Gender, Deliberation, and Natural Resource Governance: Experimental Evidence from Malawi

Posted on Aug 10, 2022 at 06:04

Gender, Deliberation, and Natural Resource Governance: Experimental Evidence from Malawi research project was implemented by IPOR in collaboration with the University of Malawi, Vanderbilt University, International Food Policy Research Institute, and Ohio State University. In Malawi, women are formally required to occupy either half or one-third of the positions on Malawi’s key land administration institutions, including land tribunals and customary land committees. However, some individuals and organizations/institutions suggested weak enforcement of such requirements and that women face barriers in participating for such. The aim of the study was to find out whether and how including women in deliberative bodies around communal forest governance affects participatory forest management practices. A pre-survey was administered to all participants one by one through a face-to-face modality. Thereafter, they deliberate the topic in groups (FGDs). After FGDs, participants took part in the post-survey. During FGDs and in each village, 42 participants were divided into 7 groups. Each group consisted of 6 participants. The first group had females only, the second group had 5 Females and 1 man, the third group had 4 females and 2 males, the fourth group had 3 females and 3 males, the fifth group had 2 females and 4 males, the sixth group had 1 female and 6 males, the last group had 6 males. In total, IPOR visited randomly selected 90 villages in four Traditional Authorities (TAs) of Zomba and Machinga districts. There were 3,768 individuals that participated in this study. The sampled villages were not more than 3km radius away from Zomba Mountain and Malosa Plateau. Data collection was done between August to September 2022. The study participants were men and women aged 18 years and above. For that project, IPOR collected both quantitative and qualitative data, cleaned data, supported data analysis, supported report and manual script writing, donated tree seedlings, and disseminate the findings of the study to the sampled communities. The preliminary study findings reviewed that 97% of the participants felt deforestation as a big problem in their communities. During group deliberations, participants discussed and voted for policies or solutions to curb deforestation and most of the participants (41%) voted for replanting incentives. As part of the study, participants were given K2,000 and asked if they could donate part of it towards purchase of tree seedlings for planting during the rainy season. 76% of the participants donated some money and together they contributed a total sum of K658,820.00 which was used to purchase seedlings. The participants showed interest in the restoration of the forest by contributing that amount of money. IPOR donated Mk6,000,000.00 towards purchasing of tree seedlings which were given to participating communities in February 2023. There were no major challenges encountered during the implementation of the project.