Advocacy for women’s right to land ownership through DRC’s land

Description of the project: This project advocates in 4 regions of DRC for national authorities and customary leaders to acknowledge the rights of women on lands and forests and strengthen their participation in climate action. Based on an assessment of women’s legal land tenure rights and local practices, an advocacy tool was created and used for meetings organized between women in these provinces and ministerial authorities or local decision-makers. This led to the recognition of women’s role in forest management and community development, and the allocation of land for agroforestry projects.

Climate impact: Women are the primary users of forest resources for family and economic needs. Their utilization is central for climate issues (mitigation and adaptation). In DRC, the 2015 national law upholds gender equity in all sectors, which is what CFLEDD relies on. The project allowed an increased participation of women in climate actions in the targeted regions: Central Congo, Bandundu, Equator and South Kivu.

Gender impact: The acknowledgement of women’s role in forest management and economic development, resulting in the allocation of land for agroforestry, allowed them to be received by customary leaders and progress towards a change in gender relationships in access to land ownership. This project is now taken as a best practice example of how to involve women in public management. CFLEDD obtained the publication of a national regulation requesting all Ministries to establish a Gender Focal Point.

Scalability / replicability: CFLEDD intends on sharing the project’s results in all DRC provinces through public administration offices, provincial ministries, local NGOs, customary leaders and the private sector. It intends to integrate gender equality and women’s rights in the country’s land reform and implementation of REDD+ programmes. The chosen methodology can be replicated in a number of countries facing similar land and climate issues.

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Restoring biodiversity in community forest by planting caterpillar trees

Description of the project: The Batwa Pygmies are discriminated against in DRC, particularly in their access to traditional forests, often overexploited. This project aims at restoring forest ownership by Pygmy populations (1,600 beneficiaries) and biodiversity in the Equator province by planting trees that host edible caterpillars in two forest areas of 100 ha each. Caterpillars used as food produce can mitigate food insecurity due to the loss of crops and generate a source of income for indigenous women. They are trained to rehabilitate damaged ecosystems and manage forests rationally and sustainably.

Climate impact: The Batwas’s community forests suffer from increasing deforestation due to industrial overexploitation and soil impoverishment through unsustainable agricultural practices. The project aims at fighting deforestation by rehabilitating local plants: planting trees that host edible caterpillars allows for successful restoration of the forest biodiversity. The project aims at a total annual production of 25,000 tons of caterpillars which could yield an annual income of up to $3,750,000.

Gender impact: The project is led by FECOFFA, an indigenous women’s organization, ensuring them total integration in the decisional process. Furthermore, FECOFFA trains indigenous families – women and girls primarily – to plant trees that host edible caterpillars, reinforcing their knowledge competencies. The income generated by the project also aims at improving the autonomy of the Batwa women involved.

Scalability / replicability: The project aims to limit discriminations suffered by the Batwas in the decisional processes related to forest exploitation in Congo and, in a broader scope, to reinforce the respect of specific indigenous peoples rights in policies linked to REDD+. The project was implemented in 4 villages: Bowele, Bolama, Bokenge and Boala Ngombe. Its economic model is simple and replicable.

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