Samburu Women and Forest Management


MudflapDC: Samburu Kenya-336.jpg, 2017 (CC)

From Yale Environment 360:

As traditional livelihoods for men, such as livestock herding, have eroded, women have been forced to earn money for the first time. Facing worsening droughts, Samburu men leave for months searching for pasture or for new jobs, oftentimes in cities. That leaves women not only to manage the household but also to earn enough money to live in their partner’s absence.

In some cases, the women’s opportunities are being aided by the growing willingness of governments to let local populations manage their natural resources — a strategy borne out by studies showing they are better custodians. This has been particularly true in Kenya, where community groups are playing a prominent role in managing major forests. Other African countries, particularly Tanzania, also are embracing this approach.

For advocates concerned about climate change’s disproportionate impacts on poor and marginalized populations, especially women, these are welcome shifts.

“Samburu women, along with their children, often struggle the most when climate change and other factors are making their traditional lifestyle more challenging,” said Heather McGray, director of the Washington, D.C.-based Climate Justice Resilience Fund (CJRF), which helps fund the forest project. “This project is really exciting as a climate adaptation model. It’s putting power in their hands.”

“Natural Protectors: Kenyan Women Step Up to Save a Forest”, Peyton Fleming, Yale Environment 360

Africa Progress Panel: Climate change in Kenya, 2014 (CC)


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