Women’s fuelwood collection and deforestation : Effects on women’s everyday lives and environments in Kabadio, Casamance and Diagane Barka, Sine-Saloum.

University essay from Högskolan i Jönköping/HLK, Globala studier

Abstract: Previous research and literature commonly agree to the fact that women, especially rural women, is the most vulnerable group in society. Many of them tend to be found in the poorest sections of society. Women depend on natural resources for their livelihoods and are discriminated concerning labour division and access, control and knowledge about natural resources such as forests. Changes in the climate and natural degradation, especially forest degradation are threatening their livelihoods. Gender relations are structured around managing the environment where women are seen as major users and managers of the forests. The aim and the research questions of this study is to examine how women in Senegal experience that their everyday life and livelihood activities within fuelwood collection have been affected by deforestation. Furthermore, what reason do women see behind deforestation and the changes in their local environments. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with eleven women from two villages in southern Senegal in the region of Casamance and Sine-Saloum. All these women were involved in fuelwood collecting activities. The result of the study was analysed through previous research, feminist political ecology approach and through definitions of livelihood and sustainable development in order to explain women’s experiences and activities within fuelwood collection. The result found that all women experiences changes in their livelihoods because of deforestation. The amount of time spent on fuelwood collecting activities increased while it less time was left to other activities. Women’s income and resources from the forests reduced or disappeared and the main focus turned into cover the needs of the household. Women’s personal everyday lives have been negatively affected by deforestation. Heavy work had negative health effects on the women. Some women have left fuelwood collection for alternative sources of income because it has become too demanding. Furthermore, the results showed that women are worried about their future since they are in mutual need of forests as well as fuelwood to survive.

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