Emancipation of South African Women in Biodiversity Conservation for Tourism: A Case of Alexandra Township

Emancipation of South African Women in Biodiversity Conservation for Tourism: A Case of Alexandra Township

Ailwei Solomon Mawela (University of South Africa, South Africa)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 14
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5843-9.ch011
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The emancipation of women volunteering in biodiversity conservation for tourism in local communities cannot be overemphasized, particularly in developing countries. This chapter explores the views of Alexandra Township women participating in biodiversity conservation for tourism. A case study design was used. Purposive selection technique was employed to sample 10 women. The semi-structured interview was used to collect data. Findings indicated that members of the environmental organization lack substantive environmental conservation knowledge which resulted in poor biodiversity conservation for tourism. Several challenges emerged such as lack of support from the government, lack of tourist attractions, poor infrastructure, inadequate human resources, and poor profits. This study suggests the empowerment of women in local environmental organizations through in-service training in biodiversity conservation.
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From the local to global perspective, the changes in biodiversity, especially the loss of variety of fauna and flora is of great concern, primarily in developing countries. Mutai (2009) indicated that biodiversity is a variety of all forms of life on earth consists of genetic diversity, species diversity, and ecosystem diversity. In order to preserve the biodiversity, it is essential that all stakeholders should participate in influencing a positive attitude and the behaviour of people towards biodiversity conservation. Adenle (2015) stated that there is a need to increase funding for biodiversity projects around the world and on targeting existing aid toward biodiversity conservation. This view is also supported by the existence of several worldwide environmental conferences, such as the Rio de Janeiro (1992), Kyoto protocol (1997) and the Johannesburg world summit (2010) which were aiming at conserving and sustaining the biodiversity. This paperaims at exploring the emancipation1 of South African women in biodiversity conservation for tourism with special reference to Alexandra Township in South Africa.

While it is essential to conserve the fauna and flora at large, inmost of the developing countries, such as South Africa,attention and designate areas are for wildlife than the flora protected areas(Wishitemi, Momanyi, Ombati and Okello, 2015). This view of prioritizing or valuing fauna most than the flora can be regarded as contributing factor towards the deterioration of flora in most of the South African local communities. South Africa has an incredibly rich biodiversity2, third only after Braziland Indonesia which provides a wide range of products and services for both commercial purposes (The South African National Environmental Management Act on biodiversity, 2004).It is, therefore, imperative for the local communities to value both the fauna and flora not only with the intention of nature conservation but also as part of tourist attraction in order to generate capital. Manyara and Jones (2007) alluded that the United Nations World Tourism Organisation endorses tourism for economic development and poverty reduction in developing countries. This chapter pays attention unto how biodiversity conservation within the South African local communities with reference to Alexandra Township can be used as an urgent of promoting tourism and thereby emancipate volunteer women.

The South African National Environmental Management Act on biodiversity (2004) seeks to ensure that benefits derived from biodiversity conservation and other related commercialized activities are shared equitably within the local community. This implies that the volunteer women in biodiversity conservation for tourism in local communities should share equitably the generated funds from biodiversity conservation for tourism. In this instance, the local community will able to support the biodiversity conservation for tourism since they will be benefiting out of it. However, most of the local communities in South Africaexperience serious and increasing threats of degradation as a result of large-scale development projects, expanding agricultural frontiers, illegal hunting and logging, fuelwood collection and uncontrolled burning (Gitahi, 2005). This on its own is a step backward with regard to the set goal by many communities aiming at establishing biodiversity conservation for tourism.

Most of the research conducted had their focus on local community biodiversity, and less has been researched on the emancipation of women through biodiversity conservation for tourism. Volunteer women in their local environmentalorganizationssuch as that of Alexandra Township are in a position to promote local biodiversity conservation for tourism. This view is supported by 2015 United Nations Millennium Goals that highlight the importance of emancipating women.

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