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Gender and

Deforestation in
East Africa

Kate Sjovold
East Africa, as
defined by the ● 80% of deforestation will occur in 11 places (East Africa is one)
UN ● In East Africa, 6 million hectares of have already been lost land 12
million more projected by 2030.
● East Africa is also home to a number of different forest types
supporting a large diversity of species, with 15% of wildlife
population found nowhere else in the world
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Drivers of
Deforestation:
- conversion of
forested land to
agricultural land
- livestock harvesting
and grazing
- overharvesting (timer
and fuelwood)
- resource extraction
(ie: mining)
- infrastructure
expansion

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Impacts of
Deforestation Environmental Impacts: Social Impacts:
- Soil erosion - Decreased crop yields
- Flooding → Food insecurity
- Drought - Poor water quality,
- Decreased drought→ water
agricultural insecurity
productivity - Exposure to storm
- Decreased water surges
quality - Increased time,
- Habitat loss money, and energy
- Species loss spent to secure food,
- Greenhouse gas water, and fuel for
emissions survival
- Climate change

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- Women are the majority of the region’s poor
Impact on - Limited financial independence
Women in - Gendered division of labor
East Africa - Agricultural production
- Food, water, and fuel procurement
- Long term farming roles (planting, harvesting)
- Gender-based discrimination
- Lack of education
- Exclusion from leadership positions
- Prevented from environmental education,
training, policy discussion/implementation, and
benefits of such

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Evaluating What is UN REDD+?

UN REDD+ - Market-based incentive program


- Goal: reduce deforestation to reduce GHG emissions →
mitigate climate change
- How it works: provides monetary compensation to developing
countries that reduce their emissions through reducing
deforestation and preventing land use change
Criticisms?
- Worsen existing gender inequalities
- Fails to benefit the right people
- Fails to change existing power structures that prevent women
from developing, participating in, and benefitting from REDD+
policies

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Green Belt Movement WECAN
Other - focus on empowering women - promote women’s leadership
Programs - community based and inclusion in environmental
policy initiatives
- tree planting and water
harvesting campaigns - provide training, education,
and support to foster
- planted over 51 million trees
environmental protection efforts
in Kenya
- international advocacy
- advocacy work nationally
- civic and environmental
education seminars
- Analyze REDD+ and alternatives that may be more effective
like the Green Belt Movement in Kenya and WECAN
Research - Collect and analyze literature about the policies and programs
Plan associated with deforestation in East Africa and assess their
impact on women
- Come up with policy suggestions to create more effective and
inclusive programs → distribute suggestions to applicable
organizations and government bodies