Over the last year or so, we have built up a great working relationship with the women of Nosy Hara. The Women’s Association of Ampasindava, in particular, is very well organized and active. As well as facilitating the provision of maternal and neonatal health care facilities, C3 has worked with the Women’s Association to raise awareness of the Nosy Hara Marine Park regulations and the importance of sustainable management of marine resources. This video shows the Women’s Association parading through the village on International Women’s Day 2013 to help to educate the local community about the importance of the protection of endangered marine species such as sea turtles, sharks and dugongs.
The remote rural communities of Sakalava ethnicity are the poorest in Madagascar and the logistical barriers that prevent easy access to the project sites have led to their general exclusion from national development programmes. The majority of community members are completely reliant on a subsistence lifestyle, fishing and farming daily to feed their families, making them extremely vulnerable to environmental change and shocks to natural resource availability. Women in developing countries are commonly marginalized and often not adequately considered in mainstream development projects.
At our project site, both men and women play different productive, economic and social roles. There are gender differences in resource use patterns, access to land, natural resources, equipment, labour, capital, outside income, and education, and in the control of these resources. Participation of women in natural resource use is rarely fully acknowledged and tends to receive little, if any, economic remuneration.
By focusing on women’s cooperatives, providing training and access to markets women will be fully empowered to generate income for their communities and therefore socially included. Women are often involved in multiple activities (such as combining aquaculture with vegetable gardens or fish-smoking), whereas men’s work is often clearly focused on one set of inter-related activities (e.g. fishing). Thus women are in fact more likely to accept and develop alternative sources of income. Increased access to healthcare facilitated by our interventions will significantly affect the perception of women’s role in society and promote their inclusion in the long-term future in decision making processes.