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Home arrow News arrow Latest arrow Study Site Gender Case
Study Site Gender Case PDF Print E-mail
Written by Erik van den Elsen   
“The gender plan is excellent and exemplary for many other projects and should be highlighted beyond DESIRE ” - Statement by the EU commission in their 3rd review report.

Ribeira Seca, Santiago, Cape Verde
The DESIRE gender plan shows gender issues in the institute as well as in the study sites. It makes gender issues visible with a yearly monitor. Therefore a questionnaire is used in the research institutes of the partners where in the study site monitor questions are being asked to produce a gender poster.

DESIRE’s study site gender posters show that changes through the new land use management bring time and possibilities for women and men. This means not a self evident process towards gender equality. For gender equality it is important to keep both men and women informed about monitoring systems, technological developments, health, education and funding opportunities.

An interview with Isaurinda Baptista, scientific manager of INIDA, DESIRE’s partner organization in Cape Verde illustrates gender in the study site, the Ribeira Seca basin.  (
Click the Read More... button below.)

The Gender reports (for years 1, 2 and 3 including all study site gender posters) are available

as downloads in: Download > Project Documents (public) > Gender

Study site gender case

DESIRE makes a difference in the 7th framework program. DESIRE approaches land degradation and desertification interdisciplinary. By using promising alternative land use management and conservation strategies based on close participation of scientists with stakeholder groups.

Men and women stakeholders monitor the strategies. By monitoring the tasks and participation of the stakeholders, DESIRE tries to find out whether there is any gender related behavior or exclusion. This gives an opportunity to show and act towards social equality for a balanced and sustainable development.

Case Cape Verde
Isaurinda Baptista, scientific manager of INIDA, DESIRE’s partner organization in Cape Verde, explains that in the institute there are some family friendly working conditions. For example when your child is sick you can go and take care, still, it is hard to work while raising little children. In her own professional career planning she took into account the age of the children.

In the study site (Ribeira Seca watershed), Isaurinda stresses that the poverty is especially high at the women headed households because they stay with their children in the house and spend a lot of time (about 30% of their time) preparing food. Another 40 % of their time is used in the search for water and fuel wood. The knowledge on farming that they have, comes mainly from their parents, and that does not change easily, even with technical assistance.

In the DESIRE project workshops, the study site stakeholders, including a considerable number of women farmers, chose measures to mitigate environmental degradation problems in the area. The two selected soil conservation technologies are: (1) establishment of vegetation barriers on maize/beans fields with 3 different species (Aloe vera, Leucaena leucocephala and Cajanus cajan) and (2) afforestation with fruit trees (mango, papaya, avocado, etc) on more humid areas. The planting of fruits trees will provide the women a source of income as they establish small business by selling the fruits or producing jams from them. As these women are enthusiastic about learning how to read and write, it appears that, with these soil conservation technologies they are willing to learn more about environmental management.

Even though women access to finance is not very common, if they are organized into community associations they have source of income by providing remunerated services. These associations are formed by representatives of the communities, headed by women or men. They can be contracted for construction work or monitoring. Some associations dispose of local saving systems that can be used to establish credit lines for small businesses or to help their own community. These associations exist all over Cape Verde and have an umbrella organization in Santiago.

The follow up of the DESIRE workshops will be technical, regarding the implementation of vegetation barriers and fruit tree planting. They will be locally organized with the people from these community associations. These women, as local stakeholders, will be asked to keep monitoring the improvements and impacts. For DESIRE it will be interesting to know the impact of the measures combined with the participatory strategy with stakeholders, including their gender situation.
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