Sustainable investments: Women's contributions to natural resource management projects in Africa
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The paper analysis five African case studies to answer some questions relating gender, livelihood security and sustainable environments. Men and women face different opportunities and constraints. The paper also identifies the conditions that allow effective involvement in natural resource management, and the development of indicators to clarify progress in terms of impact, process, and sustainability. Results suggest that if policy, programs, and projects are to encourage sustainable, effective, and equitable management of resources, they must focus on the concerns of locals and how they relate to the state, the economy, and the resource base. What is needed is to develop projects that are gender centered and focusing in capacity-building. The data supports the concept that women must play a major role in resource management decisions in order to achieve livelihood security and sustainable environments in Africa. The case studies highlight the importance of: 1. continuous collection, monitoring and evaluation of gender-disaggregated data. 2. Integrations of new technologies combined with gender-aware extension services and training. 3. Capacity building at the local level using local participation and organization, which helps strengthen projects and leads to their sustainability. 4. Impact on livelihood security. 5. Linkages and partnerships related to infrastructure, research, policy, training, and institution building can build project success.