'Engendering Eden Volume II: Women, Gender and ICDPs in Africa: Lessons Learnt and Experiences Shared.


As pressures have increased for a more equitable conservation and development process, ICDPs (Integrated Conservation and Development Projects) and CBNRM (Community Based Natural Resource Management) have attempted to draw in women and other marginal groups. However there is inexperience and a lack of knowledge concerning how to achieve this.

The ‘Engendering’ Eden research programme aimed to fill some of the existing gaps on issues concerned with the relationships between women, gender and ICDPs. It aimed to understand what differences and inequities exist within communities and how these affect participation and the distribution of benefits and costs in relation to conservation and development. Lessons concerning how to address gender issues and women's exclusion have been learnt and recommendations made how to incorporate them into future work to achieve more equitable conservation policy and practice.

This volume, ‘Engendering’ Eden Volume II: Women, Gender and ICDPs in Africa Lessons Learnt and Experiences Shared, describes in some detail the relationships between gender, women and ICDPs. Section 2 focuses on the gender differences and inequities that exist in local communities in relation to natural resource use. Although some similarities were found between communities, there are also some differences that are dependent on cultural, social, economic and geographical contexts. Thus, the importance of understanding gender differences within local contexts is emphasised.

Sections 3 and 4 focus on the impacts of conservation and ICDPs on the gender differences and inequities that exist in local communities. Though there are certainly impacts - both beneficial and detrimental – on men and women, because of women’s marginalisation from conservation and development processes and their greater dependence on natural resources for fulfilling daily household needs, the impact on them tends to be more negative than on the men.

Sections 5 and 6 describe some of the experiences of ICDPs on the continent and their variable degrees of focus on gender issues and the inclusion of women. Despite a growing recognition that such issues are important for the success of ICDPs and conservation processes, few projects have achieved any ground in addressing gender inequities or in promoting a higher degree of women’s inclusion and participation. ICDPs, their process and impacts, are still gender differentiated, with men participating to a greater degree and gaining more direct benefits.

The final two sections, 7 and 8, focus on lessons learnt from the more development-oriented CBNRM projects found in Africa as well as the ICDPs. Reasons are suggested as to why women are not participating to a greater degree in ICDPs, and ways to increase their participation and benefits are highlighted.


IIED Wildlife and Development Series No. 17, ISBN: 1 84369 439 5, 80 pp.

‘Engendering Eden Volume II: Women, Gender and ICDPs in Africa: Lessons Learnt and Experiences Shared.

Published 1 January 2003