interventions that are inimical, or conducive, to freedom. 

Keywords: New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, agroecology, nutritionism, gender, Malawi, africa, food security, food sovereignty

Topics: Agriculture, Development, Gender, Political Economies, Privatization, Security, Food Security Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: Malawi

Year: 2015

The Role of Gender Norms in Access to Agricultural Training in Chikwawa and Phalombe, Malawi

Citation:

Mudege, Netsayi N., Norita Mdege, Putri E. Abidin, and Sandra Bhatasara. 2017. “The Role of Gender Norms in Access to Agricultural Training in Chikwawa and Phalombe, Malawi.” Gender, Place & Culture 24 (12): 1689-710.

Authors: Netsayi N. Mudege, Norita Mdege, Putri E. Abidin, Sandra Bhatasara

Abstract:

Based on qualitative research conducted in Chikwawa and Phalombe in Malawi, this article discusses how gender relations shape men and women’s access to and participation in agricultural training. It also examines how men and women justify or challenge gender inequalities in relation to access to agricultural information and knowledge. Data on gender and recruitment to and participation in training, barriers to training and access to information as well as farmer to farmer extension models were collected and analysed. A gender relations approach, focusing on power and inequality, was used to analyse the data. The data shows that the perception of men as household heads and women as carers or helpers who are also illiterate and ignorant often has implications on women’s ability to access training and information. Negative stereotypical perceptions about women by their husbands and extension workers militate against women’s access to training and information. Institutional biases within extension systems reproduce gender inequality by reinforcing stereotypical gender norms. Extension officers should be targeted with training on gender responsive adult learning methodologies and gender awareness to help them be more inclusive and sensitive to women’s needs.

Keywords: agriculture, extension, gender, gender relations, Malawi

Topics: Agriculture, Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Livelihoods Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: Malawi

Year: 2017

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