Gender Equality as a Development Factor in the Application of ICT for Agro-Forestry

Gender Equality as a Development Factor in the Application of ICT for Agro-Forestry

Wapula Raditloaneng (University of Botswana, Botswana)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-117-1.ch012

Abstract

Agriculture continues to be the backbone of peasant economy and a source of subsistence in Botswana, and as such, innovative agricultural programs are introduced to benefit villagers. The case described in this chapter is that of Gamolele/Gakgatla watershed agro-forestry project, whose goal was to raise awareness of the existence of the six hectare plot and how it could be turned into viable agro-forestry and horticulture ventures mainly for sources of livelihood for community and its neighborhood. Technologies used during the life of the project included a computer and other modern ways of planting. Participants emerged with survival skills like knowledge of planting in rows, transplanting of seedlings and harvesting in rows, medicinal plants production, harnessing, and promotion of growing healthy foods by seasons. Participants learned to manage, use, and maintain technology by quick fixes or taking it to experts for more complex troubleshooting and final repairs. Overall, the emphasis was on attracting women to be part of experiencing using ICT in agro- forestry businesses, and this project successfully did this. This chapter thus shares experiences and lessons learned from the involvement of women together with challenges facing their involvement.
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Background

One of the key indicators of good democratic governance is the promotion of gender equality as a human rights endeavour in all sectors where discrimination by one’s sex persists. The involvement of women and men in the use of ICT across the globe indicates the need for a gender balanced participation especially in the field of agro-forestry which, in Botswana, is still a male province. Based on the findings of a qualitative study of an experimental, seasonal agro-forestry project in Botswana, this chapter argues that there is a need for developing countries like Botswana to be responsive, promote equity and participation of both men and women in the use and integration of ICT in all sectors including agro-forestry. The chapter thus presents a case of Gakgatla/Gamolele communities in Botswana in which accessibility of both men and women is not restricted by their sexes, but rather, gender roles. This case indicates the need to put in place gender specific legislations and promote socio- cultural practices that do not discriminate against women and men, girls or boys in agro-forestry from early childhood to adulthood.

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