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West Africa

Decoupling Local Ownership? The Lost Opportunities for Grassroots Women's Involvement in Liberian Peacebuilding

Citation:

Gizelis, Theodora-Ismene and Jonathan Joseph. 2016. “Decoupling Local Ownership? The Lost Opportunities for Grassroots Women's Involvement in Liberian Peacebuilding.” Cooperation and Conflict 51 (4): 539-56.

Authors: Theodora-Ismene Gizelis, Jonathon Joseph

Abstract:

Civil society organizations and grassroots groups are often unable to play an active role in postconflict reconstruction and peacebuilding. A possible explanation for the observed challenges in peacebuilding is the gap or decoupling between international expectations and norms from practical action, local norms and capacities. External actors are often overly instrumental and operate according to a general template that fails to start from what the local capacities might actually be. This often leads to the decoupling of general values from practical action, which helps account for the observed barriers of engaging local civil and community organizations in reconstruction. We examine the different types of decoupling and the challenges these present. We evaluate our general theoretical argument using evidence based on the experiences of Liberian women’s civil society organizations. Given the compliance of the Liberian government with international norms, we should expect external actors to have an easier task in incorporating civil society and women’s organizations in the post-conflict reconstruction process; yet, the record appears to be the opposite. While we present the ‘tragic’ aspect of this relationship between international norms and local practice, we also suggest opportunities for ‘hybrid’ alternatives.

Keywords: gender, Liberia, peacebuilding, post-conflict society

Topics: Civil Society, Gender, conflict, Peacebuilding, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Liberia

Year: 2016

Pathways Out of Poverty: Women - 'the forgotten Gender' - and the Artisanal Fisheries Sector of Sierra Leone

Citation:

Baio, Andrew, Roberta Curiazi, Ndomahina Lebbie, Thomas Lebbie, Ranita Sandi, Andy Thorpe, and David Whitmarsh. 2013. “Pathways Out of Poverty: Women - the ‘forgotten Gender’ - and the Artisanal Fisheries Sector of Sierra Leone.” African Historical Review 45 (1): 46–61.

Authors: Andrew Baio, Roberta Curiazi, Ndomahina Lebbie, Thomas Lebbie, Ranita Sandi, Andy Thorpe, David Whitmarsh

Abstract:

In a number of low-income countries the fisheries sector has been shown to be instrumental in meeting key development goals, specifically in combating malnutrition, but the crucial contribution of women within this sector has been largely overlooked. This is particularly true in Sierra Leone, despite gender featuring prominently in the country’s poverty reduction strategy. This article therefore examines the history of female involvement in the sector, how this involvement was transformed by the civil war, and assesses whether the various current initiatives to support women in the post-harvest sector offer a realistic ‘pathway out of poverty’.

Keywords: fish distribution chain, food security, women, poverty alleviation, Sierra Leone

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Wars, Development, Economies, Poverty, Gender, Women, Security Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Sierra Leone

Year: 2013

Gender, Patronage and Race in Modernist Agribusiness

Caitlin Ryan

November 26, 2018

Campus Center, Room 3540, UMass Boston

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(Re)colonizing Agriculture in the Name of 'Development'

Caitlin Ryan

October 30, 2018

Campus Center, Room 3540, UMass Boston

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Is Adaptation to Climate Change Gender Neutral? Lessons from Communities Dependent on Livestock and Forests in Northern Mali

Citation:

Djoudi, H., and M. Brockhaus. 2011. “Is Adaptation to Climate Change Gender Neutral? Lessons from Communities Dependent on Livestock and Forests in Northern Mali.” International Forestry Review 13 (2): 123–35.

Authors: H. Djoudi, M. Brockhaus

Keywords: gender, climate change, adaptation, Faguibine, Mali

Annotation:

Summary: 
The growing risk of vulnerability to climate change is widely discussed in the scientific and political sphere. More evidence from local case studies emerges that document this risk. Vulnerability to climate change and variability appears most likely to negatively affect poor people, particularly women. Tendencies to widen existing inequalities have been observed. In the Lake Faguibine area in Northern Mali the social, political and ecological conditions have drastically changed in the last three decades. We conducted 6 single gender participatory workshops using PRA in two communities. The workshops assessed vulnerability and adaptive strategies to climate variability and change for livestock and forest based livelihoods. Our results show divergences in the adaptive strategies of men and women. Migration represented one of the most important strategies for men. Women perceived this strategy more as a cause of vulnerability than an adaptive strategy. Traditionally male activities have been added to the workload of women (e.g. small ruminant herding). The historical axes show that development projects targeting women have not integrated climate change and variability into their planning. Most activities have been built around small scale agriculture. With the drying out of Lake Faguibine, those water dependent activities are no longer relevant. Women have developed their own adaptive strategies based on newly emerged forest resources in the former lake area (e.g. charcoal production). However, women are hindered from realizing the potential of these new activities. This is due to loss of person power in the household, unclear access to natural resources, lack of knowledge and financial resources. Lack of power to influence decision at the household and community levels as well as limited market opportunities for women are additional factors. Even though women's vulnerability is increasing in the short term, over the long term the emerging changes in women's roles could lead to positive impacts. These impacts could be both societal (division of labor and power, new social spaces), and economic (market access, livestock wealth). Locally specific gender sensitive analysis of vulnerability is needed to understand dynamics and interaction of divergent adaptive strategies. Societal and political change at broader scales is needed to realize potential benefits for women in the long term. (Summary from original source) 

Topics: Development, Displacement & Migration, Migration, Economies, Economic Inequality, Poverty, Environment, Climate Change, Gender, Gender Analysis, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Households, Infrastructure, Water & Sanitation, Livelihoods Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Mali

Year: 2011

Gender and Resilience: From Theory to Practice

Citation:

Le Masson, Virginie. 2016. “Gender and Resilience: From Theory to Practice.” Working Paper, BRACED Knowledge Manager, London.

Author: Virginie Le Masson

Annotation:

Summary: 
This paper presents a synthesis of four case studies documenting strategies towards building gender equality through resilience projects. It draws on the experience of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) involved in the implementation of the Building Resilience and Adaptation to Climate Extremes and Disasters (BRACED) projects: Mercy Corps (Uganda), ActionAid (Myanmar), Concern (Sudan/Chad) and Christian Aid and King’s College London (Burkina Faso). The analysis also reflects on discussions held during a writeshop that brought together NGO practitioners, donor representatives and researchers, to examine different approaches to integrate gender and social equality as part of efforts to build communities’ resilience to climate change and disasters. 
 
The papers seeks to document how gender inequalities manifest themselves in all four contexts affected by climate change; how gender is conceptualised in project theories of change (ToCs); the operationalisation of objectives to tackle gender inequalities; internal and external obstacles to the implementation of gender-sensitive activities; and drivers that help NGOs transform gender relations and build resilience. 
 
The four case studies describe how disasters and climate change affect gender groups in different ways and also underscore the patriarchal social norms that disproportionately restrict women and girls’ equal access to rights and resources. The resulting inequalities are likely to undermine women and girls’ resilience, and ultimately that of their households and communities – an assumption that underpins projects’ ToCs. Hence, projects that aim to enhance people’s resilience capacities have to recognise social diversities, inequalities and their inter-sectionality. If they fail to do so, they risk further marginalising and undermining the capacities of those who lack access to decision-making or experience discrimination. 
 
Based on lessons from NGOs’ experience, and challenges they face in the particular contexts where they operate, this papers aims to inform practitioners on how to draw on promising practices to make resilience projects inclusive and equitable. It also provides a set of recommendations to point out areas where further research is required to increase understanding of resilience to climate extremes and longer-term changes, and to suggest how donors and funding can best support efforts to build communities’ resilience. 

Topics: Environment, Climate Change, Environmental Disasters, Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Gender Equality/Inequality, intersectionality, Households, NGOs Regions: Africa, Central Africa, East Africa, West Africa, Asia, Southeast Asia Countries: Burkina Faso, Chad, Myanmar, Sudan, Uganda

Year: 2016

Women and Land in Northern Nigeria: The Need for Independent Ownership Rights

Citation:

Abdullah, Hussaina J., and Aisha Fofana-Ibrahim. 2003. “Women and Land in Northern Nigeria: The Need for Independent Ownership Rights.” In Women and Land in Africa: Culture, Religion and Realizing Women’s Rights, edited by L. Muthoni Wanyeki. London: Zed Books.

Authors: Hussaina J. Abdullah, Aisha Fofana-Ibrahim

Annotation:

Summary: 
"This study is therefore intended to contribute to an understanding of land as it relates to women and as viewed from the human rights paradigm. The main objective is to undertake a critical, empirical study of women's land rights in northern Nigeria, and the manner in which these rights are shaped by religion, tradition and law. The purpose is not only to examine women's rights of access to, ownership of and control over land, including women's inheritance rights, but also to study how religion (canonical and Sharia), tradition and law (customary and non-customary) act and interact to condition the definition and practice of women's land rights. The primary focus is a review of historical practice and an analysis of empirical data on three categories of women (married, divorced, and widowed). Marriage is used as a determining variable in women's land rights because it is the major means by which women and men access land in Africa. However, whereas women's land rights are dependent on their relations with men, men's land rights are not dependent on their relations with women. Moreover, women are threatened with dispossession if divorced or widowed (Small 1997: 46)" (Abdullah and Fofana-Ibrahim 2003, 134).

Topics: Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Religion, Rights, Human Rights, Land Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Nigeria

Year: 2003

Advancing Women's Empowerment or Rolling Back the Gains? Peace Building in Post-Conflict Sierra Leone

Citation:

Abdullah, Hussaina J. 2014. “Advancing Women’s Empowerment or Rolling Back the Gains? Peace Building in Post-Conflict Sierra Leone.” In Feminisms, Empowerment and Development: Changing Women’s Lives, edited by Andrea Cornwall and Jenny Edwards. London: Zed Books.

Author: Hussaina J. Abdullah

Annotation:

Summary: 
“Sierra Leone’s reconstruction and peace consolidation policies and programmes are pursued within the post-conflict peace-building framework (UN 1992). Within this framework, women and gender issues have been articulated through a series of UN Security Council resolutions, such as 1325 (in 2000), 1820 (in 2008), 1888 and 1889 (in 2009), 1960 (in 2010) and 2106 and 2122 (in 2013). These resolutions specifically address women’s rights in post-conflict societies, their participation in reconstruction processes, their protection from violence, and the strengthening of justice systems. For instance, resolution 1325, the premier declaration on Women, Peace and Security, clearly links sexual violence as a weapon of war with the pursuit of peace and security, and outlines a legal structure for addressing these concerns at various levels” (Abdullah 2014, 67-68).
 
“To further consolidate the Women, Peace and Security agenda, the UN released two reports – ‘Report of the Secretary- General on Women, Peace and Security’ and ‘Report of the Secretary-General on Women’s Participation in Peacebuilding’ – on the tenth anniversary of the adoption of resolution 1325. The outstanding element in the latter report, which looked at women’s needs and participation in post-conflict reconstruction and transformation and peace-building processes, was the stipulation that 15 per cent of all UN-managed post-conflict financing funds should support projects that ‘address women’s specific needs, advance gender equality or empower women’ (UN 2010). While this framework has a transformatory edge, it does not go far enough to ensure women’s empowerment. Its application in post-conflict Sierra Leone is disjointed and full of loopholes that can be used to roll back whatever gains women have achieved. This chapter explores and reflects on this outcome” (68-69).

Topics: Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, peace and security, Justice, Peacebuilding, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction, UN Security Council Resolutions on WPS, UNSCR 1325, UNSCR 1820, UNSCR 1888, UNSCR 1889, UNSCR 1960, UNSCR 2106, UNSCR 2122, Sexual Violence Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Sierra Leone

Year: 2014

Forging Ahead without an Affirmative Action Policy: Female Politicians in Sierra Leone's Post‐War Electoral Process

Citation:

Abdullah, Hussaina J. 2010. “Forging Ahead without an Affirmative Action Policy: Female Politicians in Sierra Leone's Post‐War Electoral Process.” IDS Bulletin 41 (5): 62-71.

Author: Hussaina J. Abdullah

Abstract:

In contemporary post-conflict Sierra Leone, women have managed to secure 13.5 per cent of seats in parliament – without affirmative action in place, thanks to women’s groups’ and coalitions’ mobilisation and activism. While the political resistance to Sierra Leone having a quota was high, the women’s movement has succeeded in forcing the political parties and the government to recognise that it is no longer politically viable to sidestep women’s rights, should they wish to capitalise on women’s voting power. As women’s organisations, in particular the 50/50 group, continue the struggle to introduce a quota, the challenge for Sierra Leonean women is how to ensure that the quota project is not hijacked by the male-dominated political establishment. To this aim, this article examines the ongoing efforts to politically consciencise women parliamentarians, society and political parties.

Topics: Gender, Governance, Quotas, Elections, Post-conflict Governance, Political Participation, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Sierra Leone

Year: 2010

Religious Revivalism, Human Rights Activism and the Struggle for Women's Rights in Nigeria

Citation:

Abdullah, Hussaina J. 2000. "Religious Revivalism, Human Rights Activism and the Struggle for Women's Rights in Nigeria." In Beyond Rights Talk and Culture Talk: Comparative Essays on Political Rights and Culture, edited by Mahmood Mamdani, 96-120. Cape Town: David Philip Publishers.

Author: Hussaina J. Abdullah

Annotation:

Summary:
“Within the context of economic crisis, structural adjustment and political authoritarianism which have characterized Nigeria since the 1980s there has been a growth of human rights and civil liberties activism, together with a process of religious revivalism and a rising and institutionalized "State" feminism. From their different positions, the various associations have either shown total disregard for women's rights issues or proved incapable of dealing with them. The struggles of activist women's organizations, such as Women in Nigeria (WIN), which emerged in 1983, have involved the articulation of strategies for responding to the de-politicizing thrust and consequences of "State" feminism/"femocracy", whilst simultaneously attempting to tap potentially positive elements from the process for the benefit of Nigerian women. At another level, they have entailed the broadening of the campaign for women's rights with regard to issues of legal and constitutional reform. International networking has also been employed to advance the interests of Nigerian women, especially as they pertain to the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). Furthermore, there has been an attempt by some women's groups, such as the Federation of Muslim Women's Associations in Nigeria (FOMWAN), to use the idiom of religion and contestations over doctrinal interpretation to press the case for reforms. However, the struggles of Nigerian women for change still have to contend with resilient patriarchal structures, which aspects of religious revivalism have tended to reinforce and which the explosion of human rights activism has, so far, been insufficient to challenge significantly” (Abdullah 2000, 162-3).

Topics: Economies, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Governance, Constitutions, Religion, Rights, Human Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Nigeria

Year: 2000

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