Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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    ‘Even fish have an ethnicity’: livelihoods and identities of men and women in war-affected coastal Trincomalee, Sri Lanka
    Lokuge, Gayathri Hiroshani Hallinne - \ 2017
    Wageningen University. Promotor(en): D.J.M. Hilhorst, co-promotor(en): M. de Alwis; G. Frerks. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789463436182 - 237
    livelihoods - livelihood strategies - fishing communities - fishing - women - gender - conflict - war - sri lanka - south asia - middelen van bestaan - strategieën voor levensonderhoud - vissersgemeenschappen - vis vangen - vrouwen - geslacht (gender) - conflict - oorlog - sri lanka - zuid-azië

    Located within the nexus between identity and livelihoods, this thesis explores how the economic activities of fisher livelihoods are shaped by socio-cultural, political and identity dynamics, and how fisher livelihoods, in turn, shape and reproduce these dynamics in post-war Sri Lanka’s coastal district of Trincomalee. The analysis focuses on the economic sociology of fisheries, the inequalities and marginalities in livelihood spaces that are created through intersecting identities such as gender and ethnicity, and the way fisheries are governed—both formally and informally—in politically volatile contexts. This thesis argues that ethnic identity is mediated by other social identity categories, such as gender, location and type of livelihood activity, in the creation of unequal access to livelihood spaces. However, men and women often attempt to subvert structural discriminatory patterns, with differing degrees of success.

    Since the country became independent in 1948, Sri Lanka’s history has been dominated by conflict centred on competing ethno-political interests, particularly in terms of access to state power. The perceived privileging of the ethnic minority Tamils by the British colonial powers led to a series of political moves by successive governments in post-independence Sri Lanka. This included making Sinhalese the official language of the country and awarding special status to Buddhism in the constitution. Subsequently, unfavourable perceptions about the privileging of the majority ethnic group and their cultural, social and political symbols led to the formation of Tamil militant groups including the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

    Most discourses on conflict in Sri Lanka have strong ethnic dimensions. However, arguably, ethnic lines are used mainly for mobilising the masses for conflict. The killing of 13 Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) Army soldiers in 1983 in an ambush by the LTTE resulted in widespread anti-Tamil riots in the capital city of Colombo. This event is commonly identified as the trigger point for the protracted war between the Tamil militants and the GoSL. The war continued for three decades, with fluctuating degrees of intensity, until the LTTE faced a military defeat at the hands of the GoSL in 2009. However, the ending of the war does not translate linearly into a post-war condition in Sri Lanka, given the continued presence of the military in the directly war-affected North and East and the social and economic inequalities and tensions that create divisions within the country, undermining meaningful and sustained rebuilding efforts in Sri Lanka.

    The thesis begins with an introductory first chapter that presents the aims of the study, locates the research within the context of post-war Sri Lanka, describes the study areas and presents an overview of the methodological approach and theoretical frameworks used. Located in fish landing sites, markets and religious places, Chapter 2 focuses mostly on the livelihoods aspect of the thesis. It analyses how economic activities, such as fishing livelihoods, are deeply and intricately embedded in the cultural and social fabric of the daily lives of individuals, families, communities and institutions. This chapter provides a detailed analysis of how fishing livelihoods are more than an income-generating activity for men and women, considering the different inter- and intra-group value systems that apply to fisher-folk in their day-to-day practices. At the individual level, given the high risk involved in braving the seas every day, religion takes a central place in a fisher’s life, irrespective of their specific faith. This phenomenon is heightened by war-related insecurities and threats. However, individual and communal struggles over contradictory economic and religious values are an ever-present aspect of the fishermen’s religiosity. We found this process to be marked by rationalising and meaning making, embodied through the daily experiences of these fishermen and women.

    The findings show that people take advantage of the malleable nature of religious doctrine to mix, match and choose from different religions to suit the current need and the occasion. Religious beliefs and ideologies also create and sustain socio-political differences, which are further constructed by macro-level political discourses. At the community level, although there are complex, historical tensions between all of the religious groups in Trincomalee, with heightened tension and violence during the war years, Hindus and Buddhists share considerable religious complementarity. Muslims are increasingly marked as separate—in spaces of religious ritual, such as the Hindu temples, and also in terms of types of fishing livelihoods. Most Muslims also see themselves as separate. Through an analysis of how discourses on religious identity play out in everyday life, Chapter 2 argues that economic rivalries over fishing resources may spill over into—or be reinforced by—religious and ethnic tensions in the post-war context.

    Chapter 3 focuses more on the identity aspect of the thesis, with research based in the lagoons and shallow seas of Trincomalee. Using intersectionality theory, this chapter examines how the intersection of the social categories of gender, race, ethnicity and location creates structural inequality. Drawing upon narratives of Muslim, Tamil, Sinhalese and indigenous/Veder women catching and marketing fish in coastal Trincomalee, this chapter analyses how historical factors, such as population movements and war, have shaped the current realities and positions of women. Further, the chapter illustrates that, although a clear case can be made that certain groups of women are particularly disadvantaged at the intersection of ethnicity, caste and livelihood location, similarities in cultural gender norms across ethnic lines mean that the inequalities facing women may overshadow other identities.

    Although multiple inequalities affect these women’s daily lives and participation in activities, they are not passive victims; they use their own agency to negotiate for access to livelihoods. Nevertheless, the women engaged in various fishing-related activities who participated in this study appear to be completely invisible to the government fisheries management bodies. The resulting lack of institutional representation disadvantages these women in negotiations for space to engage in their livelihood activities. Registration of these women in coastal livelihoods would provide them with a first measure of recognition and empowerment, strengthening their chances of negotiating access to livelihood resources.

    With the ending of the three-decade-long civil war, changes have taken place in the main wholesale fish market in the conflict-affected coastal district of Trincomalee. These changes are reflected in the market structure and governance, as well as in the number and kinds of people inside the market. A marketplace that was formerly multi-ethnic and mixed gender has become dominated by male traders from the Sinhalese Buddhist ethnic majority group, excluding women and ethnic minority men. By focusing on the multiple masculinities of male wholesale dealers and their interactions with fishermen suppliers, Chapter 4 a) provides a nuanced analysis of the historical and contextual factors that shaped the political and economic hegemonising processes of the wholesale fish market; b) attempts to understand how, within this hegemonising process, the dealers embody and negotiate between overlapping ethno-nationalist, enterprising and patron–provider masculinities; and c) analyses how these diverse masculinities ultimately may contribute to the collapse of the gendered ethnic dominance at the market. This chapter adds nuance to the ethnicised discourse on war and livelihoods in Sri Lanka and globally. Further, the chapter also brings a masculinities approach to the study of contemporary maritime anthropology.

    Chapter 4 thus continues the focus on identities and attempts to understand ethnicity as socially constructed and as mediated by other forms of identity, such as gender, or, more specifically, through masculinities. Focusing on masculinities and the different subject positionalities of men at the wholesale market—a dimension that has been largely missing in Sri Lankan discourses on post-war livelihoods and identity—this chapter provides a nuanced analysis of how a unidimensional focus on ethnicity or gender is insufficient to explain the post-war power dynamics. It analyses how the embodiment and practice of masculinities, such as risk-taking entrepreneurs and dare-devil border guards, show both complicity with and resistance to political and economic domination or hegemony at a given point, and how this changes over time.

    The findings indicate that hierarchies of social and political power are dynamic. More specifically, the understanding of masculinity as plural, dynamic and negotiated, combined with the display of agentive power by subordinated or marginalised groups, results in hegemonies or structures of dominance that are continually shaped and reshaped at the everyday level. There are masculinities, rather than one way of doing masculinity. These different ways of doing masculinity challenge the dominant power structures and hierarchies.

    Chapter 5 focuses on a particular illegal fishing practice (disco net fishing) and examines how governance processes mitigate or exacerbate social tensions. The chapter centres on the interaction between formal and informal fisheries stakeholders and fishers, arguing that perceptions about the legitimacy of formal state actors in regulating fisheries strongly influence compliance behaviour. This chapter demonstrates that the perceived lack of legitimacy of the state in fisheries regulation was profoundly influenced by context and timing. The active interest taken by the state, aided by the military, in tightening fisheries regulation and enforcement measures after the end of the war violence was seen by the disco net fishermen as a strongly negative factor in their daily lives and livelihoods. When shared war-related violence forms the backdrop for state, non-state and citizen interactions and normative frameworks, negotiations regarding access to resources and regulatory efforts become not just a livelihood and resource management effort, but a broader and more sensitive political issue.

    Faced with the perceived failure of the state as a legitimate actor to regulate fisheries, Chapter 5 found that the disco net fishermen turn towards other forms of everyday politics, power dynamics and local legitimacies. However, these local legitimacies vary in how they manifest and draw power. Therefore, the contestations reported in this chapter are not simply about forum shopping between the formal state and informal community institutions and norms; rather, they are also about navigating within the formal and the informal rules of the game. The case of illegal fishing in this chapter clearly illustrates the need to understand fisheries governance issues as a manifestation of a larger problem at the level of state–society interaction, specifically regarding the legitimacy of the actors involved in governing fisheries in Trincomalee. Therefore, this chapter concludes that there is a need to understand and address fisheries governance issues as ‘wicked problems’ and as processes that need to go beyond conventional planning approaches.

    The concluding chapter of the thesis highlights five specific conclusions based on the findings presented in the previous chapters. First, the embedded nature of economic activities, such as those in fisheries, means that they are dynamic, time- and space-bound, and mediated by how men and women chose to embody and disembody morality, religiosity and competing or complementary value systems. These dynamisms in morality contribute to the social re/construction of fisheries as work. Second, in contexts such as Sri Lanka, where society is violently divided along different identity lines, especially that of ethnicity, inclusive and sustainable post-war rebuilding and meaningful community cohesion will require understanding that a) ethnic identity is socially constructed and mediated by the enactment of other identity categories; b) men and women use agentive power in accessing livelihoods, shaping and reshaping identity discourses through their livelihood activities; and c) hierarchies of power are dynamic in nature. Third, local-level legitimacies are as important as the electorally won, constitutionally accorded legitimacy of the state in resource governance. Consequently, discourses on state-building in post-war contexts need to pay careful attention to these legitimising processes, to how local-level legitimacies are shaped and reshaped, and to the influence of local-level legitimacies in strengthening or weakening state legitimacy. Fourth, continued legacies of war shape the lives of men and women. Fifth, the findings of this thesis add a granularity to the ongoing debate within post-war Sri Lanka on the different ways that social identities of men and women are (re)shaped through their access to livelihood opportunities and resources. Expanding the argument that economic institutions reshape gender at the individual, interactional and institutional levels, this thesis shows that economic institutions and activities shape the intersecting identities of men and women in complex ways, both in terms of how they see themselves and in the way they organise their social and political lives in the wider society.

    Navigating obstacles, opportunities and reforms: women’s lives and livelihoods in artisanal mining communities in eastern DRC
    Bashwira Nyenyezi, Marie Rose - \ 2017
    Wageningen University. Promotor(en): D.J.M. Hilhorst, co-promotor(en): G. van der Haar; J.G.R. Cuvelier. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789463431996 - 228
    livelihoods - livelihood strategies - mining - women - women workers - gender - gender relations - empowerment - congo democratic republic - central africa - middelen van bestaan - strategieën voor levensonderhoud - mijnbouw - vrouwen - vrouwelijke werknemers - geslacht (gender) - man-vrouwrelaties - empowerment - democratische republiek kongo - centraal-afrika

    For more than two decades, the exploitation and trade of minerals has fuelled armed conflict and fostered a climate of insecurity that has led to the deaths of thousands of people in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) (Katanga, Ituri, Maniema, North and South Kivu). This has been seen as a consequence of prolonged socioeconomic and political instability since the late 1980s and 1990s, when a civil war led to the collapse of the Zairian state and there were civil wars in neighbouring countries.

    As a result of this situation, many armed groups prospered in this region. Mineral exploitation, especially of tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold, formed an incentive for these groups to stay in the strategic areas of the territory (e.g. mining areas and those on the main transport routes) and to continue the fighting. The diggers and the local populations were the first victims of conflict over the control of the natural resources that directly or indirectly support the war. These people have been subjected to permanent violence and illegal taxation. Massacres, kidnappings, looting, forced labour and insecurity have been part of their everyday lives. Violence was primarily directed at those involved in the supply chain—from extraction to trading minerals outside the mining sites. In the eastern provinces of DRC, transporters, traders and diggers, as well as women and children attached to auxiliary work, such as crushing or washing the minerals, were taxed and ransomed under threats and subjected to the use of violence.

    Faced with this critical situation in DRC, the international community did not remain silent. A growing movement for greater accountability of multinational companies regarding human rights and greater transparency of supply chains of minerals exploited in DRC has emerged and become a reality in the global market. From simple voluntary initiatives to international norms, these approaches are based on the same principle: due diligence applied to ‘conflict minerals’.

    When conflict in DRC is discussed, two things seem to stand out systematically. First, there is the ‘resource curse’, referring to the impoverishment of local populations living in mining zones, corruption and poor governance. Second is the discussion of ‘sexual violence as a weapon of war’ against women. Little is said about the women who work at artisanal mining sites, except to draw a simplistic portrait of passive victims. The truth is that the mining community is far more complex than what has been pictured, and the high-risk mining sector is sometimes considered a source of opportunity for certain women.

    Indeed, in DRC, it is estimated that the artisanal mining sector accounts for 90% of the national production and directly or indirectly furnishes the livelihoods of almost 20% of the population, including many women. Traditionally, in several local cultures in DRC, women are not allowed to enter the mines. Instead, they are assigned to secondary tasks in the processing phase of mineral exploitation: transporting, crushing, washing and reprocessing. Some women sell alcoholic beverages or other goods, and others are engaged in prostitution.

    This thesis focuses on women and mining. Instead of viewing women at the mining sites as victims, the study took an actor-oriented perspective. This starts from the idea that all women at the mining sites have agency and are creating room for manoeuvre to overcome the difficult situations they face in the world of mining. However, there are large disparities in the room for manoeuvre available to different women; some women have very few options, whereas others can diversify and expand their opportunities.

    Taking this approach, the study sought to answer the main research question: How do differentially positioned women navigate and negotiate the transformations of artisanal mining in the context of mining reforms in eastern DRC?

    The research took place from 2013 to 2014, partly in the province of South Kivu (Nyabibwe and Kamituga) and partly in North Katanga, in the current province of Tanganyika (Kisengo and Manono). Two mining sites were chosen in each area, either because they were pilot sites for implementation of the reform initiatives (Nyabibwe and Kisengo) or because of large numbers of women working as miners (Kamituga and Manono).

    This research is part of the ‘Down to earth: Governance dynamics and social change in artisanal and small-scale mining in DRC’ research programme. This programme aims to understand the negotiated outcomes of the implementation of conflict mineral policy in the eastern Congolese artisanal mining sector on three important topics: gender, livelihoods and governance. This thesis project addressed the first aspect in particular and aimed to contribute to the debate on mining reforms from a gender perspective.

    Chapter 1 starts with a general introduction to the research objectives, questions and methods. It describes the process through which the studied mining sites were selected based on either the presence of iTSCi initiatives or a great number of women working in the mineral supply chain. This research has essentially relied on qualitative methods, such as interviews, focus groups, life histories and observation. This chapter also describes some of the personal experiences during the fieldwork period.

    Chapter 2, which was jointly written with J. Cuvelier, D. Hilhorst and G. Van der Haar, introduces the debate around the conflict-related discourse on women’s integration in the mining sector. We examined the rise in international-level attention from international NGOs regarding international norms and the ban of ‘conflict minerals’ exploited in DRC. The resulting reforms, which were intended to improve women’s lives, were observed to also ultimately have negative side effects. The prohibition of pregnant women from the mines was generalised to all women, and access to the mining economy become a matter of negotiation for women. In the same vein, taking the particular case of Nyabibwe, women working as intermediaries between traders and diggers, although their work was an illegal practice in the government’s view (especially because of traceability issues), managed to negotiate recognition for their activities by creating their own organisation and forming political alliances. The thesis sheds light on the consequence of protectionist measures on women in mining and lays the groundwork for the following chapters, which further explore the research problem.

    Chapter 3, jointly written with G. Van der Haar, introduces the world of women in the mining areas by presenting reasons that lead women to move to and install themselves in mining centres. The analysis examines push and pull factors and also considers the concept of social navigation. The findings demonstrate that there are multiple, interrelated reasons to migrate to and to install oneself in the mining areas. Push and pull factors have merged over time and resulted in complex motives. This chapter adds to the understanding of how women create new sources of revenue and seek, with varying levels of success, to mitigate situations of vulnerability.

    In Chapter 4, I analyse the activities that women perform in the mining areas in more depth and describe what differentiates these women. The chapter begins with a descriptive analysis of the activities directly and indirectly related to mineral exploitation, together with a description of prostitution in the mining areas. The study identified social capital, financial assets and credit, and livelihood diversification among the factors that may differentiate these women. The findings also show that the reform process itself is a factor of differentiation, because it creates unbalanced power relations between those who are able to afford an identification card (a requirement of the formalisation process) and those who are not. The chapter concludes that, although many scholars have argued that women are working in the dire situation of perilous, exploitative and marginalised conditions, some women gain power positions and manage to save money and invest in other activities. Through their social networks, some women are able to gain access to the mining economy and improve their situation.

    In Chapter 5, jointly written with J. Cuvelier, we explore how, as is the case for men, there are also elites among women. These elites can be considered ‘big women’. Their power is based on either customary or official authority. With the implementation of the reform initiatives, the importance of official authority increases, to the detriment of customary authority. Based on the case of Kisengo and, in particular, on two female elites—one based on customary and the other on official power—we analyse how elite women negotiate and maintain power. Especially interesting for this study was how both ‘big women’ took advantage of their privileged access to the public authorities to negotiate informal arrangements for a group of women working in the coltan supply chain, allowing their clients (followers) to circumvent certain restrictive regulations concerning women’s access to mining activities. These elite women managed to control access to labour opportunities for women in the local mining economy.

    Chapter 6, jointly written with D. Hilhorst, explains that, following the developments of the reform initiatives, there was no longer only one discourse (conflict-related) to be taken into account when analysing the problem of women’s access to the mining economy. At international level, there is also a more inclusive discourse (gender mainstreaming). This coexists with the local ideology based on culture, in which women are marginalised and discriminated against. The civil servants who must implement the law regarding the integration of women in mining activities must face the coexistence of these different ideologies, which are sometimes contradictory. This has direct consequences for women’s access to the mining economy, although some women do create room for manoeuvre by forming alliances with civil servants.

    Concluding this thesis, Chapter 7 responds to the concerns raised in the introduction. Starting from the concept of agency, and taking an actor-oriented approach, the thesis concludes with three key points about how the reform initiatives affect the positions of woman: 1) The research has demonstrated that the socio political situation in the DRC has given rise to different types of gender discourses at international level which in addition to local culture and believe have impacted on the access of women to the mineral exploitation. 2) The research discovered that women in mining have different needs and different ways of dealing with their situations: they are agents who make decisions based on either strategic opportunity or survival.3). Finally, the research demonstrated that the reform process is likely to increase particular forms of marginalisation in the mining labour regimes. They may also allow for the creation of power dynamics based on new social networks that discriminate against those who were already vulnerable. Nevertheless, the research witnesses cases of women, who have benefited from the presence of the reform initiatives to improve their conditions and create more opportunities.

    Dutch Divergence? : Women’s work, structural change, and household living standards in the Netherlands, 1830-1914
    Boter, Corinne - \ 2017
    Wageningen University. Promotor(en): E.H.P. Frankema, co-promotor(en): E.J.V. van Nederveen Meerkerk. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789463431835 - 254
    women - work - household budgets - living standards - gender - cultural history - case studies - netherlands - labour market - macroeconomics - microeconomics - western europe - work sharing - participation - vrouwen - werk - huishoudbudgetten - levensstandaarden - geslacht (gender) - cultuurgeschiedenis - gevalsanalyse - nederland - arbeidsmarkt - macro-economie - micro-economie - west-europa - verdeling van werk - participatie

    Women’s work has never been a linear process of extending participation. Instead, female labour force participation (FLFP) has extended and curtailed throughout time. This dissertation studies a period of contraction: the nineteenth-century Netherlands. This country makes an important case study to explore the factors influencing the trajectory of women’s work. First, FLFP rates as recorded in occupational censuses were low compared with surrounding countries. Second, Dutch industrialization took off relatively late and until well into the twentieth century a significant part of the labour force worked in agriculture, in contrast to neighbouring countries such as Britain and Belgium.

    This dissertation contributes to answering the following question: Why were Dutch female labour force participation rates lower than in surrounding countries during the period 1830-1914? I consider the following explanatory factors: social norms, the opportunity costs of women’s labour, and structural change. My conclusions about the relative weight of each factor are as follows. First, social norms regarding women’s role within the household following from the growing desire for domesticity have affected the trajectory of women’s labour. I show that married women withdrew from the registered labour force and instead, performed work that could be combined with domestic chores and that remained invisible in most statistical sources. However, these social norms were likewise strong in other western European countries, such as Britain, where FLFP was higher. Furthermore, Dutch FLFP was already low around 1850 when the transition to the male breadwinner society in western Europe started. Thus, it is no conclusive explanation for the aberrant Dutch trend in FLFP.

    Second, men’s real industrial wages started to rise after 1880 and became increasingly able to take care of a family of four. However, this was not true for men’s agricultural wages. Women’s wages in both sectors hardly increased at all during the nineteenth century in both sectors. I therefore conclude that industrial households were already able to realize a breadwinner-homemaker type of labour division from the 1880s, whereas agricultural households still relied for an important part on other sources of income besides the husband’s wage labour by 1910. Thus, men’s wages profoundly influenced household labour division. However, in Britain, men’s real wages were even higher, but so were FLFP rates in the censuses. Thus, if the extent of men’s real wages was indeed the most important explanatory factor, we would have expected even lower participation rates in Britain than in the Netherlands.

    Third, the impact of economic structure and the changing demand for labour on FLFP has been a pivotal factor of influence. I show that the structure of the local economy had a statistically significant effect on the chance that a bride stated an occupation in her marriage record. Furthermore, in agriculture women increasingly performed work in a private business which was usually not registered in the censuses. Moreover, technological change in the textile industry and the transition to the factory system negatively impacted women’s position in the labour market because married women could no longer combine domestic chores with wage labour. Finally, many parts of the production process that had traditionally been women’s work were taken over by men when mechanization progressed.

    Considering all my research results, I conclude that the structure of the Dutch economy is the most important explanation for the exceptionally low Dutch FLFP rates during the long nineteenth century.

    Microcredit to women and its contribution to production and household food security
    Namayengo, Mayanja Muyonga Faith - \ 2017
    Wageningen University. Promotor(en): G. Antonides, co-promotor(en): J.A.C. van Ophem. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789463431101 - 235
    credit - women - agricultural production - food security - crop production - animal production - household income - household budgets - food supply - uganda - krediet - vrouwen - landbouwproductie - voedselzekerheid - gewasproductie - dierlijke productie - gezinsinkomen - huishoudbudgetten - voedselvoorziening - uganda

    The contents of this dissertation are based on a quantitative and qualitative survey that was conducted to assess the contribution of microcredit access of women to production and household food security status, and the factors associated with enterprise performance and food security outcomes. In order to do so four main issues were addressed: (a) assessment of the borrowing context and the match or mismatch between lender and borrower goals and objectives; (b) the extent to which taking microcredit affected business input expenditures and performance of non-farm MEs; (c) the extent to which taking microcredit affected production input expenditures and outputs from farming activities; (d) the changes in household food security associated with microcredit.

    The study was conducted among female microcredit clients of BRAC, one of the largest micro lenders in Uganda. The overall study design was a panel approach, involving two waves of data collection. In one analytical approach, baseline data for a group of existing borrowers (Old borrowers=OB) and incoming borrowers (New borrowers=NB) before they received their first loan, was used in a quasi-experimental cross-sectional design to assess the effect of borrowing as the difference between the two groups using propensity score matching (PSM).

    In an alternative approach, two waves of data for the NB and a control group (CG) of women who never borrowed from BRAC or other MFI, was subjected to difference-in-difference analysis (DID), with Kernel matching, to assess differences between borrowers and non-borrowers.

    We found that BRAC reaches poor, less educated subsistence farmers who also run diverse non-farm microenterprises (MEs). The group-lending model BRAC uses is effective in ensuring loan repayment. However, much as BRAC gives out production loans, many women borrow to meet lump-sum monetary needs, in addition to investment in non-farm MEs. High costs of borrowing, limited loan amounts, the stress caused by weekly loan repayment and resolution of lump-sum cash needs were identified as reasons for women to stop borrowing. The diversion of loans to non-production activities, the size and types of businesses, and loan terms and processes were identified and factors that could diminish the contribution of microcredit to ME expansion and income increase.

    Assessment of the effect of borrowing on non-farm ME performance revealed that much as borrowers invested reasonable fractions of received loans into non-farm MEs leading to improvement in monetary worth, the borrowing context, loan repayment terms, type and size of microenterprises did favour higher profits.

    In regard to farm production, borrowing did not lead to extra recurrent crop and animal production expenditures. The prevailing subsistence nature of crop and animal production did not seem to favour extra investment. As such, borrowing did not improve household food availability, through own production.

    Assessment of the effect of borrowing on household food security revealed a decline in food security following the uptake of microcredit. The analysis reveals robustly lower dietary diversity among long-time borrowers than among new borrowers, and larger reductions in dietary diversity scores among new borrowers, after one year, compared to controls. The reduction in dietary diversity was traced to a reduction in animal-source food, fruit and sugar intake. This was partly explained by observation of an apparent shift from own production to reliance on food purchase by households, which is not accompanied by substantial increase in income.

    Overall, we found that taking microcredit did not lead to improved farm and non-farm production or food security among the rural women borrowers studied. This was mainly attributed to nature of activities the women engage in, the loan terms and processes, and the local context the women operate under.

    Women’s participation in tourism in Zanzibar : an enactment perspective
    Maliva, Nelly Samson - \ 2016
    Wageningen University. Promotor(en): Rene van der Duim, co-promotor(en): Karin Peters. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789462579231 - 206
    tourism - zanzibar - participation - women - emancipation of women - labour - income - entrepreneurship - women workers - family life - society - tourist industry - swahili - standards - social values - gender relations - toerisme - zanzibar - participatie - vrouwen - vrouwenemancipatie - arbeid (werk) - inkomen - ondernemerschap - vrouwelijke werknemers - gezinsleven - samenleving - toeristenindustrie - swahili - normen - sociale waarden - man-vrouwrelaties

    To shed more light on the position of women in tourism, in this thesis I examined the ways women in Zanzibar have incorporated working in tourism in their daily lives by comparing those who work in tourism as entrepreneurs with employees, working in hotels and restaurants. Conceptually my thesis is framed within Weick’s theory of enactment, with special focus on the concept of sensemaking. I used this particular framework to understand how women either reinforce or resist gendered identities by constantly ‘enacting’ their environments. My research showed that the position of women in Zanzibar is highly influenced by religion, marital status and level of education. However, since women make sense of the environment in different ways, perceive different opportunities and constraints, and on the basis of these make different choices, I recommended that programmes customised according to the differences among women should be developed. Second, I argued that these tailor-made programmes should focus on four interventions: education and training, working conditions, self-organisation and microcredit.

    Behind the veil of agricultural modernization : gendered dynamics of rural change in the Saïss, Morocco
    Bossenbroek, L. - \ 2016
    Wageningen University. Promotor(en): Jandouwe van der Ploeg; Margreet Zwarteveen. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789462578982 - 171
    agricultural development - modernization - gender relations - women - social change - rural areas - family farms - morocco - north africa - landbouwontwikkeling - modernisering - man-vrouwrelaties - vrouwen - sociale verandering - platteland - familiebedrijven, landbouw - marokko - noord-afrika

    The Moroccan countryside is marked by rapidly changing rural realities. The Moroccan government frames and promotes these changes as linear development towards modernity and progress for all thereby only focusing on the experiences of some audacious men – ‘entrepreneurs’ and ‘modernizing farmers’. The aim of the study is to unveil Morocco’s agricultural modernization plan by illustrating how agrarian processes in the agricultural plain of the Saïss are not a logical, self-evident or smooth transition to a higher stage of development or modernity. They are a form of globalizing capitalist development which is messy and contradictory, and which is marked by, and re-produces existing gender social hierarchies. By putting the experiences that often “fall away” from agrarian analysis at the heart of my study I am to explore how gender and social differences come to matter in process of agrarian change and are intimately linked.

    Inspiring Women at WUR
    Ris, Karien - \ 2016
    Wageningen : Wageningen University & Research centre - ISBN 9789462578128 - 96
    gender relations - gender - women - emancipation of women - female equality - netherlands - universities - gelderland - man-vrouwrelaties - geslacht (gender) - vrouwen - vrouwenemancipatie - gelijke behandeling van de vrouw - nederland - universiteiten - gelderland
    Le mouvement des femmes au Sud-Kivu, République démocratique du Congo : Une analyse de la société civile
    Hilhorst, Thea ; Bashwira Nyenyezi, M.R. - \ 2016
    Wageningen : Wageningen University, Wageningen UR (Publication occasionelle 11) - 79
    women - woman and society - organizations - gender relations - grassroots organizations - civil society - congo democratic republic - east africa - vrouwen - vrouw en samenleving - organisaties - man-vrouwrelaties - grassroots organisaties - maatschappelijk middenveld - democratische republiek kongo - oost-afrika
    The report is the result of a research among women's organisations in the civil society of South-Kivu.
    Could nutrition sensitive cocoa value chains be introduced in Ghana? Report of a brief study that identifies opportunities and bottlenecks
    Vries, K. de - \ 2015
    Wageningen : Centre for Development Innovation, Wageningen UR (Report CDI / Wageningen UR, Centre for Development Innovation 15-105) - 22
    food consumption - households - gender relations - women - cocoa - undernutrition - nutrition - ghana - africa - west africa - voedselconsumptie - huishoudens - man-vrouwrelaties - vrouwen - cacao - ondervoeding - voeding - ghana - afrika - west-afrika
    This study looks at whether introducing nutrition sensitive cocoa value chains in Ghana is feasible and recommends how this could be done. After establishing the cocoa farming and nutrition context in Ghana, the study zooms in on one cocoa producing sub-district to collect detailed data in order to provide recommendations.
    Everyday social dynamics and cultural drivers of women's experiences with HIV/AIDS : voices from Buhaya, Tanzania
    Foster Githinji, V.E. - \ 2015
    Wageningen University. Promotor(en): Paul Richards, co-promotor(en): Todd Crane; Harro Maat. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789462575806 - 124
    gezondheidszorg - humane immunodeficiëntievirussen - acquired immune deficiency syndrome - huishoudens - man-vrouwrelaties - vrouwen - voedselzekerheid - tanzania - oost-afrika - afrika - health care - human immunodeficiency viruses - acquired immune deficiency syndrome - households - gender relations - women - food security - tanzania - east africa - africa

    Everyday social dynamics and cultural drivers of women’s experiences with HIV/AIDS: voices from Buhaya, Tanzania is based on ethnographic research conducted in the village of Nsisha in northwestern Tanzania. Like most households in this region, Nsisha has been indirectly or directly affected by HIV/AIDS, meaning that either household members have been infected by HIV/AIDS, or households have absorbed children from their extended family and clan who have been orphaned by HIV/AIDS. In whole, the tiers of research and the in-depth questions asked and detailed answers recorded yield four different cross-sectional analyses of the ‘ecology’ of poverty and HIV/AIDS in Buhaya: (1) one which cuts across social stratification within the community, arguing who has more social capital and how this affects their vulnerability; (2) a second which focuses primarily on food and agricultural issues, and more specifically – bananas; (3) a third cross sectional category which centers on climate factors; (4) and a fourth and final category for this thesis which cuts across age categories and focuses on the social variation of widowhood.

    Aspirations and everyday life of single migrant women in Ghana
    Tufuor, T. - \ 2015
    Wageningen University. Promotor(en): Anke Niehof, co-promotor(en): Hilje van der Horst; Chizu Sato. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789462575578 - 187
    migratie - rurale migratie - ruraal-urbane migratie - platteland - stedelijke gebieden - vrouwen - man-vrouwrelaties - samenleving - gezinsstructuur - ghana - west-afrika - migration - rural rural migration - rural urban migration - rural areas - urban areas - women - gender relations - society - family structure - ghana - west africa

    Female labour migrants in West Africa including Ghana have been widely perceived as followers of male relatives. Since the late 1990s, the increasing movement of young women to cities in the region has drawn attention to this phenomenon and this study discovered females as actors in the migration process. Women have been moving from the rural North to the urban South, especially to Accra, to live in the city’s slums. Their migrations are not associational; these journeys are now independently pursued by women with aspirations to realise their ideals of a better life. Female migrations make up a growing share of migrant labour streams within Ghana. Among the migrants who arrive in Accra every day there is an increasing number of single young women as well as divorced women and neglected as wives from the North of Ghana. Economic explanations do not fully account for such moves, because men and women perform different productive and reproductive roles within the northern households. The varying degrees of gender and intra-household inequality and the women’s anticipation of life changes after migration spur the motivations and aspirations behind the journeys.

    This study on single migrant women (SMW) was conducted in two sites. The first site was in four districts in the Northern Region with its capital Tamale. The Dagomba are the pre­dominant ethnic group here. They practise subsistence farming and most of them are Muslims. The second study site was the Old Fadama (OF) market in Accra. By tracking the migrant women from the North to OF, the study connected the spaces of area of origin and area of destination in the migration process. A mixed-methods approach was applied in data collection, combining qualitative methods such as focus group discussion, case study and life history with a survey in the OF market.

    While in the past the restrictions on women’s sexuality and autonomy prevented women from migrating alone, now northern households provide an incentive for young women to migrate. The women cited a gain in autonomy and freedom as the most important motivation for their move. In the household of their fathers or future husbands in the North, their autonomy is constrained. However, through their earnings in Accra, the women prepare themselves for an expensive religious marriage ceremony, invest in housing or education and also buy modern goods. Young migrant women from the rural Dagomba communities primarily engage in accumulating goods for their dowry, whereas older women accumulate capital for investment in their children’s education. The older women who have no plans anymore of returning to the North to marry, especially those who are successful in Accra and have achieved the status of ‘market mummies’, seek enjoyment in the present but also use their wealth to secure construction of rooms of their own in the North. The women save money, assemble housewares and send remittances with their own independent income.

    In Accra, most young women engage in petty trading. In the OF market in Accra these single migrant women from the North generate livelihoods through the adoption of both market and non-market based strategies by extending and prioritising moral obligations to community members beyond their immediate households, instead of just focusing on maximisation of profits. Communities of old and young market women have built a ‘moral community economy’ through, among others, engaging in reciprocal labour, gift giving, and childcare and food sharing. This contributes positively to household food security and social well-being among the market women and migrant settlers in the OF community. SMW’s livelihood generation is sustained through social relations among women, in which also age, ethnicity and regional background play crucial roles. SMW give support to and receive benefits from the community through moral obligations and ethnic commitment. The analysis of these strategies contributes to the understanding of the intersections of household, livelihood strategies, gender and markets in urban settings.

    In Accra, these women not only need to find income earning activities, they also have to reinvent themselves as consumers because of the abundant and varied consumption options in Accra as compared to the North. Through consumption of food, hairdos and leisure activities, they shape their new urban identities. However, through consumption they also try to secure the desired next phase in their life course. Despite earning very modest amounts of money with activities such as hawking or food vending, SMW save for their future and adapt their consumption to enable such savings. They save in money and in kind, buying items to set up their own hearths in the North for the preparation of meals, an iconic married woman’s activity, and to be able to enter a preferred, i.e. religious, marriage. They also spend money on dressing, styling their hairdos and looking good in order to attract suitable marriage candidates. Alternatively, the successful older women in the market place invest in conspicuous consumption to enact their informal position of ‘market mummies’, women who are well established and suitable mentors to more recent arrivals. The women shape their own life courses through consumption. The consumption practices SMW engage in are crucial for understanding the dynamics of single migrant women’s agency.

    After migration, SMW are more likely to exert influence on the timing of their marriage and the choice of the partner. In the place of origin there are transformations of the gendered subjectivities women experience after having produced livelihoods away from home. The investigation of the reintegration experience of SMW who return to their place of origin revealed the everyday experience of returned migrant women within their households in rural northern Ghana. The study found the household to be an ‘arena of everyday life’; the word arena indicates dynamics and even struggle. These are visible in the provision for daily needs, and also in the income generating activities the women try to initiate to exercise their agency in generating livelihood. In this household arena, we recognized the gender dynamics around decision-making on livelihood generation as key to under­standing the reintegration experience of returned migrant women. The analysis drew on feminist geographers’ insights of gender as process situated in a specific place. Critical attention was paid to how gender and household are co-constituted, to shed light on the multiple and contradictory ways in which gender, livelihood, and household are constructed.

    Applying the lens of gender as situated process enabled capturing the significance of everyday micro transformations, resulting in a framework that wove together the domains of gender, household and livelihood. Contingent formations of intra-household dynamics revealed variations in the ways subjection and activation are enacted. The boundaries of women’s triple shifts (household work, farming, income generation) are not fixed but are constantly negotiated. On an everyday basis women have to juggle multiple subjectivities, such as being wives, daughters-in-law, mothers and petty commodity producers and traders. They do the work their husbands and senior women require them to do in order to secure their marriage, which is considered a lifelong security in this specific context, but they try to set limits to this work.

    The general conclusion this study highlights is that the young women in the North successfully negotiate to realize their aspirations to migrate and, upon return, both subject themselves to the domestic and patriarchal order and contest it by using the means and skills they acquired to improve their bargaining position. This causes cracks in the prevailing order, which suggest the malleability of the patriarchal system. The observed processes underpin the relevance of conceptualising migration as an intrinsic factor in broader processes of development and social transformation.

    The double burden of malnutrition: obesity and iron deficiency
    Cepeda López, A.C. - \ 2015
    Wageningen University. Promotor(en): Michael Zimmermann, co-promotor(en): Alida Melse-Boonstra; I. Herter Aeberli; S. Osendarp. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789462574465 - 158
    obesitas - overgewicht - ijzergebrekanemie - gebreksziekten - slechte voeding - ontsteking - ijzerabsorptie - ascorbinezuren - ascorbinezuur - vrouwen - kinderen - kindervoeding - bloedvolume - mens - obesity - overweight - iron deficiency anaemia - deficiency diseases - malnutrition - inflammation - iron absorption - ascorbic acids - ascorbic acid - women - children - child nutrition - blood volume - man

    Background: The world faces a “double burden” of malnutrition; this is true especially in transition countries like Mexico. The co-existence of obesity and iron deficiency (ID) within a person has been clearly demonstrated in several studies but the mechanisms linking them remain largely unknown.

    Objectives: To investigate possible mechanisms that link obesity and iron status through the following specific objectives: a) reviewing the existing literature; b) investigating the coexistence of obesity and iron deficiency at the national level in Mexico; c) assessing and comparing iron absorption and blood volume (BV) in healthy, non-anemic women from different body mass index (BMI) categories, and evaluating if ascorbic acid improves iron absorption in overweight (OW) and obese (OB) women; d) evaluating if differences in BV explains reduced iron status in OW/OB women; and e) evaluating whether fat loss in obese subjects decreases inflammation and serum hepcidin and thereby improves iron absorption.

    Methods: a) A literature review was conducted using Google Scholar and PubMed search engines; b) data from the 1999 Mexican Nutrition Survey, which included 1174 children (aged 5–12 y) and 621 nonpregnant women (aged 18–50 y), was used to assess the relationship between BMI, dietary iron, and dietary factors affecting iron bioavailability, iron status, and inflammation; c & d) healthy, non-anemic Swiss women (n=62) (BMI 18.5-39.9 kg/m2) consumed a stable-isotope labelled wheat-based test meal, without (-AA) and with (+AA) 31.4 mg ascorbic acid. We measured iron absorption, body composition by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA), blood volume by carbon monoxide (CO)-rebreathing method, iron status, inflammation and serum hepcidin; e) We performed a 6-month, prospective study in OB (BMI, ≥35<45 kg/m2) adults from Mexico (n=..), who had recently undergone laparoscopic sleeve-gastrectomy (LSG). At 2 months and 8 months post-LSG, subjects consumed a test drink with 6mg 57Fe as ferrous sulfate and were intravenously infused with 100 μg 58Fe as iron citrate and we measured body composition by DXA, iron status, hepcidin and inflammation.

    Results: a) Obesity-related subclinical inflammation and its effects on hepcidin levels seem to be the most plausible explanation for the link between ID and obesity; b) the risk of iron deficiency in OB women and children was 2-4 times that of normal-weight individuals at similar dietary iron intakes. In addition, we found that C-reactive protein but not iron intake was a strong negative predictor of iron status, independently of BMI (P < 0.05); c) dietary iron absorption was lower in OW/OB versus normal weight subjects (Geometric mean (95%CI): 12.9 (9.7, 16.9)%) vs 19.0 (15.2, 23.5)%, P=0.049). Moreover, the enhancing effect of ascorbic acid on iron absorption in overweight/obese (28%) was only half that in normal weight women (56%); d) OW/OB women presented higher absolute blood volume and lower serum iron compared to the normal weight group. BV (r2=0.22, β=-0.29, P=0.02) was a negative predictor for serum iron when adjusted for body iron stores. We developed an equation to calculate BV in OW and OB women considering weight, height and lean body mass; e) Fat loss lead to a reduction of inflammation (Interleukin-6) and hepcidin concentrations. In iron-deficient subjects (n=17), iron absorption significantly increased after fat loss (Geometric mean (95%CI): 9.7% (6.5-14.6) to 12.4% (7.7-20.1) (P=0.03), while in iron sufficient subjects (n=21), it did not change (Geometric mean (95%CI): 5.9% (4.0-8.6) and 5.6% (3.9-8.2)) (P=0.81)).

    Conclusion: Increased hepcidin concentrations, along with subclinical inflammation, limits dietary iron absorption in subjects with excessive body fat, especially in iron deficient individuals. Due to a dilutional effect of blood volume, ‘true’ hypoferremia might be overestimated in populations with a high prevalence of obesity when using serum iron as an indicator. OW/OB individuals may require: higher dietary iron intake combined with iron absorption enhancers to keep their iron status in balance; and a reduction of the obesity-related inflammatory process in order to ensure adequate iron absorption.

    Adaptive collaborative governance of Nepal's community forests: shifting power, strenghtening livelihoods
    McDougall, C.L. - \ 2015
    Wageningen University. Promotor(en): Cees Leeuwis, co-promotor(en): J.L.S. Jiggins. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789462572881 - 322
    bewonersparticipatie - governance - sociale samenwerking - sociaal leren - natuurlijke hulpbronnen - bosbouw - gemeenschappen - middelen van bestaan - adaptatie - sociaal kapitaal - vrouwen - armoede - nepal - community participation - governance - social cooperation - social learning - natural resources - forestry - communities - livelihoods - adaptation - social capital - women - poverty - nepal

    Short Summary

    Cynthia McDougall--PhD Dissertation

    Knowledge, Technology, &Innovation Chairgroup (WASS)

    Adaptive collaborative governance of Nepal’s community forests: Shifting power, strengthening livelihoods

    Community-based natural resource governance has taken root around the globe. And, yet, as demonstrated by community forestry in Nepal, such programmes have generally not yet lived up to their goals and expectations. After decades of implementation, community forestry in Nepal faces several key challenges. Central to these challenges are: the need to increase equity in community forest user group decision making and benefit sharing; and, to increase the livelihood benefits from community forestry overall. The research project on which this study is based sought to address these challenges at the community forest user group scale. The research objective was to contribute empirically-based insights regarding if and how adaptive collaborative governance of community forests in Nepal can constructively influence engagement, livelihoods, social capital and conflict—especially in regard to women and the poor. Further, the research aimed to elucidate the underlying issue of power in community-based natural resource governance. In particular, it sought to contribute deeper, theoretically-based understanding of the persistence of power imbalances in community forestry, and of the potential of adaptive collaborative governance to shift such imbalances.

    The Women’s Movement in South Kivu, DRC: A civil society analysis
    Hilhorst, D. ; Bashwira Nyenyezi, M.R. - \ 2014
    Wageningen : IS Academy on Human Security in Fragile States (Occasional paper / Special Chair Humanitarian Aid and Reconstruction 11) - 62
    congo democratic republic - congo - women - civil society - woman and society - woman's status - women's movement - civil law - qualitative analysis - humanitarian aid - development aid - democratische republiek kongo - congo - vrouwen - maatschappelijk middenveld - vrouw en samenleving - positie van de vrouw - vrouwenbeweging - burgerlijk recht - kwalitatieve analyse - humanitaire hulp - ontwikkelingshulp
    What policy says and practice does : gender, household and community in rural water provision in Tanzania
    Mandara, C.G. - \ 2014
    Wageningen University. Promotor(en): Anke Niehof, co-promotor(en): Hilje van der Horst; Ron van Lammeren. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789462571334 - 201
    watervoorziening - plattelandsgemeenschappen - waterbeheer - geslacht (gender) - vrouwen - huishoudens - duurzaamheid (sustainability) - tanzania - water supply - rural communities - water management - gender - women - households - sustainability - tanzania
    Summary

    Since 1945 to date the governance of the rural water sector in Tanzania has passed through multiple phases, from the colonial era to the times characterized by liberalization, decentralisation and privatization. Generally, changes in the policies and governance strategies reflect a correspondence with national and international reforms in the political and economic spheres. In turn, these changes made the sector to experience pendulum swings over time in terms of policies and achieve­ments.

    The main objective of this study was to examine how gender, household and community shape the appropriateness, accessibility and sustainability of domestic water schemes in rural Tanzania, and to explore whether and in what ways domestic water services take women’s gender needs into account. The study aimed at a critical analysis of the policy-practices nexus in terms of appropriate­ness, accessibility and sustainability in the contexts of the household and the community as representing the water users and hosting local water management structures, respectively.

    The theoretical pillars of the study are ecological modernisation theory, gender theory, the concept of users’ perspective, and the community management model. These were blended into one theoretical framework. The fieldwork for the study was conducted between October 2011 and September 2012 in the rural districts of Kondoa and Mpwapwa in Dodoma region, in central Tanzania. It consisted of three overlapping phases in which quantitative and qualitative research methods were used to collect data from multiple units of analysis. Data collection for primary data was done through the household survey, focus group discussions, interviews with key informants, village and women case studies, participatory sketch mapping, and field observation. Secondary data was collected through the analysis of information from relevant documents at the village, district and national levels. Overall a total number of 334 respondents were involved in the study.

    The study found that accessibility to the improved domestic water services is associated with seasonality and that, surprisingly, the average distance to the water distribution points increases during the rainy season. This is because then few water distribution points are operational. The mean number of users per water point is higher than the standard set by the policy guidelines, because the planning and designing of the water schemes rely on population projections and do not take migration and the spatial distribution of the population into account.

    It was found that there is a difference between the existing water policy and practices related to domestic water uses and management at the micro levels of the household and the village. Within the household, the provision and use of domestic water is organised based on the gendered division of labour in domestic production. At the community level, the same pattern of the gendered division of labour influences men’s and women’s participation in the management of the public water schemes. At both levels the gendered division of labour and performance of men and women is shaped by social norms and traditions that are rooted in patriarchal culture. Women relate to domestic water more closely than men because they are the managers, providers and users of water for carrying out their reproductive roles in the household. This makes women knowledgeable about the appropriateness of water for domestic uses. However, women’s preferences and perceptions on the appropriateness of the domestic water are rarely integrated in the designing and planning phases of water projects. The government, in collaboration with the international community, has established women quota to ensure women’s participation in local decision-making spaces and management structures. However, the informal structures which are embedded in the normative traditions within and beyond the household, explicitly and implicit­ly deter women’s involvement in the public management of the water schemes.

    Water users’ participation, and women’s participation in particular, was very minimal in the pre-implementation phase of village water projects. Hence, the users’ perspectives are poorly represented in the early stages of the water schemes. In general, there was low community participation not only before but also after implementation of the water schemes. Additionally, the sustainability of the rural water infrastructures is endangered mainly because water using communities have been assigned technical and managerial roles without being equipped with the corresponding capabilities. The district water departments which are responsible to provide technical support to the villages, are also confronted with shortages of human and financial resources plus inadequate transport facilities.

    The findings from this study reveal the need to review the existing water policy and change the current community management approach. This thesis concludes by identifying ways forward through research, programs and policies to improve the rural domestic water provision in Tanzania.

    The making of quality : a technography of small-scale women's groups and a medium-scale firm processing oil palm in Ghana
    Adjei, B.E. - \ 2014
    Wageningen University. Promotor(en): Paul Richards, co-promotor(en): Sietze Vellema. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789462571143 - 162
    palmoliën - kwaliteit - verwerking - vrouwen - groepen - kleine bedrijven - middelgrote bedrijven - agrobiodiversiteit - duurzaamheid (sustainability) - ghana - palm oils - quality - processing - women - groups - small businesses - medium sized businesses - agro-biodiversity - sustainability - ghana

    Summary

    Palm oil is an important product in local diets and domestic markets in the South. The current attention for market quality standards and certification schemes in the palm oil sector has the risk to marginalise the role of palm oil in local food security and to direct public and private investments exclusively to industrial and export-oriented production systems. The rise of a variety of standards in the oil palm sector in recent times particularly the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) has impacted on agricultural practices and the social and ecological environments of oil palm production worldwide. In this way, standards shape the way food provision is governed, with a consequence for how to organise production.

    This thesis was motivated by the dominance of a technological trajectory organised around hybrid oil palm varieties, the strong focus on standards as instruments for sustainable development, and the formation and inclusion of organised farmers in the Ghanaian oil palm sector. The widespread use of red palm oil in local diets, processed from Dura oil palm fruits, and the employment and income opportunities for grouped women are less present in policy documents and scholarly literature. Oil palm sector policy in Ghana is largely biased towards the use of the high yielding hybrid planting materials and industrial processing. This raises a question how small-scale processors are able to make quality red palm oil, which utilises the unique traits of Dura? Starting point for this thesis is the array of opportunities for employment and income generation, especially for small-scale processors in Ghana, grounded in the making of oil with specific quality traits from a specific oil palm (elaeis guineensis).

    The original assumption of the research was to explore whether a niche market for the specific traits of red palm oil, particularly in the diaspora, would offer new opportunities to combine sustainable livelihoods for women and the conservation of agro-biodiversity. Preliminary field work, however, showed that such a linear relationship does not exist. Hence, the research shifted attention to an important interface in the chain of red palm oil, namely the groups of women processing the fruits. The focus of the research shifted to first understand how women processors actually make this quality and how they organise around this process of material transformation. This is in line with the research program that takes a strong interest in developing a theory of practice, wherein the actual process of material transformation is linked to matters of social organisation, i.e. individual women working jointly in a group formation. This led to the question how the women’s groups processing oil palm organise and stay intact for longer periods (> 10 years), despite fluctuations in the availability of fruits, uncertainties in the market, and different social positions and organisational roles of the women members.

    The objective of the thesis was to investigate social organisation and technological choices in the practices of material transformation in small-scale palm oil processing, and to assess to what extent and in what ways these practices, grounded in changeful natural and socio-economic environments, are reshaped or constrained by public policy, quality standards and value chain governance. This thesis investigates the making of quality with the aim i) to unravel the interactions between social action and organisation and material transformation processes in the making of quality; ii) to examine how non-localised rules and routines (e.g. in public policy and chain governance) affect collective performance. The thesis adopted a case study around the performance of groups of women processing palm oil and how they performed the tasks of milling, cooking and sourcing practices. It is through the performance of such tasks that the groups relates to its social, the natural and institutional environments. The findings were generated by using a technographic line of inquiry to unravel the socio-technical and institutional arrangements in the making of palm oil.

    Contrasting the case study of how the women’s groups organise to perform the making of oil with the normative organisational model for organising value chains and production helped to put in context the observed threats posed by the market and policy environments.

    The introductory chapter introduces the palm oil, the oil palm sector, as well as the dominant role of women in small-scale processing. Next the thesis investigates how women organise and manoeuvre changeful natural and institutional environments in two empirical chapters (2&3). The thesis makes a shift to a meso level analysis of standards based on a single case study (chapter 4). The concluding chapter discusses the additional value of the main findings from separate empirical chapters and their theoretical implications and policy recommendation for the wider oil palm sector.

    Chapter 2: analyses everyday practices of the women’s groups, revealing how they organise to perform different tasks in processing. The practice of processing includes descriptions of how women join together in milling the fruits, ensure quality, and manage risks, transfer skill, techniques, and know-how leading to learning and inclusion of new members. The chapter questions why the women combines collectivity and individuality which underlies the performance of tasks and persist? It substantiate that the group form, structure and functioning responds to the making of quality. Consequently, group organisation is considered as a continuous process based on evolving practices rather than as an organisational fix based on technicalities and incentives. The case study reveals collection action as an emergent outcome which does not resemble more formal perspectives on how an organisation is supposed to work. The performance of tasks also links the groups to agro ecological conditions which are investigated in chapter 3.

    Chapter 3 investigates the stability of the groups in relation to seasonal fluctuation in the supply of fruits. It argues that group persistence lies in the capacity of the groups to manoeuvre changeful institutional and material environments within which they perform. The chapter provides insight into how the practice of processing is linked to agro-ecological conditions and the mixture of crops grown on the farms. It identifies strategies and arrangements used in sourcing by individual women within the groups and network relationships. It documents the different institutional arrangements for securing fruits all year round and how they are managed. The chapter shows how the differentiation within the groups provides the flexibility and capacity to handle fluctuation in raw material supply.

    A complementary focus of the research is on two processes that may enable or constrain collective performance. Chapter 4 analyses a case study of a medium-scale firm which processes palm oil for the local and the diaspora market. It argues that market standards may create a hidden imbalance in favour of better endowed (oil palm) firms while those with internal strength for developing products with unique qualities may be stifled. The chapter investigates how firm manages quality in the market, sourcing and cooking different recipes of palm oil of specific quality. The analytical question underlying this chapter is to unravel how firms respond to trade ad industrial standards. The data show that fluctuation in fruit supply required the use of different strategies to source both fruits and oil from other sources to ensure regular supply of product on the market. The evolving practices in cooking different recipes also required the use of skill, techniques, and know-how in processing to make palm oil with certain consistency in taste, colour, and texture that consumers require similar to the practices of the groups of women. The study shows that evolving practices in the making of quality palm oil may contradict prescribed standards. The case studies (2,3 &4) reveal diversity in the way firms and groups targeting different end use markets manage skilful tasks, use skill, tools and techniques which draws upon endogenous capabilities to manoeuvre changeful environments to make quality. The chapter opens a discussion on the RSPO, that its form of governance lacks the flexibility exhibited by the women’s groups and the firm to handle changeful environments in the making quality oil palm.

    Chapter 5 explores how small-scale groups continue to perform with regards to policies focusing on hybrid varieties and industrial production of palm oil. The chapter argues that policies which tend to rely strongly on single recipes, e.g. expansion of hybrids or certification may have a lower level of flexibility to handle unpredicted situations. The chapter substantiates this by re-visiting the original assumption of the thesis that the unique qualities of Dura will translate into its conservation. It shows that market-led strategies which primarily considers mono-cropping systems and aims to realise biodiversity conservation outside the boundaries of local production systems may constrain the capacity of farmers to navigate in changeful natural and economic conditions. It underscores preference for Dura in food preparation, threats to the conservation Dura, and the different configurations: based on small-scale processing embedded in diverse farming systems and agro-ecological conditions, which supports Dura conservation.

    The general discussion (Chapter 6) builds upon the main findings from the empirical to conclude that it is the diversity in groups, firms, and plant material that explains quality as an emergent property. It synthesises the technographic insights and findings and critically discusses the linear explanation of collective action. It shows why an evolutionary and processual perspective, related to task performance and materiality, should be brought into the discussion. This insight has important implication for methodologies, policies, and development interventions, which are more inclined to strive for uniform practices rather than building on the nitty-gritty details of the making of quality by small, female processors or medium, processing firms. The thesis relates the social analysis of performance and collectivity in the making of palm oil to the wider pattern of declining agro-biodiversity, and, accordingly, contributes to a broader discussion on organisational processes and management of development in agricultural food systems/ systems of food provision.

    Feminization of agricultural production in rural China : a sociological analysis
    Meng, X. - \ 2014
    Wageningen University. Promotor(en): Jandouwe van der Ploeg, co-promotor(en): J. Ye; H. Wu. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789461738158 - 178
    vrouwelijke arbeidskrachten - landbouwproductie - plattelandsvrouwen - familiebedrijven, landbouw - feminisme - sociologie - geslacht (gender) - man-vrouwrelaties - positie van de vrouw - vrouwenemancipatie - vrouwen - landbouw - plattelandsontwikkeling - china - female labour - agricultural production - rural women - family farms - feminism - sociology - gender - gender relations - woman's status - emancipation of women - women - agriculture - rural development - china
    Rural-urban migration of male labour force is an unstoppable process in China. Although some women also migrate to work in cities, most of these women return to the villages after marriage. They need to take care of the children and the family and to work on their smallholder farms. In general, women‟s labour participation in agriculture has increased due to the migration of the male labourers and they have become the main labour force in smallholder agriculture. This thesis is a sociological analysis on the impact of this change on the situation of these women and on smallholder agriculture from the women‟s perspective.
    Analysis of collective performance in the Malian shea sector: from fields to markets
    Sidibe, A. - \ 2013
    Wageningen University. Promotor(en): Thomas Kuijper, co-promotor(en): Sietze Vellema; B. Te´me´; H. Yossi. - Wageningen : Wageningen UR - ISBN 9789461738011 - 124
    vitellaria paradoxa - participatie - collectivisatie - prestatieniveau - vrouwen - coöperaties - landbouwcoöperaties - markten - mali - vitellaria paradoxa - participation - collectivization - performance - women - cooperatives - agricultural cooperatives - markets - mali

    Shea butter extracted from kernels can be found in cosmetic and food products. Organising women to make butter for international markets has been central to development strategies in the Malian shea sector. However, only a limited number of women are actually member of and benefit from such groups. Detailed study of cooperatives revealed that non-members played an important role, and a case study cooperative showed how their interests were accommodated by becoming less dependent on a single, international market and by re-arranging its linkages with traders. Hence, rather than pushing women into a pre-defined practice, the making of butter, this thesis shows the relevance of understanding how women with different social positions engage in the performance of collective tasks in fields and markets. I conclude that co-operation emerges in evolving practices rather than from formal organisational models.

    The empowerment of women farmers in the context of participatory plant breeding in Syria: towards equitable development for food security
    Galie, A. - \ 2013
    Wageningen University. Promotor(en): Paul Struik; J.L.S. Jiggins, co-promotor(en): S. Ceccarelli. - [S.l. : S.n. - ISBN 9789461730077 - 234
    plantenveredeling - syrië - vrouwen - participatie - voedselzekerheid - empowerment - plattelandsvrouwen - plant breeding - syria - women - participation - food security - empowerment - rural women
    Livelihood strategies : gender and generational specificities of rural levilihoods in transition
    Nizamedinkhodjayeva, N. - \ 2013
    Wageningen University. Promotor(en): Han Wiskerke, co-promotor(en): P.P. Mollinga; Bettina Bock. - [S.l.] : s.n. - ISBN 9789461734501 - 166
    strategieën voor levensonderhoud - platteland - overgangseconomieën - cultuur - sociologie - geslacht (gender) - vrouwen - besluitvorming - landbouwhuishoudens - oezbekistan - centraal-azië - livelihood strategies - rural areas - transition economies - culture - sociology - gender - women - decision making - agricultural households - uzbekistan - central asia
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