Environmental experts have highlighted the need to explore and fully utilize the potential of women to contribute to biodiversity conservation and sustainable development.
According to experts, women in developing countries are both highly dependent on ecological goods and services and highly vulnerable to environmental degradation and crisis, which is an opportunity to take the lead in conservation.
Talk to The new timesAloysie Manishimwe, conservation expert and researcher, said women have the potential to become conservation leaders by making decisions and leveraging gaps and opportunities in biodiversity conservation.
Women have the opportunity to lead the conservation of protected areas, but also of other domains. For example, 80% of the Rwandan population depends on agriculture. This means that conservation agriculture has huge opportunities. They can farm while doing conservation at the same time on hills and valleys, she said.
“Women are more in contact with nature where they spend a lot of time than men. Therefore, they have huge opportunities for conservation, especially the conservation of agriculture from which they directly derive income,” said Manishimwe.
She said there are huge opportunities in community conservation as well as conservation agriculture.
Community conservation is an approach to land conservation that includes more people and starts by listening to many different voices in the community.
Conservation agriculture is an agricultural system that can prevent the loss of arable land while regenerating degraded land
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), conservation agriculture promotes the maintenance of permanent soil cover, minimal soil disturbance and the diversification of plant species.
It enhances biodiversity and natural biological processes above and below the ground surface, which contributes to more efficient use of water and nutrients, thereby improving sustainable agricultural production.
Women champions in conservatories
Manishimwe pleaded to incentivize women who thwart predictions leader in biodiversity conservation.
During the recently concluded Africa Protected Areas Congress (APAC) in Kigali, Beatrice Lempaira, working for Northern Rangelands Trust – a membership organization owned and run by the 43 community conservancies in northern and coastal Kenya, testified participants how women have become champions in conservation through conservatories.
“We have a model that puts communities at the heart of conservation. For true conservation to happen, we need communities at the center. But most important is the voice of women on conservation. We also work with local indigenous women who come together for conservation,” she said.
She said the organization trained women in beadwork – an economic empowerment program – to generate income as motivation to participate in conservation.
The program has supported over 1,300 pastoral women who have learned traditional beadwork skills.
“We connect them to local and international markets,” Lempaira said.
BeadWORKS artisans earned 12 million Kenyan shillings in labor compensation for creating beaded products in 2021, up 28% from 9.3 million Kenyan shillings in 2020, a she declared.
She explained that a portion of sales goes to conservation as conservation fees to support wildlife.
“The conservation work we do is community conservation where we work with communities close to protected areas.
Today in northern Kenya, conservatories use a model where wildlife protectionlivelihoods and herding co-exist with people,” she said.
Conservatories build communities of peace in conflict
Peace Coordinator Josephine Ekiru, who is the recipient of the 2021 United States Institute of Peace (USIP) Women Building Peace Award, said women in conservation have also initiated the building of peace. peace in environmental issues.
“Where I come from, there was a lot of conflict between communities – pastoral communities were fighting over water and pasture,” she said.
She explained that the northern rangelands were under increasing pressure to support the growing number of cattle.
In 2009, his community launched a reserve– an organization concerned with the preservation of natural resources that needed to find ways to manage natural resources for the benefit of both livestock and wildlife.
“We are now connected and successful in protecting natural resources without conflict through conservancies. They understood the importance of wildlife instead of pressuring it for grazing. We have peace ambassadors who even spot poachers and looters,” she said.
Women’s Carbon Project
She added that they have also embarked on the implementation of The Northern Kenya Carbon Projectthe world’s first large-scale grassland soil carbon project.
The carbon market allows nations or organizations to fund carbon reduction projects in other countries and count avoided emissions toward their own climate goals.
It is one of the few large, landscape-scale carbon removal companies currently on the market.
It is planned to eliminate and store 50 million tons of CO2 over 30 years, equivalent to the annual emissions of more than 10,000,000 cars.
Selling this sequestered carbon from community rangelands in northern Kenya will create much-needed additional income for communities and bolster conservation efforts, including improving the habitat of four endangered endemic species – the eastern black rhino. ‘Est, Grevy’s zebra, reticulated giraffe and Beisa oryx, as well as the impacts of climate change.