Economic empowerment of women through forest solutions
Forest-based entrepreneurship is considered an important vehicle to respond to the growing impacts of accelerating climate change. Innovative businesses and entrepreneurship for non-wood forest products will offer low-carbon solutions through locally available technological innovations primarily aimed at sustainable forest management and locally processed forest products. Nepal’s new Forest Act emphasizes the importance of business-oriented forest management that can play an important role for women’s economic empowerment, as it offers a stable source of income. However, empirical evidence is lacking in terms of how women’s economic empowerment can be achieved within the context of nature-based solutions and a low-carbon development agenda. Much of the knowledge on women’s economic empowerment is informed through development programs on micro-credit and community savings programs.
The project aims to develop business models and scalable solutions to increase women's access to and control over forest resources and forest-based enterprises, enabling them to make economic decisions for themselves and their households. Through various skill-oriented interventions and support to encourage self-employment, the project further aims to strengthen women’s agency by enabling them to take charge of their life decisions and influence forest management decisions in their favour and in favour of the environment.
The project will engage in policy dialogues to ensure women’s representation and leadership in forest management and forest-based enterprises. This will lead to increased sensitivity and accountability of forestry stakeholders to address existing power relations and enhance equity in benefit sharing. It will also allow for women’s knowledge of sustainable forestry management to gain prominence. Project outputs will include research reports, policy briefs, and journal articles on topics of women’s economic empowerment and engagement approaches for inclusive, low-carbon, nature-based solutions. Women’s agency will be supported to sustainably manage forests and run forest-based businesses. The project will ultimately enhance capacities of women’s networks, producer organizations, and forest federations.