Empirical Analysis of the Reality of Gender Inclusiveness of Participatory Forest Management (PFM) Approach: The Case of Chilimo-Gaji Forest, West Shewa Zone, Oromia Regional State, Ethiopia

Tesfaye Samuel Saguye


Governments from the commencement of nation-states have usurped forest management and use rights from local forest dependent societies as they perceive these societies as being opportunistic non-conservationists, thus dismissing their capability to manage their forests on a sustainable basis. As a result of this, the Conventional forest management system and practice have failed to improve the forest condition as well as to sustainably address the livelihood of the local community. In recognition of continued deforestation, degradation and loss of biodiversity associated with the mainstream  “fences and fines’’ forest management system a new regime has practiced in a few national forest priority areas since 1990s, emphasizing the need to incorporate the aspiration of local people in forest conservation strategies in Ethiopia. This study was conducted in Chilimo-Gaji forest which is one of the oldest PFM intervention sites in Ethiopia. The main purpose of this study was to analyze the reality of gender inclusiveness of the newly introduced forest management system. Both qualitative and quantitative methods of data collection particularly, semi-structured questionnaire survey, focus group discussions and key informant interviews were employed. Analysis of the data reveals that participatory forest management process in the study area was women’s exclusionary in reality even from the lowest nominal typology of participation to the highest in hierarchy of participation, interactive and empowerment in entire participatory forest management process. The study also identified the exclusionary factors which are constraining gender participation such as exclusionary membership rules, gender division of labour, poor educational back grounds, and poor enactment of already established rules and so on. So, the study suggests serious empowerment and awareness creation interventions should be taken and membership rules and women’s inclusion in key decision-making positions should receive due attention.

Keywords: Gender, Participation, Chilimo-Gaji-Forest, Forest Cooperatives

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