ISCO 2004 – 13th International Soil Conservation Organisation Conference – Brisbane, July 2004 Conserving Soil and Water for Society: Sharing Solutions
THE ROLE OF WOMEN IN LAND MANAGEMENT AND CONSERVATION – A CASE FROM THE MIDDLE-HILL REGION OF NEPAL
S.S. AryalA and M. ZoebischB A District Agriculture Development Office, Kathmandu, Nepal. B Asian Institute of Technology, Pathumthani, Thailand.
In smallholder farming, women play an important role and their contribution to the farm income is often disproportionately high. The study aimed to understand the role and perceptions of women farmers in land management and conservation, and to identify possible pathways for better representation of women’s’ needs in onfarm land management and conservation. The study was conducted in a typical watershed in the Middle-Hill region of Nepal, with a high diversity of age, casts and education amongst the women. All farms in the area are subsistence-oriented. The study is based on semi-quantitative surveys of farming families. There are marked differences in the types of farm work between men and women, but also between different groups of women. Caste was not found to be an important criterion in defining the work of women, but rather education and age. Over the past years, more girls are being sent to schools and this inevitably limits their availability for farm work. This trend has also led to a loss of local knowledge on land management with girls and young women. Women without school education obtain their knowledge principally from older women and by practical experiences. Women with school education are able to understand extension messages more easily and they usually have a more ‘scientific’ approach to understanding things. These differences lead to different perceptions of farming and to problem solving. There are also noted differences between more remote villages and the villages closer to the road network and with better access to extension. Women.