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News Article | May 4, 2017
Site: www.fao.org

Over 370 million indigenous peoples live in more than 70 countries across the world. While they constitute about five percent of the world’s population, they account for approximately 15percent of the world’s poor. Such is the case with indigenous Mayangna women living in the Bosawás Biosphere Reserve in northern Nicaragua, who face poverty, isolation, domestic violence and triple discrimination based on their gender, ethnicity and socioeconomic situation. The Forest and Farm Facility (FFF) partnership, hosted by FAO, has supported Mayangna women to sell local products and improve their livelihoods. Capacity building workshops have taught the women how to improve product quality and equipped them with market knowledge, while also helping to preserve their culture. At the same time, the FFF helps Mayangna women gain social and economic empowerment by strengthening the position of women’s producer organizations. This enhanced productive and organizational capacity is giving hope to many women in the community for a better future. Preserving culture and improving livelihoods Telma Maria Rena Ramirez, a member of the Bonanza municipality of Mayangna Territory, belongs to a group of indigenous Mayangna women who work with the bark of the native tuno tree to make handicrafts, such as bags, folders and wallets. “This is a raw material that our ancestors left which has rich value for us,” Telma says. “Now, as Mayangna women, we are starting to achieve economic independence for our families through the products we sell thanks to the tuno.” Through training, exchanges and continuous coaching, FFF support has helped Mayangna women improve the quality of their products, diversify markets and get better prices. Some 40 Mayangna women and young people from 10 forest and farm producer organizations attended a course on market analysis and development. Local forests have always provided the women with products such as fruits and fibres for their own households. By promoting tuno handicraft making as an income generating activity, the FFF is also helping to preserve the Mayangna culture. Over 200 women are also diversifying their income by selling and processing the fruit of the ramón or ojoche tree (Brosimum alicastrum). Thanks to a knowledge-sharing event with women’s producer groups from Guatemala and Honduras, the Mayangna women learned about the full potential of the ramón nut. “We have trained many women who did not know about the Nuez de Ramón, or breadnut fruit,” says Benedicta Dionisio Ramirez from a women’s producer group in Guatemala. “But now they have the knowledge and are not only consuming it but also selling it, including on international markets.” Striving for social empowerment Strengthening women’s leadership and self-esteem has been an important part of the capacity development plan. In 2015, the FFF collaborated with the Mayangna Nation’s board of directors and Mayangna women’s organizations to strengthen their engagement in policy processes. Together they addressed issues such as food security, domestic violence, and the improvement of production systems. Meetings were also held in each Mayangna territory to discuss strategies to improve the position of women’s organizations. Increasing internal unity and organization were identified as priorities, as was the need to increase the participation of these women in public institutions and decision-making. With FFF support, 130 women from nine territories attended the first Forum of Mayangna Women in the Autonomous Region of the North Caribbean Coast to strengthen women’s organizations in the respective territories. As a result, the women established the Mayangna Nation Network of Women. Forest and Farm Facility The FFF is a partnership, launched in September 2012, between FAO, the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), and AgriCord. It is guided by a steering committee of members affiliated with forest producer, community forestry and indigenous peoples’ organizations, the international research community, business development service provider organizations, the private sector, government, and donors. Current donors include Finland, Germany, Sweden, the United States and AgriCord.

Tacoli C.,IIED | Mabala R.,TAMASHA
Environment and Urbanization | Year: 2010

This paper draws on case studies in Mali, Nigeria, Tanzania and Vietnam to explore the different ways in which migration intersects with the changing relations between rural and urban areas and activities, and in the process transforms livelihoods and the relations between young and older men and women. Livelihood strategies are becoming increasingly diverse, and during interviews people were asked to describe their first, second and third occupations, the time allocated to each and the income that each produced. In all study regions, the number of young people migrating is increasing. This is influenced not only by expanding employment opportunities in destination areas but also by power inequalities within households, which means limited opportunities at home. It is increasingly common for young women to migrate, in part because they have no land rights and few prospects at home, in part because of more employment opportunities elsewhere. Young women also tend to move further than young men and for longer, and also remit a higher proportion of their income. Older men expect young men to migrate but often criticize young women for doing so, although women's migration is more accepted as their remittances contribute more to household income. However, if young women had better prospects at home, it would limit their need to move to what is often exploitative and insecure work. © 2010 International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED).

Stage J.,Gothenburg University | Stage J.,Umeå University | Mcgranahan G.,IIED
Environment and Urbanization | Year: 2010

Urbanization has been mentioned as one possible cause of higher food prices, and in this paper we examine some of the suggested links between urbanization and food prices. We conclude that urbanization, conventionally defined as the increasing share of the population living in urban settlements, is being conflated with related but separate processes, such as economic growth, population growth and environmental degradation. We discuss factors that affect food prices and conclude that the one important way in which urbanization in poor countries may affect food prices is that it increases the number of households that depend on commercial food supplies, rather than on own production, as their main source, and hence are likely to hoard food if they fear future price increases. One policy option for managing this is larger food reserves. Attempts to curb urbanization, on the other hand, would be ill-advised. © 2010 International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED).

Patel S.,SPARC | Arputham J.,Janata Colony | Bartlett S.,IIED
Environment and Urbanization | Year: 2016

This paper considers the collective knowledge about housing design and construction that was developed over 30 years by the Indian Alliance of the Society for the Promotion of Area Resource Centres (SPARC), Mahila Milan and the National Slum Dwellers’ Federation (NSDF) in its pursuit of secure shelter for the pavement dwellers in Mumbai, the most vulnerable people in the city. It traces the learning and innovations developed by these women pavement dwellers, mostly illiterate, in this one specific aspect of their much larger joint journey towards a safe, secure home in the city, something that seemed almost inconceivable when they began. The deeply political aspects of this larger journey are only briefly touched on here, allowing space to describe the hands-on learning about planning, design and building that was also essential in this process. The paper is one of an ongoing series tracing the work of this Indian partnership since 1986, examining the critical milestones that have emerged from discussion, reflections and collective exploration. © 2015, © 2015 International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED).

This paper continues the story of the Indian Alliance (the partnership of SPARC, Mahila Milan and the National Slum Dwellers’ Federation), as it designed and built housing with urban poor communities from 1986 to 1995. It focuses on three cases in Mumbai, where communities with precarious housing developed alternatives to resettlement and redevelopment. The housing solutions they developed were the product of negotiation with local authorities and collaboration with the evolving Alliance. The paper documents the collective learning – about the practicalities of construction as well as financing and relationships with local governments – that was instrumental to this work, and that influenced the Alliance’s strategies for inclusive community engagement and housing improvements in other locations. These strategies continue to develop and provide valuable lessons that can be applied to the implementation of the new urban Sustainable Development Goal. © 2016, © 2016 International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED).

Satterthwaite D.,IIED
Environment and Urbanization | Year: 2016

This paper reviews progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for water and sanitation in urban areas. Drawing on UN data, it shows the disastrous performance of many low- and middle-income nations in relation to the goal of halving the proportion without drinking water sources piped on premises and improved sanitation between 1990 and 2015. It also describes how even such a poor performance is actually understating the problem because of deficiencies in the data available. For water, there are no data sources with global coverage on who has “sustainable access to safe drinking water” (what the MDGs specify). UN statistics record whether households have drinking water sources piped on premises, but this does not necessarily mean the water is safe to drink or that there is a regular, reliable supply (what is implied by sustainable access). For what is termed “improved” or “basic” sanitation, the bar is set too low in the quality of provision needed in urban areas, so large numbers of urban dwellers said to have improved or basic sanitation still lack sanitation that greatly reduces health risks. The paper emphasizes that assessments of provision for water and sanitation need to make allowances for different contexts; what can work well in rural contexts does not do so in large and dense urban agglomerations. The paper ends with a discussion of what the experience with the MDGs for water and sanitation implies for the Sustainable Development Goals. © 2016, © 2016 International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED).

Grassroots organizations that have sought to scale up improvements to their urban neighbourhoods through engaging the state have found themselves drawn into relationships with professionals. The potentially negative consequences of such engagements have long been recognized. This paper explores the nature of relations between professionals and organizations of the urban poor, identifying and discussing associated relational tensions. It considers the ways in which one alliance of urban poor federations and support NGOs has responded to the challenge to build alternatives within professionalized mainstream urban development practice. © 2013 International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED).

Sverdlik A.,IIED
Environment and Urbanization | Year: 2011

This paper reviews the literature on health in the informal settlements (and slums) that now house a substantial proportion of the urban population in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Although this highlights some important gaps in research, available studies do suggest that urban health inequalities usually begin at birth, are reproduced over a lifetime (often reinforced by undernutrition), and may be recreated through vulnerabilities to climate change and a double burden of communicable and non-communicable diseases. The review begins with a discussion of papers with a life-course perspective on health, poverty and housing, before considering recent literature on chronic poverty and ill-health over time. It then discusses the literature on the cost, quality and access to care among low-income groups, and the under-recognized threat of unintentional injuries. This includes recent literature that discusses where low-income residents may suffer an urban penalty rather than benefiting from urban bias - although there are also studies that show the effectiveness of accessible, pro-poor health care. The concluding section examines emerging risks such as non-communicable diseases and those associated with climate change. It notes how more gender- and age-sensitive strategies can help address the large inequalities in health between those in informal settlements and other urban residents. With greater attention to the multi-faceted needs of low-income communities, governments can create interventions to ensure that urban centres fulfil their enormous potential for health. © 2011 International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED).

This paper describes how the Asian Coalition for Community Action (ACCA) programme seeks to use finance to augment community-driven development processes in 19 nations and enable their scaling up to the city and national levels. The lack of accessible and flexible finance is a key stumbling block for the majority of community development processes in Asia. The paper begins by examining how this programme approaches the issue of finance in the wider context of community-driven upgrading, and elaborates the role that community networks can play in encouraging collective activities. It then explains how community finance leads to the establishment of community development funds (CDFs), financial platforms made up of contributions from different sources, including community savings, ACCA seed funds and contributions from local/national government or other actors. These both encourage collaboration and increase the scale of what can be done. The paper gives examples of how CDFs can operate at different levels: locally, between groups of communities with shared problems and goals; on a citywide scale (107 citywide funds are now in operation); or at a national level, as in the Philippines, Cambodia and Sri Lanka. © 2012 International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED).

Since the early 2000s increasing attention has been paid to the relationship between biodiversity conservation and poverty reduction and a debate has ensued over various aspects of this relationship. One element of this debate has been concerned with an apparent lack of attention to biodiversity conservation on the international development agenda following the prioritization of poverty reduction. This paper explores whether this lack of attention is real or perceived by reviewing changes in biodiversity policy within the UK Department for International Development (DFID). It is clear that attention to biodiversity within DFID policy has changed significantly over time. There was strong support for wildlife conservation until the 1990s, including technical assistance, funding for integrated conservation and development projects (ICDPs), and community-based conservation. By the 2000s, however, the main focus had switched from funding wildlife conservation to mainstreaming biodiversity concerns into development policy. The degree to which the explicit focus on poverty reduction that emerged in the late 1990s drove this change is debatable. Changes in aid architecture, UK politics and clearer differentiations between the roles of DFID and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) in addressing biodiversity concerns have also shaped DFID's policy. Meanwhile, the political traction afforded to climate change demonstrates that it is possible for environmental issues to sit alongside poverty reduction in international development policy. However, communicating the societal implications of biodiversity loss has proved to be more challenging than for climate change. Better understanding of the mechanisms by which development assistance is disbursed would help the conservation community identify key opportunities for engagement. Copyright © Fauna & Flora International 2013.

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