Traditional roles not so traditional after all

Who makes decisions in the household regarding planting trees? New PhD study seeks answers. Photo: CIFOR

Who makes decisions in the household regarding planting trees? New PhD study seeks answers. Photo: CIFOR

Often, it is assumed that all farm-related decisions in rural Africa are made by the head of the household, usually the oldest male. As part of her PhD research, Seline Meijer went to Malawi, where she has been working collaboration with the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), to investigate if this was really the case.

Seline reports:

“In my study I conducted 135 interviews with household heads and carried out 16 focus group discussions with 127 farmers in Mzimba and Chiradzulu districts to learn more about how household decisions are being made. I found the traditional assumption that it is senior males who make most of the agricultural decisions to be false and an oversimplification of the real situation.

There were many instances where joint decisions are made by husbands and wives together. When it comes to tree planting and management, decisions are more often made by the husband alone compared to other agricultural activities such as crop planting and fertilizer application.”

 

Read full article by Seline Meijer on the CCAFS website: Who decides on tree planting: men or women?

Seline’s story won the CCAFS open blog-story competition for the East Africa region!

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