This is the first post in Human Nature’s “Gender + Conservation” series. Read other posts in the series.
Men and women use natural resources in different ways. In coastal Madagascar, for example, men fish in carved out wooden boats, while women harvest octopuses from the reef flat.
Understanding those differences, and the roles that men and women play in natural resource management and decision-making, is key to ensuring that their unique uses of resources are taken into account, and that conservation efforts will benefit everyone.
But what does it mean to incorporate gender into a conservation project or program? What does a “gender-integrated” project look like? At CI, we are working closely with our staff around the world to find out.
Using guidance and best practices from a myriad of other organizations, agencies and experts, CI has developed draft guidelines for integrating gender into conservation projects. These guidelines help staff to gather sociocultural information in the project area, such as what activities men and women participate in, how decisions are made, and what barriers may keep men or women from participating in the project.
These guidelines are written specifically for conservation project managers working closely with communities. Over the last six months, we have partnered with staff in seven countries around the world — Timor-Leste, Colombia, Ecuador, Madagascar, Guyana, Peru and Bolivia — to pilot these guidelines and see what it really looks like to implement them on the ground.
This blog begins a series that Human Nature will publish over the coming months, showcasing each of these unique and inspiring pilot projects. From coastal Timor-Leste to the sky-scraping salt flats of Bolivia, and from the steamy Colombian Amazon to the rainforests of Madagascar, this blog series will feature voices from the field sharing why gender is so important in their work with communities, and how they have begun to incorporate it into their projects.
Starting tomorrow, keep an eye out on Human Nature for these intriguing stories, which provide a powerful reminder of the inextricable link between culture and conservation.