Gendered Sharing of Decision-making Powers, Responsibilities and Rights over Non-Timber Forest Resources in Cherangany Hills Forest, Kenya
Building on the Theory of Feminist Political Ecology (FPE), this paper examines the gendered sharing of intra-household decision-making powers, responsibilities, and rights over the exploitation of non-timber forest resources within Cherangany Hills Forest, Kenya. A cross-sectional survey research design was adopted, semi-structured questionnaires were administered to 280 Community Forest Association (CFA) members (140 male and 140 female) that were randomly sampled, and in-depth interviews were conducted among 35 key respondents (20 CFA members, 7 CFA leaders, 2 village elders, 2 assistant chiefs, 2 forest guards, and 2 forest officers) that were purposively sampled. Quantitative data was analysed in the form of mean and standard deviation and presented in the form of percentages and graphs. This paper highlights that husbands and wives shared the decision-making powers over the use of forest land for crop farming to a ‘Great Extent’. There was substantial gendered sharing of intra-household decision-making over the use of forest land for livestock feeding. However, there was minimal gendered sharing of intra-household decision-making with regard to the collection of firewood, herbal plants, indigenous vegetables, and fruits from the forest as well as beekeeping within the forest. The husbands and wives shared the responsibilities and rights over crop farming to a ‘Great Extent’. There was substantial gendered sharing of responsibilities and rights over the collection of fodder and grazing of livestock and collection of herbal plants from the forest. But there was minimal gendered sharing of responsibilities and rights over the collection of firewood, beekeeping and honey harvesting, collection of wild vegetables and picking of indigenous fruits from the forest. There is a need to enlighten, encourage and support both men and women living adjacent to forested areas to understand forest rights, embrace on-farm forestry, and use forest resources sustainably
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