Focus on women

Women in many traditional societies are the main users of nature products, the primary caretakers of family health and the providers of food and water for the family. Our experience working with local communities has always taught us that conservation and development initiatives were more sustainable when women were fully involved.

"Throughout Africa, women are the primary caretakers, holding significant responsibility for tilling the land and feeding their families. As a result, they are often the first to become aware of environmental damage as resources become scarce and incapable of sustaining their families."

Wangari Maathai, Nobel Peace Prize.

Women are primary users of biodiversity as they gather water and nature products for food, building, firewood and medicine while they also grow most food crops. Ensuring that their traditional knowledge of biodiversity is passed down to future generations also ensure’s people’s future well-being and health, locally and globally.

Women, resource use and traditional knowledge

We promote the key role of women in natural resource management, as women have traditionnally used biodiversity for food, medicine, firewood and house building. Their awareness of the nourishing, healing and building elements available in nature have always been passed on to future generations of women and as such they represent the main guardians of traditional knowledge of biodiversity.

Women, food security and climate change

We support local women to improve and adapt crop production to climate change using sustainable practices building on traditional techniques.  It is mainly women who manage home gardens and crops that will feed their families and who provide up to 90% of the rural poor’s food. The crucial role played by women in adapting to climate change is now recognised as in some places, women are already growing many varieties of each food crop while selecting the best ones depending on climatic conditions.

Women and water

We improve water hygiene and access to drinking water and sanitation close to people’s homes in order to improved health status, especially in children which suffer the most from water-related diseases.  Improved access to safe water also relieves women and children from the burden of collecting water far away from home -  an activity which can take up to 26% of women’s time – thus enabling  them to engage in more productive activities such as education and food production.

Women and family health

We empower women in biodiversity-rich areas to make their own choice about their family size and to improve their family health, while being also able to access better maternal care.  Providing families with access to family planning services is key for breaking the cycle of environmental degradation and poverty in which local communities living in remote and biodiverse areas are often entangled.