Men for women meetings addressing issues of gender inequality as across cutting issues hindering active women participation in conservation. Engaging men in men for women meeting has helped remove cultural barriers , promoted better understanding of gender equality Solidarity pictures men and women , Batwa and non Batwa pledging to work together to promote n biodiversity conservation.
Traditionally, nature conservation programme activities were the preserve of men –around Echuya landscape in particular and of Kigezi region in general. For example, all the Collaborative Forest Management groups and all conservation organizations around Echuya forest were largely comprised of men. Gender Mainstreaming Conservation workshop and master organized by CEPF, Conservation international facilitated by FFI &TBA, served to concretize our long held notion that what men can do, so can women (or even better) if given chance. The two conventions inspired our will and resolve to concretize KIWODEDU’s gender main streaming component. Having learnt and shared experience with other participants on the concept of gender integration into conservation programing, and that men and women interact with and benefit from the environment differently, KIWOCEDU has been implementing CORB project on a gender mainstreaming paradigm. Consequently, both women and men have been active participants in all project activities and have both mutually benefited from the project.
Integrating gender into the CORB project has enabled women and men to build up active partnerships. Project benefits are shared equitably. As a result, men have come to accept that women have a lot to contribute to biodiversity conservation and restoration. One of the Collaboration Forest Management groups leaders (names withheld) who once advised that if CORB project is to be successful the number of women and Batwa should be minimized as much as possible, recently remarked
KIWOCEDU has broken the silence on women and Batwa participation in conservation-based activities. We never thought women were able to do conservation activities because they had never been brought on board before. We are surprised by how much they can do. Maybe it’s time we put some on the Forest Management groups”.