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The role of women in environmental management: an overview of the rural Cameroonian situation


, : The role of women in environmental management: an overview of the rural Cameroonian situation. Geojournal 35(4): 515-520

Women in Cameroon are estimated to perform about 66% of housework and agricultural work in rural areas. Women are 56.6% of the rural production force in Cameroon. This article explores the role of women in Cameroon and their impact on the environment in various ecological zones. In North Cameroon traditional practices restrict rural women to a geographic distance around their home or farm community. Women's engagement in farming is largely determined by men. Few women have environmental knowledge. In South Cameroon women are engaged in every farming activity and there is mass tilling of the soil. In North West Cameroon women use earth mounding as an agricultural technique for intensive farming and moisture retention. The practice of bush burning is widespread in all regions. In all regions women contribute substantially to the process of environmental degradation. It is suggested that group farming or block farming should be used to increase the use of beneficial technology. Women should receive counseling and technical training from nongovernmental and governmental groups. Successful programs in Cameroon were developed in the early 1960s around rural collectives in the North West. The women were known as the Corn-Mill Societies and engaged in micro-enterprises that protected communal forests and woodlots. Other micro-enterprises flourished in the Oku-Kilum Mountain forests, the Bafut Village Community Zone, and the Mount Kupe forests. Alternative energy sources or improved cooking units are still needed. Improved earth ovens were successful in Senegal in reducing fuel consumption. Village meetings and church and social gatherings might be used to further environmental education.

US$19.90

PMID: 12291368

DOI: 10.1007/bf00824366


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