Complementarity of women and men for conservation efficiency | WWF

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Complementarity of women and men for conservation efficiency

Malagasy women have often been relegated to the background when it comes to making decisions about the sustainable management of natural resources and community life in general.

Today, with the support of WWF in collaboration with the NGO Fanoitra, women and men are gradually becoming aware of their complementarity.  And the contribution of women in the Menabe Region in community-based natural resource management has once again demonstrated the importance of the participation of all actors in community-based natural resources management. This participation and collaboration has greatly enhanced equality of actions, responsibilities and benefits derived from nature conservation and in the life of society. "By the simple fact that women light the fire 3 times a day to cook food, they were said to be the ones destroying the forests ; because of this, they are pushed aside. No, it is not the women who are destroying nature. They can very well help the men to do better," reports Ms. Josephine from the NGO Fanoitra. To improve the living conditions of families and reduce pressure on natural resources such as the use of mangroves for charcoal making, WWF and the NGO Fanoitra supported the creation of five women's associations in the Tsiribihina Delta in 2016, in the Menabe. They were supported, technically and financially, to create and manage their small poultry breeding units in the villages of Mavohatoka and Tsimandrafoza and embroidery and handicrafts in the villages of Ankirijivato, Antsakoamaliniky and Soarano. At the same time, these women were able to restore more than 20 ha of mangrove forests. 

Ernestine in the village of Marohata, near the Kirindy Mite Biosphere Reserve, succeeded in mobilizing her entire community for the sustainable management of marine resources. Together, more than 6 hectares of mangroves were reforested since December 2019. Together with her peers, they were able to convert a shed into a classroom and facilitate literacy in the village.

In 2019, with the support of the NGO Fanoitra, members of marginalized and vulnerable women's groups in 11 villages in the Menabe region have created activities to improve their living conditions: embroidery, making improved Kamado stoves, a community small fastfood, duck breeding, selling rice, daba, cutting and sewing, making mosquito nets, selling rice and basketry. These activities enabled 72 households to generate additional income of 3,246,000 Ariary in 2019. "Since these new skills, women are more involved in the management of natural resources, for example, participate in reforestation activities and some are often consulted in decision-making," said Ms. Josephine during her appearance on the program FANOITRA on Radio Antsivabe.

For 2 months now, the NGO Fanoitra and WWF have been jointly producing a series of radio programs broadcast every Tuesday on the Antsivabe Menabe radio station to share the achievements of the women of the village and inspire other women to integrate the grassroots communities to develop skills and participate in activities for the sustainable management of natural resources. On the other hand, these broadcasts also promote the place of women in conservation, which WWF considers to bring benefits to communities, to natural resources management and to natural resources itself.

Men and women have their respective but complementary roles in carrying out natural resources conservation activities. Through its human rights commitments, WWF promotes the integration of gender equality in conservation projects and objectives and supports this model of fruitful collaboration between men and women.