This photo was taken last August during my meeting with herders of Altai soum (district) of Gobi-Altai province, Mongolia (about 1500 km from the capital city). The meeting was about how herders can contribute to the conservation of wild camels, the last remaining population of about 500 individuals in the Great Gobi, southwestern Mongolia, which is these herders’ homeland. My career for the last 20 years has been in the field of environmental management and community-based conservation. Currently, I work as a Country Director of Mongolia Representative Office, Zoological Society of London.
Sara Miñarro during a scientific diving expedition in Crete (2013). PhD in marine ecology, Sara is currently collecting LICCI data with fishing communities in Salomon islands. She also leads the fisheries LICCI working groups.
The grandma of Laura (our research coordinator), in her home garden, a beautiful example of gendered traditional knowledge in Europe (Torrefarrera, Catalunya). Laura produced an interesting study by her PhD on traditional knowledge of men in the garden, showing that the vast majority of this knowledge was held by women.
In the Protected Area of Antrema, north-western coast of Madagascar, handicrafts making is a life-activity for women. In this area, women have developed very specific knowledge and know-how related to the ecology of the palm species Bismarckia nobilis that contribute to the health of the savanna ecosystem.
Women, the custodians of climate change resilient crops. Insights from the Bassari ethnic group, South-Eastern Senegal
June-October 2020, Bassari country. Despite the late arrival of the rainy season and the recurring dry-spells, Bassari women worked hard to harvest ‘o-yàl’ (Bambara groundnut; Vigna subterranea L.) and ‘a-nyánàx’ (Kersting’s groundnut; Kerstingiella geocarpa Harms), two neglected drought-tolerant grain legumes domesticated in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Evidence-based on local knowledge and fragmentary research suggest that Bambara groundnut and Kersting’s groundnut hold great potential in a climate change context due to their adaptation to grow on poor soils and to withstand drought and erratic rainfall. However, just when they are most needed for climate change resilience, these legumes are on the verge of disappearing from the fields of the Bassari. Replaced by crops with a higher market value, elder women are the ones that keep these legumes alive – which means not only cultivating them, but also selecting them, storing them, and preparing them to be eaten or used as a medicine, in ceremonies, as animal feed or to restore soil fertility.
Over generations, women farmers have developed a complex knowledge, woven from the interactions between the ecological conditions, and the nutritional, socio-economic and cultural needs of the family and the community. In the Bassari country and elsewhere, women’s knowledge and their safe-guarded crops and varieties lay the foundation for maintaining and building resilient communities and agroecosystems. Still, women farmers have been traditionally marginalized from the research and development agenda (especially in the Global South) and their knowledge and crops, neglected. Recognizing and honoring the central role the women farmers play in the world’s rich agrobiodiversity heritage is a responsibility that we have for the coming generations. Let’s make learning for, from and with women farmers a research priority!
Juliette Mariel, one of our partners, works in the northeast of Madagascar with the Betsimisaka. there, climate change is drastically disrupting seasonal production, especially rice and cloves, keystones of the local economy. Photo of a focus group discussion with Betsimisaraka women in the Vavatenia region.
Portrait of a Betsimisaraka woman during the clove collecting season. The cloves are first collected at the flower bud stage before being dried and sold. A job that requires a certain expertise, of which only women are the specialists.
Exploring the hinterlands of Himalaya for documentation of traditional knowledge and practices:
The women of Himalaya are as strong as the mountain itself. She not only sustains the families but also nurtures the future. Here, a Bhangali woman is carrying her child to the forest thereby introducing the new generation to the rich forests and associated legacy.
The Gaddis– a transhumant community of Himalaya rears sheep and goats. They shear wool using traditional tools and dye the same in different hues using plant resources. Here, the researcher (Alpy Sharma) is documenting this fast eroding wisdom.
Solomon islands lady fishing by the river.
Betsileo women preparing “mangevotra” Acmella oleracea (L.) R.K.Jansen a staple of the traditional meal. This species is mainly cultivated in the home garden by women and associated with numerous wild edible plants growing beside. Betsileo women are not only home garden experts, but great also wild edible plant knowledge holders.
In Betsileo society (highland-plateau of Madagascar) children are a great help in many tasks all along the cropping season of rice but they are also wild edible plant collector and knowledge holders particularly girls who learn how to prepare it with their mothers.
They say a “picture is worth a thousand words” – Here, I am doing what I do best, Field Research! This picture was taken during a field visit to one of the Fijian villages. The village is vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and villagers are using diverse strategies to adapt. I have lived my entire life in Fiji and I completely adore my island nation, but to see it gradually succumbing to the effects of climate change is distressing. I work with a lot of Fijian communities to understand the various impacts of climate change on livelihood. I may not be able to reduce the current impacts of climate change, but I sure hope to contribute to the growing literature on climate change impacts in the context of the Pacific region with the intention of devising effective mechanisms to help communities that must adapt to survive!
The University of Fiji
Rosario, one of our partner on the field in Chile ( Lonquimay), collecting LICCI data with her son (her little assistant).