Central Africa

Social and Economic Development of Rural Women in Uganda Using Solar Energy for Productive Use


LaBiche, Monica, and Sherina Munyana. 2017. “Social and Economic Development of Rural Women in Uganda Using Solar Energy for Productive Use.” Paper presented at 2017 IEEE Global Humanitarian Technology Conference, San Jose, CA, October 19-22.

Authors: Monica LaBiche, Sherina Munyana


Agriculture is the backbone of African economies, especially in rural areas where over 70% of people rely on subsistence farming for their livelihood. In Rwanda and Uganda, where Africa Development Promise (ADP) works, 90% of economically active women work in the agricultural sector. Overall women work more and longer hours compared to men because of additional household responsibilities such as preparing food, collecting fuelwood and water. This time deficit leaves no time for education or productive endeavors. The paper argues that access to new technologies that save time, especially tedious and laborious work, can have a significant positive impact on women’s efficiency, productivity and income-generating potential. It shares ADP’s shift from a single-entry economic development approach to a holistic approach that incorporates access to solar energy to support women’s economic endeavors. The paper is shared with organizations addressing similar challenges, but more importantly to seek feedback from development practitioners.

Topics: Agriculture, Education, Gender, Households, Infrastructure, Energy, Livelihoods Regions: Africa, Central Africa, East Africa Countries: Rwanda, Uganda

Year: 2017

A Political Ecology of Women, Water and Global Environmental Change


Buechler, Stephanie, and Anne-Marie S. Hanson, eds. 2015. A Political Ecology of Women, Water and Global Environmental Change. New York: Routledge.

Authors: Stephanie Buechler, ed. , Anne-Marie S. Hanson, ed.


This edited volume explores how a feminist political ecology framework can bring fresh insights to the study of rural and urban livelihoods dependent on vulnerable rivers, lakes, watersheds, wetlands and coastal environments. Bringing together political ecologists and feminist scholars from multiple disciplines, the book develops solution-oriented advances to theory, policy and planning to tackle the complexity of these global environmental changes. Using applied research on the contemporary management of groundwater, springs, rivers, lakes, watersheds and coastal wetlands in Central and South Asia, Northern, Central and Southern Africa, and South and North America, the authors draw on a variety of methodological perspectives and new theoretical approaches to demonstrate the importance of considering multiple layers of social difference as produced by and central to the effective governance and local management of water resources. This unique collection employs a unifying feminist political ecology framework that emphasizes the ways that gender interacts with other social and geographical locations of water resource users. In doing so, the book further questions the normative gender discourses that underlie policies and practices surrounding rural and urban water management and climate change, water pollution, large-scale development and dams, water for crop and livestock production and processing, resource knowledge and expertise, and critical livelihood studies. This book will be of interest to students and scholars of environmental studies, development studies, feminist and environmental geography, anthropology, sociology, environmental philosophy, public policy, planning, media studies, Latin American and other area studies, as well as women’s and gender studies. (Summary from Routledge)
Table of Contents: 
1. Introduction: Towards a Feminist Political Ecology of Women, Global Change and Vulnerable Waterscapes

Anne-Marie Hanson and Stephanie Buechler

2. Interrogating Large-Scale Development and Inequality in Lesotho: Bridging Feminist Political Ecology, Intersectionality and Environmental Justice Frameworks
Yvonne Braun

3. The Silent (and Gendered) Violence: Understanding Water Access in Mining Areas
Kuntala Lahiri-Dutt

4. Urban Water Visibility in Los Angeles: Legibility and Access for All
Kathleen Kambic

5. Advances and Setbacks in Women’s Participation in Water Management in Brazil
Andrea Moraes

6. Climate-Water Challenges and Gendered Adaptation Strategies in Rayon, a Riparian Community in Sonora, Mexico
Stephanie Buechler

7. International Partnerships of Women for Sustainable Watershed Governance in Times of Climate Change
Patricia E. (Ellie) Perkins and Patricia Figuieredo Walker

8. Women’s Contributions to Climate Change Adaptation in Egypt’s Mubarak Resettlement Scheme through Cactus Cultivation and Adjusted Irrigation
Dina Najjar

9. Shoes in the Seaweed and Bottles on the Beach: Global Garbage and Women’s Oral Histories of Socio-Environmental Change in Coastal Yucatán
Anne-Marie Hanson

10. Heen Kas’ el’ti Zoo: Among the Ragged Lakes – Storytelling and Collaborative Water Research with Carcoss/Tagish First Nation (Yukon Territory, Canada)
Eleanor Hayman with Mark Wedge and Colleen James

11. Pamiri Women and the Melting Glaciers of Tajikistan: A Visual Knowledge Exchange for Improved Environmental Governance
Citt Williams and Ivan Golovnev

12. Conclusion: Advancing Disciplinary Scholarship on Gender, Water and Environmental Change through Feminist Political Ecology
Stephanie Buechler, Anne-Marie Hanson, Diana Liverman and Miriam Gay-Antaki

Topics: Agriculture, Environment, Climate Change, Feminisms, Feminist Political Ecology, Gender, Women, Infrastructure, Water & Sanitation, Intersectionality, Livelihoods Regions: Africa, MENA, Central Africa, North Africa, Southern Africa, Americas, North America, South America, Asia, Central Asia, Middle East, South Asia Countries: Brazil, Canada, Egypt, Lesotho, Mexico

Year: 2015

Land Grabbing: A Gendered Understanding of Perceptions and Reactions from Affected Communities in Nguti Subdivision of South West Cameroon


Ndi, Frankline A. 2019. “Land Grabbing: A Gendered Understanding of Perceptions and Reactions from Affected Communities in Nguti Subdivision of South West Cameroon.” Development Policy Review 37 (3): 348–66.

Author: Frankline A. Ndi


This article examines the political economic processes and gendered consequences involved in large‐scale land acquisition (LSLA ) in rural South West Cameroon. The study adopts a gender‐disaggregated approach to data collection to understand local perceptions and reactions to LSLA in the region. It shows how traditional cultural prescriptions have combined with contemporary land laws to masculinize power over land to the detriment of women. It argues that although men and women are both affected by LSLA projects, the impacts are much greater for women because what the state considers “empty land” is used by them to secure household food security. Second, it argues that amid societal discrimination over land‐ownership rights, perceived gender differences between men and women appear “rational” in the event of LSLA —men follow their ascribed roles in overt reactions, women being more covert and much less vocal in land‐related contests. New policies that promote rural women's land rights will not only empower them during land struggles, they will also provide communities with greater security to sustain ecologically viable livelihoods.

Keywords: Cameroon, feminist political ecology, gender perceptions and reactions, land grabbing, large-scale land acquisition, rural livelihoods

Topics: Gender, Masculinity/ies, Land Grabbing, Livelihoods, Political Economies, Rights, Land Rights, Women's Rights, Security, Food Security Regions: Africa, Central Africa Countries: Cameroon

Year: 2019

Health Services for Women, Children and Adolescents in Conflict Affected Settings: Experience from North and South Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo


Altare, Chiara, Espoir Bwenge Malembaka, Maphie Tosha, Christopher Hook, Hamady Ba, Stéphane Muzindusi Bikoro, Thea Scognamiglio, Hannah Tappis, Jerome Pfaffmann, Ghislain Bisimwa Balaluka, Ties Boerma, and Paul Spiegel. 2020. "Health Services for Women, Children and Adolescents in Conflict Affected Settings: Experience from North and South Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo." Conflict and Health 14.

Authors: Chiara Altare, Espoir Bwenge Malembaka, Maphie Tosha, Christopher Hook, Hamady Ba, Stéphane Muzindusi Bikoro, Thea Scognamiglio, Hannah Tappis, Jerome Pfaffmann, Ghislain Bisimwa Balaluka, Ties Boerma, Paul Spiegel


Background: Insecurity has characterized the Eastern regions of the Democratic Republic of Congo for decades. Providing health services to sustain women’s and children’s health during protracted conflict is challenging. This mixed-methods case study aimed to describe how reproductive, maternal, newborn, child, adolescent health and nutrition (RMNCAH+N) services have been offered in North and South Kivu since 2000 and how successful they were. 
Methods: We conducted a case study using a desk review of publicly available literature, secondary analysis of survey and health information system data, and primary qualitative interviews. The qualitative component provides insights on factors shaping RMNCAH+N design and implementation. We conducted 49 interviews with government officials, humanitarian agency staff and facility-based healthcare providers, and focus group discussions with community health workers in four health zones (Minova, Walungu, Ruanguba, Mweso). We applied framework analysis to investigate key themes across informants. The quantitative component used secondary data from nationwide surveys and the national health facility information system to estimate coverage of RMNCAH+N interventions at provincial and sub-provincial level. The association between insecurity on service provision was examined with random effects generalized least square models using health facility data from South Kivu. 
Results: Coverage of selected preventive RMNCAH+N interventions seems high in North and South Kivu, often higher than the national level. Health facility data show a small negative association of insecurity and preventive service coverage within provinces. However, health outcomes are poorer in conflict-affected territories than in stable ones. The main challenges to service provisions identified by study respondents are the availability and retention of skilled personnel, the lack of basic materials and equipment as well as the insufficient financial resources to ensure health workers’ regular payment, medicaments’ availability and facilities’ running costs. Insecurity exacerbates pre-existing challenges, but do not seem to represent the main barrier to service provision in North and South Kivu. 
Conclusions: Provision of preventive schedulable RMNCAH+N services has continued during intermittent conflict in North and South Kivu. The prolonged effort by non-governmental organizations and UN agencies to respond to humanitarian needs was likely key in maintaining intervention coverage despite conflict. Health actors and communities appear to have adapted to changing levels and nature of insecurity and developed strategies to ensure preventive services are provided and accessed. However, emergency non-schedulable RMNCAH+N interventions do not appear to be readily accessible. Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals will require increased access to life-saving interventions, especially for newborn and pregnant women.

Keywords: health services, health system, conflict, population displacement, North Kivu, South Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo, maternal, newborn, child, reproductive health

Topics: Age, Youth, Conflict, Gender, Women, Girls, Boys, Health, Reproductive Health, International Organizations, NGOs, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Regions: Africa, Central Africa Countries: Democratic Republic of the Congo

Year: 2020

Mainstreaming Gender in the Process of Large-Scale Land Acquisitions for Agro-Investment in Cameroon


Fonjong, Lotsmart. 2019. “Mainstreaming Gender in the Process of Large-Scale Land Acquisitions for Agro-Investment in Cameroon.” In Natural Resource Endowment and the Fallacy of Development in Cameroon, 215-42. Mankon, Bamenda: Langaa RPCIG.

Author: Lotsmart Fonjong

Topics: Agriculture, Gender, Gender Mainstreaming, Land Grabbing Regions: Africa, Central Africa Countries: Cameroon

Year: 2019

Left out but Not Backing down: Exploring Women’s Voices against Large-Scale Agro-Plantations in Cameroon


Fonjong, Lotsmart. 2017. “Left out but Not Backing Down: Exploring Women’s Voices against Large-Scale Agro-Plantations in Cameroon.” Development in Practice 27 (8): 1114–25.

Author: Lotsmart Fonjong


This article examines the situation of women around agro-plantations which have taken over their farmlands in the South-West Region of Cameroon through large-scale land acquisitions, and how they have sought popular redress. Based on a survey and focus group discussion among affected women, the findings revealed that women are generally left out of large-scale land acquisition processes. They complained of displacement from their farms and traditional forest resources, which has negative effects on their livelihoods and lifestyles. Despite women’s constrained situation, they have risen collectively against marginalisation, failed promises, and injustices through protests and defiance, achieving some successes in their demands for recognition and compensation.

Cet article examine la situation des femmes dont les terres agricoles ont été acquises par les plantations agro-industrielles lors d'acquisitions foncières à grande échelle dans la Région Sud-Ouest du Cameroun, et comment elles ont cherché à obtenir réparation. Basés sur une enquête et des groupes de discussion thématique, les résultats ont révélé que les femmes concernées sont généralement exclues des processus d'acquisition foncière à grande échelle. Malgré leur situation contraignante, les femmes se sont soulevées collectivement contre leur marginalisation, les promesses non tenues et les injustices subies par elles à travers des manifestations et des actes de défiance, jusqu'à obtenir certains succès pour leurs exigences de reconnaissance et de compensation.

El presente artículo examina la situación de mujeres que habitan en zonas cercanas a plantas agroindustriales que, a través de adquisiciones de tierra a gran escala, han acaparado sus tierras en la región suroeste de Camerún. Asimismo, aborda cómo estas mujeres han solicitado reparaciones. La aplicación de una encuesta y la realización de discusiones entre mujeres afectadas en grupos de enfoque, revelan que éstas generalmente son excluidas de los procesos de adquisición de tierra a gran escala. Debido a ello reclaman haber sido desplazadas de sus parcelas agrícolas y de sus recursos forestales tradicionales, lo que ha producido efectos dañinos tanto en sus medios de vida como en sus estilos de vida. A pesar de la difícil situación que enfrentan, las mujeres se han movilizado colectivamente —a través de protestas y resistencias— en contra de la marginación, las promesas incumplidas y las injusticias, logrando algunos avances en sus demandas de reconocimiento y compensación.

Keywords: Sub- Saharan Africa, gender and diversity, Rights

Topics: Agriculture, Gender, Women, Land Grabbing, Livelihoods Regions: Africa, Central Africa Countries: Cameroon

Year: 2017

Supporting Social and Gender Equity Through Micro-Grid Deployment in the DR Congo


Avrin, Anne-Perrine, Hilary Yu, and Daniel M. Kammen. 2018. “Supporting Social and Gender Equity Through Micro-Grid Deployment in the DR Congo.” In 2018 IEEE PES/IAS PowerAfrica, 646–51. Cape Town: IEEE.

Authors: Anne-Perrine Avrin, Hilary Yu, Daniel M. Kammen

Keywords: economics, sociology, statistics, electric potential, hydroelectric power generation, systematics, lightning

Topics: Conflict, Environment, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equity, Governance, Infrastructure, Energy Regions: Africa, Central Africa Countries: Democratic Republic of the Congo

Year: 2018

Impact of Gender Policy on Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Security in Rwanda


Svobodová, Karolina. 2019. "Impact of Gender Policy on Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Security in Rwanda." African Security Review 28 (2): 124-38.

Author: Karolina Svobodová


The article analyses the relation between security and enhanced women’s participation in political, legal, and social matters in Rwanda after the genocide. Rwanda serves as a unique example of the fast empowerment of women in a developing state and hence as a model sui generis for investigating connections between greater female participation in post-conflict reconstruction and an improving security situation. The analysis consists of three research questions which examine the results achieved by women in legislation, civil society, and the judiciary, and their impact on the improvement of security in Rwanda.

Keywords: Rwanda, gender, security, post-conflict reconstruction

Topics: Civil Society, Gender, Women, Genocide, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Political Participation, Security Regions: Africa, Central Africa, East Africa Countries: Rwanda

Year: 2019

How Violence against Women and Girls Undermines Resilience to Climate Risks in Chad


Le Masson, Virginie, Colette Benoudji, Sandra Sotelo Reyes, and Giselle Bernard. 2019. "How Violence against Women and Girls Undermines Resilience to Climate Risks in Chad." Disasters 43 (S3): S245-70.

Authors: Virginie Le Masson, Colette Benoudji, Sandra Sotelo Reyes, Giselle Bernard


What consequences does ‘everyday violence’ have on the abilities of survivors to protect themselves from further risks? This paper seeks to establish the linkages between violence and people’s resilience capacities to survive and adapt to environmental changes, particularly those living in fragile economic and political contexts such as Chad. It investigates not only how the adverse consequences of violence against women and girls affect the health status and livelihoods of survivors, but also their capacities, and those of their household and community members, to further protect themselves from other risks. Empirical evidence collected in Chad as part of the BRACED (Building Resilience and Adaptation to Climate Extremes and Disasters) programme shows that ‘everyday violence’ undermines resilience-building at the individual, household, and community level. These results have serious implications for development programmes and the role they need to play to better promote both gender equality and resilience to shocks and stresses. 

Keywords: Chad, gender equality, gender-based violence, risks, resilience

Topics: Development, Environment, Climate Change, Environmental Disasters, Gender, Gender-Based Violence, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Health, Households, Livelihoods, Violence Regions: Africa, Central Africa Countries: Chad

Year: 2019

“Provide Care for Everyone Please”: Engaging Community Leaders as Sexual and Reproductive Health Advocates in North and South Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo


Steven, Victoria J., Julianne Deitch, Erin Files Dumas, Meghan C. Gallagher, Jimmy Nzau, Augustin Paluku, and Sara E. Casey. 2019. ““Provide Care for Everyone Please”: Engaging Community Leaders as Sexual and Reproductive Health Advocates in North and South Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo.” Reproductive Health 16. doi: 10.1186/s12978-019-0764-z.

Authors: Victoria J. Steven, Julianne Deitch, Erin Files Dumas, Meghan C. Gallagher, Jimmy Nzau, Augustin Paluku, Sara E. Casey


Background: Inadequate infrastructure, security threats from ongoing armed conflict, and conservative socio-cultural and gender norms that favour large families and patriarchal power structures contribute to poor sexual and reproductive health (SRH) outcomes in North and South Kivu provinces, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). In order to expand contraceptive and post-abortion care (PAC) access in North and South Kivu, CARE, the International Rescue Committee and Save the Children provided technical support to the Ministry of Health and health facilities in these regions. Partners acknowledged that community leaders, given their power to influence local customs, could play a critical role as agents of change in addressing inequitable gender norms, stigma surrounding SRH service utilization, and topics traditionally considered taboo within Congolese society. As such, partners actively engaged with community leaders through a variety of activities such as community mapping exercises, values clarification and transformation (VCAT) activities, situational analyses, and education.
Methods: This manuscript presents findings from 12 key informant interviews (KIIs) with male political and non-political community leaders conducted in six rural health zones of North and South Kivu, DRC. Transcripts were analysed thematically to explore community leaders’ perceptions of their role in addressing the issue of unintended pregnancy in their communities.
Results: While community leaders in this study expressed overall positive impressions of contraception and strong support for ensuring access to PAC services following spontaneous and induced abortions, the vast majority held negative beliefs concerning women who had induced abortion. Contrasting with their professed opposition to induced abortion, leaders’ commitment to mediating interpersonal conflict arising between community members and women who had abortions was overwhelming.
Conclusion: Results from this study suggest that when thoughtfully engaged by health interventions, community leaders can be empowered to become advocates for SRH. While study participants were strong supporters of contraception and PAC, they expressed negative perceptions of induced abortion. Given the hypothesized link between the presence of induced abortion stigma and care-avoidance behavior, further engagement and values clarification exercises with leaders must be integrated into community mobilization and engagement activities in order to increase PAC utilization.

Keywords: abortion, contraception, community leader, post-abortion care, DRC, Qualitative, community mobilization

Topics: Armed Conflict, Gender, Gender Roles, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Health, Reproductive Health, Infrastructure, International Organizations Regions: Africa, Central Africa Countries: Democratic Republic of the Congo

Year: 2019


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