Printer-friendly versionSend by emailPDF version

West Africa

Cultural Practices and Women’s Land Rights in Africa: South Africa and Nigeria in Comparison


Eniola, Bolanle, and Adeoye O. Akinola. 2019. “Cultural Practices and Women’s Land Rights in Africa: South Africa and Nigeria in Comparison.” In Trajectory of Land Reform in Post-Colonial African States. Advances in African Economic, Social and Political Development, edited by Adeoye O. Akinola, and Henry Wissink, 109-123. Cham, Switzerland: Springer. 

Authors: Bolanle Eniola, Adeoye O. Akinola


Over the years, Africa has been characterised by poverty, gender inequalities and socioeconomic underdevelopment. It was soon discovered that cultural and traditional belief system constitutes one of the drivers of gender inequality, which is reflected in the skewed land arrangement in the continent. This chapter examines women’s land rights (access and control) in Africa, focusing on the Nigeria and South Africa’s experience. It assesses African traditional practices and norms that limit women’s property rights and explores how gender inequalities in terms of land ownership and rights have jeopardized attempts at sustainable development in Africa. It notes that the continental challenges of land utility, food security and enduring development have a direct correlation with the denial of women’s right to land ownership and use. The chapter concludes by reiterating the urgent need to promote gender equality in the resource sector, this is an essential corollary for African survival and sustainable development. 

Keywords: cultural practices, gender inequalities, land rights, Nigeria, South Africa

Topics: Development, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Rights, Land Rights, Women's Rights, Security, Food Security Regions: Africa, Southern Africa, West Africa Countries: Nigeria, South Africa

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

Gender and Climate Change Linkages in the Semi-Arid Region of Ghana


Mensah, Michael, Paul L. G. Vlek, Benedicta Y. Fosu-Mensah. 2020. “Gender and Climate Change Linkages in the Semi-Arid Region of Ghana.” GeoJournal.

Authors: Michael Mensah, Paul L. G. Vlek, Benedicta Y. Fosu-Mensah


Climate change is projected to have a serious impact on all sectors of the world. The agriculture sector is one of the most vulnerable sectors with implications for smallholder farmers in semi-arid regions of Africa in terms of poverty and food security. Several researches have been carried out on perception and adaptation with a little investigation to unpack the gender differences and how this influence adaptation strategies. This research investigates gender difference and gender-specific adaptation strategies to climate change and variability. A household survey was conducted from August to December 2014 using a pre-tested questionnaire where 150 males and 150 female farmers were randomly sampled from 14 communities within the Bolgatanga Municipality and Bongo district. Results show the existence of gender differences in the adaptation strategies. Both gender groups perceived climatic change and variability but only 49% male and 40% female headed household (HH) have adopted strategies to cope with increasing temperatures while 56% male and 49% female have adapted to decreasing precipitation. On the other hand, 62% male and 60% female HH have adapted to increasing drought spells. The main differences between male and female adaptation strategies are that males prefer to migrate and seek employment in other parts of the country whereas females prefer to engage in off-farm jobs such as trading, basketry and shea-butter processing. The age of farmers, access to extension services, credit, perceived loss of soil fertility, among other factors influenced farmers adaptation strategies. Policy decisions to promote adaptation to climate change and variability should take these factors into consideration.

Keywords: climate change, adaptation, household, gender, Perception

Topics: Agriculture, Displacement & Migration, Migration, Economies, Poverty, Environment, Climate Change, Gender, Households, Security, Food Security Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Ghana

Year: 2020

Characterizing the Vulnerability of Fishing Households to Climate and Environmental Change: Insights from Ghana


Koomson, Daniel, Katherine Sian Davies-Vollum, Debadayita Raha. 2020. “Characterizing the Vulnerability of Fishing Households to Climate and Environmental Change: Insights from Ghana.” Marine Policy 120.


Authors: Daniel Koomson, Katherine Sian Davies-Vollum, Debadayita Raha


Rural coastal communities in the global south are mostly natural resource-dependent and their livelihoods are therefore vulnerable to the impacts of climate and environmental changes. Efforts to improve their adaptive capacity often prove mal-adaptive due to misunderstanding the dynamics of the unique socioeconomic factors that shape their vulnerability. By integrating theories from climate change vulnerability and the Sustainable Livelihoods Approach, this study draws upon household survey data from a fishing community in Ghana to assess the vulnerability of fishing households to climate change and explore how their vulnerability is differentiated within the community. The findings suggest that household incomes in the last decade have reduced significantly, attributable to an interaction of both climatic and non-climatic factors. Analysis of the characteristics of three vulnerability groups derived by quantile clustering showed that the most vulnerable household group is not necessarily women or poorer households as expected. Rather, it is dynamic and includes all gender and economic class categories in varying proportions depending on the success or failure of the fishing season. The findings suggest furthermore that the factors that significantly differentiates vulnerability between households differ, depending on whether households are categorised by economic class, gender of household-head or vulnerability group. Consequently, the study highlights the importance of looking beyond existing social categorizations like gender and economic classes when identifying and prioritizing households for climate change adaptive capacity building.

Keywords: Ghana, fishing, vulnerability, adaptive capacity, climate change

Topics: Class, Economies, Environment, Climate Change, Gender, Households, Livelihoods Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Ghana

Year: 2020

Climate Change Perceptions and Challenges to Adaptation among Smallholder Farmers in Semi-Arid Ghana: A Gender Analysis


Assan, Elsie, Murari Suvedi, Laura Schmitt Olabisi, Kenneth Joesph Bansah. 2020. “Climate Change Perceptions and Challenges to Adaptation among Smallholder Farmers in Semi-Arid Ghana: A Gender Analysis.” Journal of Arid Environments 182.

Authors: Elsie Assan, Murari Suvedi, Laura Schmitt Olabisi, Kenneth Joseph Bansah


Gender-sensitive climate change adaptation strategies can improve gender equality and women’s development in agrarian communities. This study used both qualitative and quantitative research methods (focus group discussions, key informant interviews, and household surveys) to explore the perspectives of men and women on climate change, including climate change impacts on their farming activities and household well-being, and challenges faced in mitigating climate change impacts. The empirical data showed similarities in climate change perceptions between men and women, and rising temperatures, shortened cropping season, and increasing erratic rainfall as the main climatic stressors. Lack of money and inadequate access to labor among women and inadequate access to extension and old age/poor health among men were the major constraints to mitigating climate change impacts. Integrating gender needs in climate change adaptation planning and intervention development can help build resilient farm households. 

Keywords: climate change perceptions, gender inequality, agriculture, food security

Topics: Agriculture, Environment, Climate Change, Gender, Gender Analysis, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Health, Households, Security, Food Security Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Ghana

Year: 2020

Gender-Specific Livelihood Strategies for Coping with Climate Change-Induced Food Insecurity in Southeast Nigeria


Anugwa, Ifeoma Q., Agwu E Agwu, Murari Suvedi, Suresh Babu. 2020. “Gender-Specific Livelihood Strategies for Coping with Climate Change-Induced Food Insecurity in Southeast Nigeria.” Food Security 12 (5): 1065-84.

Authors: Ifeoma Q. Anugwa, Agwu E. Agwu, Murari Suvedi, Suresh Babu


This study assessed the livelihood strategies adopted by husbands and wives within the same households for coping with climate- induced food insecurity in Southeast Nigeria. Collective and bargaining approaches were used in collecting individual and intra- household-level data of 120 pairs of spouses in Southeast Nigeria; husbands and wives were interviewed separately. Focus group discussions, key informant interviews, and household surveys were used to elicit responses from the respondents. Quantitative data for the study were analyzed using percentage, mean scores, and multinomial logit regression analysis. Results of the study revealed that 90% of the wives were more food insecure than their husbands (79.2%). The respondents noted that the observed changes in the climate contributed immensely to their food insecurity situation. To cope with food insecurity, a slightly higher proportion (47.3% and 14.2%) of wives adopted on-farm and non-farm strategies, respectively, while men (39.8%) adopted more off-farm strategies (38.5%). Additionally, results of the multinomial logit regression revealed that market distance and credit access significantly influenced the choice of husbands’ and wives’ engagement in off-farm livelihood strategy; sourcing information on climate change issues significantly influenced women’s choice of engagement in off-farm/non-farm strategy; and receiving remittances significantly influenced men’s choice of engagement in non-farm strategy. The study concluded that, although women play crucial roles in addressing food insecurity within their households, gender-specific obstacles typically impede their abilities to cope with climate-induced food insecurity. 

Keywords: climate change, food security, livelihood strategies, multinomial logit regression, gender

Topics: Environment, Climate Change, Gender, Gender Roles, Households, Livelihoods, Security, Food Security Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Nigeria

Year: 2020

‘We Are Free When Water Is Available’: Gendered Livelihood Implications of Sporadic Water Supply in Northern Ghana


Jeil, Emmanuel Bintaayi, Kabila Abass, and John Kuumuori Ganle. 2020. “‘We Are Free When Water Is Available’: Gendered Livelihood Implications of Sporadic Water Supply in Northern Ghana.” Local Environment 25 (4): 320-35.

Authors: Emmanuel Bintaayi Jeil, Kabila Abass, John Kuumuori Ganle


Water shortages may present different and diverse implications for gender subgroups particularly in low-income settings. Yet, little research has documented the gendered livelihood implications of water shortages in Ghana. Based on a cross-sectional mixed method research involving a survey of 250 household heads and complemented with a qualitative study of 86 participants, the paper examines the differential effects of sporadic water supply in Tatale-Sanguli District of Northern Ghana. Our findings suggest that the livelihood effects of sporadic water supply in Tatale-Sanguli area are gendered, with females being disproportionately affected as compared to males. These differential effects are often framed by both gender role differentiation and inequities in access to vital productive resources and critical assets such as bicycles, tricycles and motor bikes. These findings highlight not only the need for local government and non-governmental organisations to step up efforts in water provision, but also to recognise the gendered effects of water shortages in Tatale-Sanguli District. Key to policy is also to ensure that programmatic interventions during water shortages take account of the likely gendered effects and differentiated burdens.

Keywords: gender, livelihood, water supply, Northern Ghana, sporadic

Topics: Gender, Gender Roles, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Infrastructure, Water & Sanitation, Livelihoods Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Ghana

Year: 2020

Displaced Women in Northern Ghana: Indigenous Knowledge about Ethnic Conflict


McGadney-Douglass, Brenda Faye, and William K. Ahadzie. 2008. “Displaced Women in Northern Ghana: Indigenous Knowledge about Ethnic Conflict.” Affilia 23 (4): 324–37.

Authors: Brenda Faye McGadney-Douglass, William K. Ahadzie


This article presents the findings of field research in Ghana in 2002 about internal displacement stemming from multiethnic violence in northern Ghana in 1994, known as the “Guinea Fowl War.” Indigenous, gender-specific knowledge from displaced Ghanaian women is presented in the context of feminist perspectives on the consequences of regional wars on noncombatants. The research generated indigenous material for social work education about interethnic peace building and conflict resolution. The discussion includes first-person responses about warning signs, origins of conflict, immediate and long-term responses, social consequences, and an integration of findings with feminist perspectives on conflict resolution and policies that are designed to aid internally displaced women.

Keywords: Africa, ethnic conflict, feminist social work, internally displaced women, social work education

Topics: Armed Conflict, Ethnic/Communal Wars, Displacement & Migration, IDPs, Gender, Women, Indigenous, Indigenous Knowledge Systems, Peacebuilding Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Ghana

Year: 2008

Peacekeeping, Compliance with International Norms, and Transactional Sex in Monrovia, Liberia


Beber, Bernd, Michael J. Gilligan, Jenny Guardado, and Sabrina Karim. 2017. “Peacekeeping, Compliance with International Norms, and Transactional Sex in Monrovia, Liberia.” International Organization 71 (1): 1–30.

Authors: Bernd Beber, Michael J. Gilligan, Jenny Guardado, Sabrina Karim


United Nations policy forbids its peacekeepers and other personnel from engaging in transactional sex (the exchange of money, favors, or gifts for sex), but we find the behavior to be very common in our survey of Liberian women. Using satellite imagery and GPS locators, we randomly selected 1,381 households and randomly sampled 475 women between the ages of eighteen and thirty. Using an iPod in private to preserve the anonymity of their responses, these women answered sensitive questions about their sexual histories. More than half of them had engaged in transactional sex, a large majority of them (more than 75 percent) with UN personnel. We estimate that each additional battalion of UN peacekeepers caused a significant increase in a woman’s probability of engaging in her first transactional sex. Our findings raise the concern that the private actions of UN personnel in the field may set back the UN’s broader gender-equality and economic development goals, and raise broader questions about compliance with international norms.

Topics: Gender, Women, International Organizations, Peacekeeping, Sexual Violence, Sexual Exploitation and Abuse Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Liberia

Year: 2017

Traumatisme, réinsertion psychosociale et résilience chez des femmes victimes de viol pendant les conflits armés en Côte d'Ivoire


Koudou, Opadou, Casimir Zady, et Viviane Estelle Djokouehi. 2016. Traumatisme, réinsertion psychosociale et résilience chez des femmes victimes de viol pendant les conflits armés en Côte d'Ivoire.” Rivista di Criminologia, Vittimologia e Sicurezza 10 (1): 4–25.

Authors: Opadou Koudou, Casimir Zady, Viviane Estelle Djokouehi



Questo studio si è posto due obiettivi: uno è stato quello di valutare gli effetti delle violenze sessuali legate ai conflitti armati, l’altro è stato quello di identificare i fattori in grado di favorire i processi di resilienza di queste vittime che si trovano in situazioni di reinserimento psicosociale. Dal punto di vista metodologico, si precisa che hanno partecipato alla ricerca 23 donne vittimizzate durante periodi legati ai conflitti armati in Costa d’Avorio (2002-2003 e situazione di crisi post-elettorale dal 2010 al 2011). Esse hanno risposto a due set di questionari di autovalutazione psicologica, l’IES-R (Impact of Events-Scale Revised) e il GHQ-28 (General Health Questionnaire-28). Inoltre, sono state effettuate delle interviste semi-strutturate rivolte a queste donne, ai membri delle loro famiglie o delle loro comunità di appartenenza, agli operatori dei servizi di victim support e ai leader delle loro comunità. Con riferimento all’analisi dei dati, si è utilizzata l’analisi fenomenologica che ha permesso di mettere in evidenza che, sul piano psicologico, fisico e socio-economico, le donne che hanno subito delle violenze sessuali sono state profondamente colpite dal punto di vista affettivo. Tuttavia, lo studio fa emergere alcuni casi di resilienza e indica che, malgrado le avversità, queste donne sono riuscite a superare il loro handicap o il trauma reinserendosi nel tessuto socio-economico.


Cette étude poursuit deux objectifs : évaluer les effets des violences sexuelles liées aux conflits armés sur les femmes victimes de violences sexuelles et déceler des facteurs susceptibles de favoriser la résilience de ces victimes en situation de réinsertion psychosociale. Au plan méthodologique, ce sont vingt-trois femmes victimes de violences sexuelles liées aux conflits armés en Côte d’Ivoire (2002-2003 et la crise post-électorale de 2010 à 2011) qui ont participé à l’enquête. Celles-ci ont été soumises à deux séries de questionnaires d’autoévaluation psychologique, l’IES-R (Impact of Events-Scale Revised) et le GHQ-28 (General Health Questionnaire-28). Aussi, des entretiens semi directifs ont été administrés à ces femmes, aux membres de leur famille ou communauté, aux agents de la structure de services de prise en charge des victimes de violences sexuelles et aux leaders communautaires. Du point de vue de l’analyse des données, nous avons eu recours à l’analyse phénoménologique. Celle-ci a montré au plan psychologique, physique et socio-économique que les femmes qui ont subies des violences sexuelles ont été profondément marquées négativement. Toutefois, l’étude met en relief des cas de résilience parmi ces femmes traumatisées. Il ressort que malgré l’adversité, ces femmes ont réussi par un processus de résilience à surmonter leur handicap ou traumatisme pour se réinsérer dans le tissu socio-économique.


This study has two objectives: to assess the effects of sexual violence related to armed conflict on women victims of sexual violence and identify the factors that promote resilience of the victims in situations of psychosocial rehabilitation. Methodologically, twenty-three women victims of sexual violence related to the armed conflict in Côte d'Ivoire (2002-2003 and the post-election crisis of 2010 to 2011) who participated in the survey. They were subjected to two sets of questionnaires psychological self, IES-R (Impact of Events-Scale Revised) and GHQ-28 (General Health Questionnaire-28). Also, semi-structured interviews were administered to these women, members of their family or community, the agents of the structure of support services for victims of sexual violence and community leaders. From the perspective of data analysis, we used the phenomenological analysis. This showed the psychological, physical and socio-economic women who have suffered sexual violence were deeply affected negatively. However, the study highlights cases of resilience among these traumatized women. It appears that despite the adversity these women succeeded by a process of resilience to overcome their disability or trauma to reintegrate into the socioeconomic fabric.

Keywords: armed conflict, psychosocial rehabilitation, resilence, trauma, victims of rape

Topics: Armed Conflict, Gender, Women, Health, Trauma, Sexual Violence, SV against Women Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Côte D'Ivoire

Year: 2016


© 2021 CONSORTIUM ON GENDER, SECURITY & HUMAN RIGHTSLEGAL STATEMENT All photographs used on this site, and any materials posted on it, are the property of their respective owners, and are used by permission. Photographs: The images used on the site may not be downloaded, used, or reproduced in any way without the permission of the owner of the image. Materials: Visitors to the site are welcome to peruse the materials posted for their own research or for educational purposes. These materials, whether the property of the Consortium or of another, may only be reproduced with the permission of the owner of the material. This website contains copyrighted materials. The Consortium believes that any use of copyrighted material on this site is both permissive and in accordance with the Fair Use doctrine of 17 U.S.C. § 107. If, however, you believe that your intellectual property rights have been violated, please contact the Consortium at

Subscribe to RSS - West Africa