Poonam Jusrut earned a PhD in Geography at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in August 2016. She has a BA (Hons) in Geography from the University of Delhi, India and an MSc in Development and Environment from Royal Holloway, University of London, UK. Originally from Mauritius, Poonam’s research interests revolve around development studies. She is also interested in using geospatial analysis in her research.
Instrumentalizing Gender: When Elite Capture Intersects with Gender-Focused Actions of Forest Management Projects in Senegal
Gender mainstreaming in Senegal’s two long-standing forestry projects, Wula Nafaa and PROGEDE, marked a milestone in forest management. Since 1998, rural communities can legally produce charcoal in their forests but not everybody within those rural communities is able to gain from the opportunities offered by this change. One of the initiatives of the two projects to promote equitable access to forest resources was through increasing the participation of women in forest resource management and exploitation. Despite the provisions made by the projects to include women in forest management and use, profits from wood-based charcoal production accrue mostly to women in privileged groups or to the male family members of those women.This paper shows how participation, an important component of the gender approach, is construed at different stages of projects and how it, in turn, affects who gets access to charcoal production and trade. The analysis focuses on how elite capture shapes the participation of women. It demonstrates that the avenues opened for women to participate in forest management and use do not challenge the specific gender-biased contextual contours of rural societies in Tambacounda. Efforts to involve women in the forest management and production end of the charcoal sector favor elite women over poorer and less advantageously positioned women, overlooking that stratification among women and within local population that prevented the building of equitable access.