TRY Oyster Women’s Association empowers a highly marginalized and economically vulnerable segment of Gambian society. The Association is an established group of 500 female oyster harvesters, with organized leadership, from 15 villages in the Greater Banjul area of The Gambia. It is creating positive change and economic transformation in local villages. Rather than struggling individually, as they once did, women harvesters are now part of a flourishing and widely recognized local enterprise.
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Researchers and practitioners have extensively discussed the potential of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) strategies to help or harm forest-based communities, but less attention has been paid to the gender dimensions of this conservation intervention. Safeguard policies aim to ensure that REDD+ does not harm women, but interventions that do not seek to address gender imbalances at the outset could end up perpetuating them.
We will highlight experiences doing research in the Makira Natural Park, northeastern Madagascar that investigated the ecosystem provisioning service value of wildlife as food and botanical ethnomedicines. Understanding the monetary value of faunal and floral biodiversity in this region may help to understand the local conservation psychology and what motivates people to harvest beyond the limits of sustainability. Specifically, our results provide an estimate of the cost of offsetting economic losses to local populations from the enforcement of conservation policies.
The ongoing project “Incorporation of Sacred Forests into the Protected Areas System of Benin,” supported by UNDP and financed by GEF, preserves tracts of forest with religious and ecological significance in Benin. These sacred forests are at high risk, and the recent addition of Sacred Forest as a category of Benin’s protected areas legislation paves the way for greater protection of the forests included in the project scope as well as other forests around the country.