Front Cover
 Part 1: Strenghtening the Particpation...
 Part 2: Gender and Women's Health...

Group Title: Case studies series on gender, community participation and natural resource management ; no. 5
Title: Strengthening the participation of women in development plans of extractive reserves and women's health in Rondônia, Brazil
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00080528/00001
 Material Information
Title: Strengthening the participation of women in development plans of extractive reserves and women's health in Rondônia, Brazil
Series Title: Case studies series on gender, community participation and natural resource management
Physical Description: 17 leaves : map ; 29 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Paula, Daniela J. de
Weigand, Ronaldo
Rodrigues, Valéria
Managing Ecosystems and Resources with Gender Emphasis (Program)
Publisher: MERGE, Managing Ecosystems and Resources with Gender Emphasis, Center for Latin American Studies, University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville Fla
Publication Date: 2003
Subject: Women in rural development -- Brazil -- Rondônia   ( lcsh )
Sex role -- Brazil -- Rondônia   ( lcsh )
Forest reserves -- Management -- Citizen participation -- Brazil -- Rondônia   ( lcsh )
Women -- Health and hygiene -- Brazil -- Rondônia   ( lcsh )
Genre: bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references (leaves 15-17).
Statement of Responsibility: Daniela J. de Paula, Ronaldo Weigand Jr. and Valéria Rodrigues.
General Note: "April, 2003."
General Note: "Supported by The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, USAID, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and WID Tech."
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00080528
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002951852
oclc - 54684932
notis - APJ3532

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
        Preface 1
        Preface 2
        Preface 3
        Preface 4
    Part 1: Strenghtening the Particpation of Women in Development Plans of Extractive Reserves in Rondonia, Brazil
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
    Part 2: Gender and Women's Health in Rondonia, Brazil
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
Full Text

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Tet: (352) 392-6548
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www^^^^tcd^^^^uft ^^^edu^^

Mar^^^^*iane Slch~mink, Ph.D.^^^

Strengthening the

Participation of

Women in

Development Plans

of Extractive

Reserves and

Women's Health in

Rondonia, Brazil.

Daniela J. de Paula,
Ronaldo Weigand Jr.,
Val6ria Rodrigues

Case Study No. 5




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Daniela J. de Paula,
Ronaldo Weigand Jr.
and Val6ria Rodrigues

Published by


Supported by


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The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation


Case Study No. 5
April, 2003

Strengthening the Participation of Women
in Development Plans
of Extractive Reserves and Women's Health
in Rond6nia, Brazil.





MERGE (Managing Ecosystems and Resources
with Gender Emphasis),
Tropical Conservation and Development Program
Center for Latin American Studies
University of Florida
P.O. Box 115531
Gainesville, FL 32611
E-mail: tcd@tcd.ufl.edu

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
University of Florida
Marianne Schmink (University of Florida)
Editorial Bo
Constance Campbell (The Nature Conservancy)
Avecita Chicch6n (MacArthur Foundation)
Maria Cristina Espinosa (University of Florida)
Denise Garrafiel (Production Secretariat, State of
Acre, Brazil)
Susan V. Poats (GRR Ecuador)

Elena P. Bastidas
Richard Wallace
Amanda Wolfe

University of Florida
PESACRE Acre Agroforestry Research and
Extension Group
WIDTECH A Women in Development
Technical Assistance Project
USAID/Brazil US Agency for International
John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

The MERGE Case Studies Series on Gender,
Community Participation and Natural Resource
Management, supported by grants from the John D.
and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and
WIDTECH, is designed to show how a gender focus
has been relevant and useful in natural resource
management projects. The cases focus on concrete
examples from extension, applied research, and
participatory planning activities involving rural
communities, especially those in and around protected
areas primarily from projects in Latin America with
which the MERGE program has collaborated. The
format lends itself to practical applications as well as
training in gender and natural resource management.
The cases are translated into English, Portuguese and
Spanish, and are available on the Internet
The following are the first case studies of the Series:
1.Conceptual Framework for Gender and
Community-Based Conservation. by Marianne
Schmink, 1999
2.Gender, Conservation and Community
Participation: The Case of Jad National Park,
Brazil. by Regina Oliveira and Suely Anderson,
3.Working with Community-Based Conservation
with a Gender Focus: A Guide. by Mary Hill
Rojas, 2000
4.Making Visible the Invisible. The Process of
Institutionalizing Gender in Ecuador: The Case
Studies of The Arcoiris Foundation,
ECOCIENCIA and The Quichuan Institute of
Biotechnology. by Paulina Arroyo M. and Susan
V. Poats with Bolivar Tello, Rosa Vacacela and
Rocio Alarc6n, 2002
5. Strengthening the Participation of Women in
Development Plans of Extractive Reserves and
Women's Health in Rond6nia, Brazil. by Daniela
J. de Paula, Ronaldo Weigand Jr. and Val6ria
Rodrigues, 2003.


Case Studies Series on Gender, Community Participation
and Natural Resource Management, No. 5, 2003.

Strengthening the Participation of
Women in Development Plans of
Extractive Reserves and Women's
Health in Rondonia, Brazil.

Daniela J. de Paula,
Ronaldo Weigand Jr.
and Valdria Rodrigues.

April, 2003

Part I: Strengthening the Participation of Women
in Development Plans of Extractive Reserves
in Rond6nia, Brazil.

Daniela J. de Paula and Ronaldo Weigand Jr.

Translation by
Richard Wallace


This work describes the strategies
adopted by the Technical Cooperation Project
team for the United Nations Development
Program (UNDP) Rond6nia Agro-Pastoral and
Agroforestry Plan (PLANAFLORO) in
promoting the empowerment of women during
the participative creation and implementation
of development plans for two
extractive reserves in Extractive
Rond6nia, Brazil. The
strategies utilized included response t
the formation of a mixed appropriate
team of facilitators; separate lands
household interviews with extractivisi
men and women; separate for a model
interviews with groups made cn rti
up exclusively of men and
women and a comparison of the local
group results; special
planning sessions for
women; and the formation
and training of women's groups. The results
were very encouraging, with a great increase
in female participation in the reserves and in
the benefits gained by women and families.

Extractive reserves (resexes) are defined
as areas for the sustainable development of
traditional populations that base their
livelihood on the extraction of products (fruits,
saps, oils, animals, fibers, etc.) from the
natural environment (land or water). They are
public areas, with use given through
concession to the associations that represent
the inhabitants. Extractive reserves were a
response to the process of appropriation of
Amazonian lands occupied by extractivists,
and the need for a model of tropical forest
conservation that included the local

:o t

populations in Brazil (Allegretti 1989 and 1994;
for arguments against extractive reserves see
Browder 1992 and Homma 1989 and 1992).
Today, extractive reserves (and agro-
extractive settlements, equivalent forms of
natural resource protection and use through
concession) account for more than 5.8 million
hectares in the Brazilian Amazon, an area
larger than Costa Rica (Table 1). In the state
of Rond6nia, extractive reserves encompass a
total of 1.2 million hectares.
;erves were a Rond6nia has two
he process of federal extractive reserves,
of Amazonian created by the Brazilian
upied Institute for the Environment
:apd b nd Renewable Natural
and the need Resources (IBAMA), and 21
tropical forest state extractive reserves,
that included created through the
pulations in implementation of then
izil. Rond6nia Agro-pastoral and
Agroforestry Plan
(Planaflora). In 1996, the
Technical Cooperation Project of the United
Nations Development Program (UNDP) for
Planaflora initiated a project for the adaptation
and application of participatory methodologies
for the creation and implementation of
management instruments for the reserves,
known as "development plans" (Weigand Jr.
and Paula 1998). A participatory process
involving agencies from the State Government
and the Rond6nia Rubber Tappers'
Organization (SRO) created a proposal for
development planning that differed from the
proposal of the National Center for the
Sustainable Development of Traditional
Populations (CNPT), a unit within IBAMA (of
the Federal Government). While the proposal
of the CNPT/IBAMA is more oriented to the
ordination of activities in the resexes, in the
Rond6nia State resexes, the development
plans reflect the objectives and strategies of
development chosen by the communities, and

Gender, Community Participation and Natural Resource Management, No. 5, 2003

include community improvement projects
based on the efficient utilization of locally
available resources. The first development
plans for extractive reserves in Brazil were

created for the states resexes in Aquariquara,
Rio CautArio and Rio PacaBs Novos, all in
Rond6nia (Figure 1).





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Figure 1: Map showing the location of the extractive reserves in Rond6nia (the Resex Aquariquara is
the largest reserve of PA Machadinho, found in the upper right corner of the map).
Source: Rond6nia (1998a).

The creation of extractive reserves does
not consist only of the delimitation and
legalization of their lands. The challenges for
the development of resexes include the
decreasing value of traditional products, the
lack of schools and health service, and the
disrespect of their boundaries by invaders that
pillage resources and occupy lands. As a
result, many families are leaving the reserves.
In Rond6nia, with a typical area for each
family, on average, 500 hectares, resex areas

should support at least 2,400 families. Current
data on the occupation of resexes is not
available; however, based on the occupation
of the resexes in which we worked, and
considering that these are the reserves that
receive the most support, we estimate that
less than half of this number of families are, in
fact, in the resexes. The participatory process
was employed to strengthen the extractive
reserves of the State of Rond6nia, first,
adapting a methodology in pilot reserves, and
later disseminating this experience to other
reserves. In the pilot reserves, the federal

h1uqih deRcruL iii

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/ I

Gender, Community Participation and Natural Resource Management, No. 5, 2003

extractive reserve model proposed by IBAMA
was revised and adapted to the context of the
state reserves. Participatory methods were
employed for the creation of Development
Plans, strengthening the extractive
communities so that they could secure the
reserves in which they live.

Methods for the Preparation of
Development Plans.

With the task of
assisting communities in the
preparation of their
development plans, we had the
following objectives: 1) the
development plans would not
be only on paper, but reflect
the aspirations, reflections and
collective actions of the
communities; 2) the plans
would actually have a
significant effect on the quality
of life of the communities; 3) the

professionals, exchange experiences and
evaluate the method (Rond6nia 1996a;
Rond6nia 1996b).
Through the development plans, the
communities organized themselves to
implement the objectives and strategies that
they themselves defined. This involved three
phases: 1) appraisal, 2) planning, and 3)
implementation. In this article, we describe
the three phases for the Aquariquara e Rio

The participatory process
was employed to
strengthen the extractive
reserves, first, adapting a
methodology in pilot
reserves, and later
disseminating this
experience to other

plans would

train the communities for collection action,
even without outside assistance; 4) our work
would create guidelines for the creation of
development plans in other resexes in
Rond6nia. It is not an objective of this case
study to discuss the results of the
development plans. We believe that the
above noted objectives were met to different
degrees, and describe the results from the
Aquariquari and Rio CautBrio Extractive
Reserves in another publication (Weigand Jr.
and Paula 1998).
However, it seems worthwhile to orient

the reader to the
methodology utilized. The
creation and implementation
of the development plans
were based on Participatory
Rural Appraisal (PRA)
methodology, following the
recommendations of the
PRA manuals, such as NES
et al. (1991), Odour-Noah et
al. (1992), WRI e Grupo de
Estudos Ambientales (1993)
and articles such as
Rocheleau (1992), and
adapting them to local
conditions. The process of
methods to Rond6nia and the

The inequality be
and women was f
the outset of the
phase of the de\
plans, with woi
disadvantage. Tt
carried out by we
not considered"
few women part
the decision-mak
in their comm

adapting PRA
job of creating

the extractive reserve development plans
began with two workshops to train local

Slocum et al.

CautAurio Reserves. In the
Resex Rio Pacais Novos, the
process was interrupted shortly
after the planning phase due to
difficulties in renewing project
support. Thus, we do not
describe what was done in this
resex as we do not have data
regarding results.
In recent years, there has
been a growing critique PRA
with regards to its capacity to
empower women in the
process (see for example,
1995). As will be demonstrated

in this case study, we consider that PRA is not
incompatible with the empowerment of
women, but requires particular cautions, to be
discussed later, for PRA to work in this

The Situation of Women in the
Extractive Reserves and the Origin
of Efforts to Strengthen Women's
The inequality between men and women
tween men was perceived at the outset
of the appraisal phase of the
perceivedd at development plans, with
appraisal women at a disadvantage.
development The activities carried out by
men at a women were not considered
ie activities "work" and few women
participated in the decision-
omen were making process in their
'work" and communities. Even when
icipated in they worked in activities that
ing process generated income, women
unities. extractivists did not normally
have control over the money
earned (See also the results
of the appraisal carried out through the
application of a questionnaire by women
leaders in the resexes in the following

Gender, Community Participation and Natural Resource Management, No. 5, 2003

documents: Rond6nia 1997a and Rond6nia
1997b). The division of duties did not
correspond to an equivalent distribution of
benefits. This was anticipated by the
facilitating team and was one of their concerns
regarding the development plans.
This situation, already perceived by the
extractive leaders, brought about a request
from the SRO to the Technical Cooperation
Program of UNDP/ Planaflora, to implement
activities to strengthen the role of women in
the resexes. Therefore, this activity was
integrated into the assistance previously
requested by the OSR to UNDP/Planaflora for
the creation of the development plans.

Including Women in the Stages of
the Development Plan.
In our previous experience with extractive
communities, we learned that communities
place barriers on the work of male
facilitators/interviewers with local women.
There is a lack of confidence in relation to
outsiders, and it takes time to establish the
required trust. Although less severe, barriers
also exist to work by female facilitators with
male community members. Therefore, to
include the perspectives of women and men in
the creation of the development plans the
facilitating team was mixed, formed by men
and women. Nevertheless, to have a mixed
team does not resolve all of the problems as
women outsiders carry as many
preconceptions about the local women as do
male facilitators. In any case, the presence of

facilitators in a team
established greater
possibilities for learning
about the conditions of
local women.
Another desirable
approach would be to have
a multidisciplinary team.
Our project team was not
multidisciplinary as this
requires the participation of
many professionals. It
would not be sufficient that

sciences. However, this would greatly
increase the cost of the work.
Our team was made up of professionals
from the agrarian sciences with
interdisciplinary educations. To cover technical
areas in which our team was perceived to be
more limited in the first development plan
(Resex Aquariquara), in the appraisal of
Resex Rio Cautario, we had the participation
of voluntary consultants, university professors
and advisors to non-government
organizations, who assisted us without
increasing the project cost. The voluntary
consultants did not accompany us to the field,
but based on their experience with extractive
reserves and specific areas of the
development plans (health, education,
income-generation and environmental
protection), they identified questions, problems
and suggestions for solutions from reading the
participatory appraisal reports. In this way, the
inclusion of various points of view and men
and women's access to planning was

1. Appraisal:
From the start of the appraisal, separate
interviews were carried out with men and
women, and when possible, with children.
Gender spaces were respected in a natural
manner, following local traditions. Upon
arriving at a house, after introductions, it was
common for the women to go to the kitchen to
prepare coffee, leaving the men of the house
to speak with the facilitating team. The
facilitators soon after offered help in the

All of the work in the Resex
development plans involved an
attitude of learning and
reflection on the part of the
facilitating team. In the process,
the methodology was being
adapted and consolidated in
response to the specific
challenges that arose.

the team be "bi-disciplinary" (with a biological
scientist and social scientist), since many
questions about health and education would
not be within the specialization of either
professional. An ideal team would have
professionals from the biological, agrarian,
social (including education) and biomedical

In the

kitchen, and there the
conversation unfolded, often
very easily. The kitchen was
a very comfortable space for
the women, and it was there
that a great part of the
interviews and other activities
with them took place. The
men, during the interviews,
normally stayed in the living
area or went outside to walk
around the house with the
general meetings with the
all were invited, but the

presence and participation of men was always
greater. We determined that this occurred due
to the tradition of greater involvement of men
in the community organization, the lack of
custom of participation by women in decision-

Gender, Community Participation and Natural Resource Management, No. 5, 2003

making, and the domestic activities of women,
such as taking care of the children and
preparing meals, that made their participation
All of the work in the Resex development
plans involved an attitude of learning and
reflection on the part of the facilitating team.
In the process, the methodology was being
adapted and consolidated in response to the
specific challenges that arose. When we
perceived that a mixed team and separate
interviews were not sufficient to strengthen
women (despite providing good data regarding
their situation), the team adopted special
strategies for the inclusion and empowerment
of women in the following development plan
phases in Aquariquari, and from the start in
the Rio CautBrio Reserve.
In our appraisal, through the use of "PRA
tools" (seasonal calendars and tables to
analyze activities), we identified a division of
work and roles by gender. This was important

to make visible the role and
function of men and women
within the community and the
However, we learned that
some caution ought to be
taken in the group interviews
(as well as in households). In
mixed groups, many women
were inhibited to state their
opinions and contradict
opinions of males. Thus, we
proceeded to use the

more complete picture of the realities in the
reserves. Many times, women gave
responses that contradicted responses given
by the men, even in the case of "objective"
facts, indicating that one of the two (or both)
were lacking the truth about the subject. The
team tried to be impartial in these cases, but
created hypotheses regarding what might
actually be occurring in the family and the
community, testing them in interviews and
subsequent meetings. All of this created a
much more complete appraisal than if the
activities had been done with only males or
females, or with only mixed groups.
However, the development plan appraisal
was not just a phase for understanding and
learning. It was also important to lay the
groundwork for the following phases: for
example, the identification of leaders among
the women, who might later serve as
motivators within the community. This
identification was based on the enthusiasm

The local women appeared
to feel more self-worth due
to the attention provided by
the facilitators. The search
for this attention was an
important motivating
component for the adoption
of new roles for women in
the community.

participative research techniques with a
gender emphasis separately with groups of
men and women, to obtain more reliable
In the meetings exclusively with women
and in household interviews (in which women
were interviewed by women facilitators in their
typical spaces in the landholding), some
interviews revealed that the appraisal was the
first opportunity for women's opinions to be
heard in the community organization process.
The participating women expressed, many
time with resignation, their disadvantages in
relation to men, and their specific needs. The
meetings with women were important so that
these problems would rise to the surface and
might later become a target for planning. The
content of these interviews will not be
described or analyzed here (this was done in
the development plans of the two reserves)
but they were essential for the creation of a

demonstrated by women
during our first contacts and
meetings. Rather than
create a formal role of
"motivator," we sought to
respond to the synergy
generated by the interaction
between the local women
and facilitators, creating an
atmosphere that might
nurture leaders (by providing
orientation, support, and
space for conversations

about dreams and expectations).
The local women appeared to feel more
self-worth due to the attention provided by the
facilitators. The search for this attention was
an important motivating component for the
adoption of new roles for women in the
community. The addition of outsiders to the
community's "universe" brought both positive
and negative feelings -- sometimes increased
self-esteem, other times jealousy. However, it
created an environment (at least temporarily)
for the adoption of certain behaviors by
women. Eventually it had a greater social
impact by changing the traditional behavior of
extractivist women to behavior that was more
engaged, independent and participating.
However, one of the lessons learned is
that participation should not be forced, but
rather achieved by women. We learned that
women may feel restricted by the "obligation to
participate" and this can be harmful to project

Gender, Community Participation and Natural Resource Management, No. 5, 2003

activities. For example, in the Rio Cautaurio
Reserve, we made a special effort to invite the
women and organize the meetings in a
manner that would permit their participation.
However, as the women were not accustomed
to meetings, many behaved in a manner
unsuitable for meetings, holding parallel
conversations and not paying attention. This

lack of experience ended up
preconceptions about
women's participation. Yet,
this is not to say that
female participation should
not be stimulated or
favored. In the meetings
exclusively with women,
the lack of women's
experience with
participation as well as the
preconceptions against
women's participation in
the mixed meetings began
to be resolved. Little by
little, as learning was

justifying men's

identified their problems and planned
This meeting in Aquariquara was the first
one that we had with the women and took
place in the kitchen of one of the reserve
inhabitants. The discovery of the kitchen as a
space for participation was surprising. Often,
when we think about strengthening women's
participation we think of questioning the

The discovery of the kitchen as
a space for participation was
surprising. Often, when we
think about strengthening
women's participation we think
of questioning the conventional
spaces and roles imposed
upon women. The idea that "a
woman's place is in the
kitchen" must be confronted
and defeated.

achieved in the spaces created specifically for
women, the women integrated themselves and
gained a place in the "mixed" spaces
traditionally occupied by men.

2. Planning:
The planning stage followed different
strategies on different occasions in the two
reserves. The basic technique employed
involved group interviews taking the following
steps: 1) discussion of the appraisal; 2)
prioritization of problems; 3) dividing into
groups; 4) use of a list of questions to
generate a discussion of objectives and
strategies for development; and 5) use of a
project matrix for the planning of actions to
resolve prioritized problems. The women
participated in the planning meetings, but as
had occurred in the appraisal stage meetings,
male presence and participation was greater.
As always, the participation of women in the
mixed group, while they were sometimes
present, tended to be lower.
As a result, in Aquariquara, few of the
planned actions of the first plan reflected the
specific needs of women. Thus, during
implementation, assistance directed at
strengthening their participation became
necessary. After two months of
implementation, the women of one community
were invited to a meeting in which they

conventional spaces and
roles imposed upon women.
The idea that "a woman's
place is in the kitchen" must
be confronted and defeated.
However, we learned that
with the women of
Aquariquara, the kitchen can
also be a place for meetings,
participation, and solidarity
among women. As it is an
exclusive space of women,
the kitchen can be a
departure point for the
liberation of the woman

rubber tapper, in which her power is prepared
and seasoned, just as is done there with
meals, to be served at the appropriate time in
public spaces. This experience in
Aquariquara is described later when we
discuss the development plan implementation,
but it profoundly influenced the carrying out of
our work in the Resex Rio Cautario.
In the creation of the Rio CautBrio Plan,
building on our previous experience, an
interview was carried out in the appraisal
stage with a group of women to survey their
expectations, specific problems and skills. A
second meeting took place for planning
specifically for women, to identify their
priorities, objectives and strategies, and to
prepare a simple project. That same was
done in the revision of Aquariquara Plan,
where a participatory planning meeting was
held specifically to improve the situation of
women. A group interview (only women), with
the help of a script of questions, was used to
prioritize problems and prepare a project.

3. Implementation:
One strategy used in the implementation
phase was the formation of groups of women
to achieve a specific objective. The groups
were suggested by the facilitation team, and
were an effective method as an educating
space for decision-making, reducing
inhibitions, and self-management. The

Gender, Community Participation and Natural Resource Management, No. 5, 2003

"women's group" is a unit of community
organization it is not separate from the
community context and little by little it inserts
itself into decision-making spaces.
In the meetings of these groups, in
addition to the exchange of ideas or specific
training sessions (in gender and community
organization, and in the production of flour
made from the babacu fruit in the Resex
Aquariquara; and in health see Part 2 of this
case study -- in Resex Rio Cautario), practical
handicraft activities were undertaken, such as
crochet, cloth-painting and soap making, all
suggested by the women's group and taught
by women from their respective communities.
Initially, the facilitating team provided the
materials for the classes, but the women
continued to conduct these activities on their
own account, using their own materials.
These practical activities of the women's
meetings were one innovative aspect related
to our work. In general, the meetings with the
men tended to be more focused on discussion
alone, and the most that they took home was
weariness and a work plan, but often as well,
enthusiasm to implement it. Through crochet,
making soap or painting, the women returned
to their homes with a new skill, one that gave
concrete results to the meetings, justifying the
time spent discussing and practicing women's
participation. These activities also helped the
women to relax and increased the
identification of participants as group
members. While
appearing to reinforce the ....the wom
traditional role of women, day," with
these activities, because
they were typically pieces of cak
feminine, provided safe similar to oat
ground from which by inform
empowerment of the prepared b
women might emerge. In small local s
the groups, the exchange an hour and
of experience, and the use
of local resources and sold 1 E
popular knowledge were
valued as sources of improving the life of
women and the entire extractivist family.

4. Implementation in the Resex
In Aquariquara, work was initiated in one
of the communities through a class on cloth
painting with a group of women. The other
community, aware of the work that took place,
also became interested in forming a group. A

meeting was held in which they learned to
prepare sweets and preserves, taught by a
woman leader of the local rubber tapper
movement. However, recreational activities,
such as painting, or purely domestic activities,
such as the preparation of sweets, were not
sufficient to satisfy the women for long. They
needed a more ambitious objective as the
crisis in the rubber market paralyzed sales and
income became the primary preoccupation of
everyone. Possibly as a result of this crisis,
the men's reaction to the participation of the
women's groups was very positive (there was
also work carried out by the team to
demonstrate the value of the activities of the
women's group to the men). The urgency of
the situation probably helped make the
traditional gender roles more flexible.
As stated above, after the first group of
women in one of the communities of
Aquariquara was formed, the women of the
other community began to ask themselves
why they did not have a group as well. Given
this demand for organization, the next step
was an activity to form the group, which took
place through with a workshop on community
organization and gender relations. The
themes were explored through dynamic
activities, music and reflection. After the
workshop, a "home remedies group"
spontaneously formed in this second
community. It functioned in an autonomous
manner (without advising from the team) and

en held a "babaqu
the distribution of
3 and mingau (a dish
meal), accompanied
native pamphlets
y the team, in one
supermarket. In just
I a half, the women
Skills of flour.

was formed only of
women, meeting every
two weeks, with one of
the women serving as
the group "monitor."
Some young girls of the
community also
participated in the group,
and they surprised us
with how much they had
learned about medicinal

Later, in the six-
month evaluation of the Aquariquara
Development Plan, with the creation of new
projects, a specific plan for the women was
made. In this plan, increasing income was
prioritized, and the production and marketing
of flour made from the babacu palm fruit was
the strategy suggested and chosen by the
women to meet this objective. In one
workshop, one of the women taught the others
how to make the flour. The facilitating team

Gender, Community Participation and Natural Resource Management, No. 5, 2003

advised on the marketing of the product.
Initially, as it was a product still little known in
the municipality, the women held a "babaqu
day," with the distribution of pieces of cake
and mingau (a dish similar to oatmeal),
accompanied by informative pamphlets
prepared by the team, in one
small local supermarket. In The partici
just an hour and a half, the in these tr
women sold 15 kilos of flour, was so gre
The women were also of families
accompanied by a reporter which decr
from the local radio and were
interviewed about their creating a
activities, promoting the healthl
product. Later, through more
intensive support, the
women's group received additional assistance
to improve product quality. Although they did
not receive further assistance, the groups
continued commercializing the flour and
expectations were that the activity would
expand. For some families, it was estimated
that income from the sale of flour
corresponded to a 10% increase in family
income in the initial period; however there is
no data regarding current sales. In addition to
being a source of income exclusively for
women, babaqu flour has also helped to
diminish the household expense for wheat
flour, as babaqu flour can be substituted for
50% of the wheat flour used to prepare pies
and cakes.
Among the results of the work in
Aquariquara, one highlight is the increase in
women's participation in the decisions of the
reserve communities. Over the period of
project activities, the number of women
members of the Association increased
substantially. In one of the communities, the
number of women members increased from
one to seven, including more than half of the
families. In addition, some women ran for
community offices, though they were not

5. Implementation in Resex Rio Cautario:
In the Resex Rio Cautario, as a result of
the planning meeting exclusively for women,
health improvement was prioritized and the
creation of women's health "monitors" was
established as a strategy to meet this
objective (See Part 2 of this case study).
Three training sessions were held with the
following themes: women and children's

health; methods to diagnose illnesses; worm
illnesses; traditional home remedies; and
medicinal plants. Currently, each community
depends on a basic pharmacy of medicinal
plants and women capable of carrying out pre-

natal exams.

pation of women
aining sessions
at that a majority
had a "monitor,"
eased interest in
special group of
h monitors."

I Health Plan fo

The participation of women in
these training sessions was
so great that a majority of
families had a "monitor,"
which decreased interest in
creating a special group of
"health monitors." There is no
data regarding the impact of
the monitors on the health of
the Resex Rio Cautario
inhabitants. However, the
design team for the "State
r the Extractivist Population of

Rond6nia" noted that the women of Rio
Cautdrio had a greater knowledge of health in
relation to women in other reserves in the
state (Marta Duarte, personal comm.)

The Male Reaction
In strengthening the participation of
women, we awaited a reaction from the men.
According to Townsend et al. (1999), men in
different societies view gains in power by
women as a threat to their own power.
According to these authors, power is a zero-
sum game; it is not possible for women to gain
power without men losing it. Maybe
idealistically, our team worked under a
different premise, that both could win.
Therefore, besides stimulating the formation of
women's groups, activities were carried out in
an integrated manner, attempting to include
women without isolating them and without
reinforcing discrimination against them.
Despite the fact that the extractive
communities often resisted mixed activities,
during project implementation their positions
became more flexible, improving the work of
men and women in the same group.
One method of avoiding the development
of male resistance to our work with women
was to involve men in encouraging women's
interests. Rather than emphasize differences,
we emphasized common interests. The
benefits that would accrue to the entire family
through the increased participation of women
were emphasized in meetings and activities
with the men. Except in a few isolated cases,
men appeared very pleased with the work that
was carried out with the women.

Gender, Community Participation and Natural Resource Management, No. 5, 2003

In the Resex Aquariquara, men
expressed this in an exclusive meeting among
themselves, stating that "now women are
happier, more animated."
In fact, we cannot expect Except in a
that male domination over
women will not produce men appear
resistance by the women, the work that
The women resist the womr
domination, and in many Aquariquara,
cases they likely used in an exclus
resistance tactics, such as thems
reducing their work, and these
others described by Scott women a
(1989). As women gain ai
power, part of their
resistance becomes less necessary, and
therefore women are "more animated,"
resulting in greater benefits for everyone,
including men.
In Resex Rio Cautario, men
demonstrated this same support of the
strengthening of women's participation, by for
example, taking charge of the house and
children during the four or five days that
women were participating in a training course
on health. By carefully making visible the
benefits of empowering women to the entire
family, adjustments required of both men and
women, to this gain in power, became easier.

Gender is a basic concept that refers to
the roles and relationships between women
and men not characterized by sexual
characteristics, but by history, ideology,
religion and economic development of a
culture. To adopt a gender perspective is "to
distinguish between what is natural and
biological from what is social and culturally
constructed, and in the process, to renegotiate
the limits between the natural, relatively
inflexible, and the social, relatively
transformable" (Kabeer, 1990 cited by
In this article, we do not discuss the
origins of female inequalities in extractive
reserves, but focus attention on the impact of
specific strategies, based on gender, in
strengthening women's participation. We held
as a general premise that inequalities were
due principally to the history of extractive
production, with traditional products acquiring
economic value through commercialization

few is
ed ver
was c
en. In
ive me
s, stati
re har

(rubber and Brazil nuts) dominated by men, as
a result of their relationship with a patron.
However, these unequal relations are also
reflected in the standing
olated cases, of women in Brazilian
h society, in general, in the
y pleasedwith past and the present.
arrivedd out with Our premise should have
the Resex led us to propose income
expressed this alternatives for women in
meeting among the three reserves.
However, this was not
ng that now the case. We preferred
)pier, more to prioritize community
id." participation over our
theoretical views of the
cause of local problems. We worked with
women's participation and left the identification
of problems and causes, as well as proposals
to empower women, to emerge from their
groups. This resulted in different strategies,
such as the prioritization of an increase in
income of the women in Resex Aquariquara
and the improvement of health in Resex Rio
Participatory methods are essential to
strengthen women's participation. At the
same time, a gender perspective is vital to
ensure that community participation results in
female empowerment. There are many
justifications for the inclusion of the gender
perspective in participatory projects, including:
inequalities among men and women are
great, with women discriminated against;
overcoming inequalities is an
indispensable condition for development;
participatory programs and projects that
do not adopt a gender perspective tend to
benefit half the people, generally men,
and do not efficiently meet their objectives;
including the gender perspective facilitates
the better use of available resources
(human and material), and not including
this perspective weakens various
further, its inclusion results in the fair
distribution of improvements, contributing
to sustainable development.
The gender perspective values the role of
women as promoters of development.
Improving women's standing improves the
lives of all the family members, as women
have fewer tendencies to divert resources
from economic activities for personal use
(Rojas 2000). On the other hand, as
confirmed by Suarez and Libardoni (1997), the

Gender, Community Participation and Natural Resource Management, No. 5, 2003

emphasis given to the feminine side of gender
is a result of inequalities, but only the sum of
the forces of men and women will be able to
reach the desired objectives of the collective
The goal of incorporating the gender
perspective in programs/projects is to
stimulate the productive potential of men and
women as promoters of development. Both
men and women should have the power to
make decisions regarding the manner in which
they are able to contribute to the strengthening
and the well-being of families and
Another advantage of investing resources
in the strengthening of women in the context
of development is the possibility of a greater
return on investment. In resexes in Rond6nia,
women respond more rapidly and better than
men in activities to mobilize the community for
development. Further, they have a greater
commitment with established goals and are
more likely than men to innovate in their
search for alternatives to improve family
income. While men were more skeptical in
their behavior -- avoiding risk, which is likely a
consequence of their prior experience with
failed projects and their role as "provider," the
women have less to lose in their projects1 and
have lower expectations than if activities were
In addition, the women's projects were
simpler than those of the community in
general as they did not have to respond to
larger issues such as education, health,
protection and income, which often arise at the
same time. Their planning was a training
exercise, while the planning session of the
men was not only theirs -- it was for the whole
community, and had the job of responding to
the demands of everyone. Because of this,
the work of the women, which concentrated on
a few objectives that were more easily
executed than that of the community in
general, had greater success. Therefore, it
stood out in the implementation of the
development plans in Rond6nia.

Working with a gender perspective is not
the same thing as favoring women's
empowerment. A gender perspective can also
be used against women and perpetuate their
submission. For example, by knowing the

impediments for women to participate in
meetings, one can try to resolve them, or
strengthen them. However, considering
gender differences is fundamental to open
opportunities for women's participation.
Yet, we should not presuppose that just
by opening opportunities for female
participation in projects, that participation will
occur. There are many barriers to effective
participation by women in extractive reserves,
from cultural barriers to the lack of practice
and training in the process of organization. In
our work, many of the impediments to female
participation were removed or reduced by
strategies adopted by the team. Previously, in
the resexes described in this article, female
participation was limited by the manner in
which community participation was organized:
meetings always took place at the same place
(making the participation by women who lived
far from the meeting difficult or impossible);
the women were obligated to cook for the
meeting; there were no arrangements for
taking care of the children during the
meetings; and women were not specifically
invited (contrary to men). The lack of a
revolving meeting place allowed women living
near the locale to participate more (when they
were not preparing food for the participants),
although the more distant inhabitants did not
participate, as they had to take care of their
domestic responsibilities. In addition, there
was a local preconception against female
participation in mixed meetings.
These limitations to participation were
identified little by little. We were careful to
alternate the location of meetings to
encourage the participation of more distant
male and female inhabitants. We planned the
preparation of meeting meals in advance, so
that women would not be confined to the
kitchen. In some cases, such as assemblies,
or special meetings, a local cook was
contracted, to allow the participation of other
women. Arrangements to take care of children
were more difficult, but the women often
rotated childcare responsibilities, and all the
participants had patience with the cries of
babies during the meetings.
Therefore, we detail the following
implications (some new, others already
known) of our experience in participatory
management of natural resources with a
gender perspective as well as a perspective to
strengthen women's participation:

Gender, Community Participation and Natural Resource Management, No. 5, 2003

1) We should not presuppose a particular
division of labor. Each community
represents a unique division of labor, and
variation exists among all the
2) When a project includes local participation
without strategies to balance participation
and benefits for men and women,
inequality tends to increase. While non-
participatory projects are a "shot in the
dark" that may benefit men or women,
participatory projects without special
strategies to equalize male and female
participation tend to score a "bulls-eye,"
benefiting only men.
3) Extractivist women are not as prepared as
men to participate. The formation of
groups of women and training in
community organization can help to
diminish inequalities. Female
participation should be gradually
incorporated into projects, in a form in
which their abilities to participate together
with men continue to develop.
4) However, experience can be a barrier to
activities. The rapid response of women
to the strengthening activities could have
resulted from their being less exposed to
the practices of paternalistic projects than
men. As women have been a less
frequent target of development projects,
they are less addicted to paternalistic
practices, and more open to experiment
with simple projects. Women tend to be
more confident in themselves in defining
goals and dividing tasks, as they are less
accustomed to being given things for
nothing. Because of this, they are more
realistic. In our experience, this also was
the case with the communities (men and
women together) that received less
attention from previous projects.
Generally, these communities responded
more quickly and better than the
communities with a long experience with

5) Group activities gave the women
extractivists a special satisfaction, and the
community organization became less a
weight and more a social event. On one
side, the women extractivists are very
practical and expect results, even if very
basic, from their activities. Thus, simple
activities, such as crochet, were important
to maintain the enthusiasm because of the
immediate results that they provided while
greater challenges were attempted.
6) Although the experiences of the women
extractivists were positive, there were
occasions of conflict and jealousy. For
example, in one reserve there was a
certain climate of dislike between
protestant and catholic women, but this
did not impede their participation in the
same group. Conflicts of this type are
normal in small groups. In addition, there
was a certain competition among women
for the attention of the facilitators, which
required the facilitators to take great care
to not hurt feelings and maintain equal
treatment of all members of the groups,
despite personal feelings. This was not
always possible.
7) The timing and continuity required for a
job well done are very important. Our best
results were attained in the Aquariquara
Reserve, the first to have a development
plan and activities to strengthen women's
participation, despite the fact that at this
site we had less experience with this type
of work. In the Resex Rio Pacags Novos,
we cannot talk about results, as the
accompaniment of the PNUD/Planafloro
Technical Cooperation Team ended
before the implementation of the
development plan. Implementation of the
plan was left to the local association that
had only one male advisor. Thus, it was
not enough to have participatory appraisal
and planning. It is through implementation
that results are seen and it is the results
that give meaning to participation.

Gender, Community Participation and Natural Resource Management, No. 5, 2003

I. l Exrctv Reere an Exrctv Sete et in Brazi





Mato Grosso


Federal Extractive Reserves

Extractive Settlements

Federal Extractive Reserves
Extractive Settlements

Federal Extractive Reserves

Extractive Settlements

Federal Extractive Reserves

State Extractive Reserve
Federal Extractive Reserve
Federal Extractive Reserves

State Extractive Reserve

Federal Extractive Reserve

Alto Jurud
Chico Mendes
Nova Esperanga
Porto Dias
Sta. Quit6ria
S. Luiz do Remanso
Rio Cajari
Maracd I
Maracd II
Maracd III
Rio Jutai
M6dio Jurua
Mata Grande
Quilombo do Frexal
Guaribas / Roosevelt
Rio Ouro Preto
Lago do Cunia
Rio Preto Jacunda
Rio Jaci-Parand
Pedras Negras
Rio Pacads Novos
Extremo Norte do Tocantins



Area (hectares)

-I --~I-~. --- -

Gender, Community Participation and Natural Resource Management, No. 5, 2003

Part II: Gender and Women's Health in the Rio Cautdrio
Extractive Reserve, Rondonia, Brazil.

Valdria Rodrigues

Since the creation of the extractive
reserves, many projects have been
implemented, most of them focused on
conservation of the forest, improvement of
income and agroforestry. However, the people
who live in the reserves need health
assistance and education, in addition to these
other aspects of development. The Brazilian
Health System is inadequate for people in
extractive reserves. It is difficult for people to
receive health care because that system is
based on hospital assistance or curative
medicine, and most of the extractive reserves
are too far away from the cities. In addition,
many problems could be resolved with
Recently, Rond6nia's State Government
has created some health posts inside these
reserves. In general health agents selected to
work in these health posts come from within
the communities. This has brought some
opportunities for health care. However when
communities select these health agents they
generally select only men, because of cultural
and practical constraints for the women to
leave temporarily the community and be
trained in the nearby towns. The Brazilian
Health System, and sometimes even rubber
tapper organizations, does not consider
gender relations within the extractive reserves.
This hinders the work of the health agents. In
some cases, health agents cannot do their
jobs, because most people they assist are
women and children. Women feel
uncomfortable to talk to male health agents,
especially in relation to their reproductive
health. Unless this problem is solved, the
permanence of families within the reserve will
continue to be unstable. Therefore, the
conservation of the forest is dependent on an
adequate health system, which takes into
account the gender differences within the
community and adjusts health assistance to
the conditions of extractive reserves.

However, few of the publications about
extractive reserves focus on this topic.
Studying the relations between gender and
health care is important for community-based
conservation projects. This paper intends to
call attention to these issues and reflect about
a health system adequate to the extractive
This case study is the result of a course
intended to train female health agents in Rio
Cautario Extractive Reserve, in Rond6nia. The
objective of the course was to improve
women's situation, by focusing on their highest
priority: health. After planning discussions with
women in the Rio Cautario community, the
UNDP/PLANAFLORO Technical Cooperation
team requested the training.
The course was carried out at the Caninde
landholding, a two-day boat trip from the city.
The three-day course was given from July 27
to 30, 1997, with the participation of thirteen
community women, of whom only four were
literate. The course was developed with the
women's involvement in problem appraisal
and in the discussion of solutions adequate to
the reality of the community. The discussion in
this paper is based on the following sources of
information: interviews with key-informants
from the community, including midwives,
teachers, health agents and several
community leaders; non-structured interviews
during travel, in which community health
problems were discussed with the women, a
community leader and a midwife; interviews
with participants in the training sessions; and
direct observation of health problems during
the short time in the community.

There were three community health
agents in the Rio Cautbrio Extractive Reserve.
A health agent does malaria diagnosis and
gives medicine to the people who have
malaria. The National Health Foundation hired
one agent, who was trained only to do curative
medicine. Rond6nia's State Government

Gender, Community Participation and Natural Resource Management, No. 5, 2003

recently hired the second health agent, who
was not yet working because he was waiting
for the health center to be built. He was
trained in the hospital, and his training focused
on curative medicine.
A third health agent worked for the
Community Health Agents Program (PACS).
This program was created to work with
preventive medicine and women's health.
However, this arrangement had not worked
well in the reserve. The
problem was that the agent Because
applied the same health inhibited to
system used in the cities in of prot
the extractive reserve, reproductive
Moreover, the health agent especia
was illiterate. In his visits to accompany
the households, another man from the
who accompanied him
helped him to take notes in not exp
the interviews with women problems
about their health problems q
and reproductive health.
Therefore, because the women were inhibited
to talk about this kind of problem with a man,
especially when he was accompanied by
another man from the community, they did not
express their health problems nor ask the
agent questions. The problem was even worse
because these health agents were men, and
the women did not have the choice to consult
with a female health agent. The agents
thought that the women did not want to talk
about their health issues or did not have any
health problems. Because of these issues,
the health agent's performance in the
community was unsatisfactory, and the
community health programs did not achieve
the objectives of preventing diseases and of
improving women's health.

People's views about hygiene and illness
in the extractive reserves reflect the different
conditions found there. On the first day of the
course, the women elaborated their health
concept, which was a combination of: pure air;
quality of health care; food; bathing; smiling;
relaxation; beauty; sunlight; caring;
satisfaction; a clean body; women's meetings;
disease prevention; domestic cleanliness;
tranquility; and happiness. Starting from this
concept they began to identify the health
problems in the community.

Intestinal Parasites
Intestinal parasites in children and adults
were the first health problem identified. They
were caused by contaminated water from the
river. In general, houses are built near the
river and they utilize the river water for
cooking, drinking, bathing and washing

The river

the women were
talk about this kind
)lem [women's
Health] with a man,
Ily when he was
ed by another man
immunity they did
ress their health
nor ask the agent

wear sandals.

is also used as means of
transportation. Most
families built latrines, but
some families did not and
continued using the river
as their bathroom, causing
contamination of the river
water. Another problem
was that they did not wash
their hands after they used
the latrine. Women
discussed ways to reduce
this problem. One of the
solutions to the parasite
problem was for children to
Another solution was to teach

children to wash hands after they used the
latrine and before they ate. The latter solution
was difficult because children usually played
outside and it was not possible to observe
them all the time. These solutions could help
to decrease intestinal parasites, although
certainly they would not resolve this problem
completely. A better way would be to treat
everybody in the community, and at the same
time, to treat the water, to build latrines in
each household, to build wells to catch potable
water far from latrines and from the river, and
to continue health education together with the
health agents. Moreover, the community must
participate in this process, discussing and
seeking solutions to this problem.
Tetanus among Newborn Children
Most women is the course had had one or
two babies who died from tetanus. They did
not know what had caused their children's
death but knew that it was something they
used at the time of birth. This topic caused
much controversy, because everyone did
something different at the moment of birth.
They did not know what was causing tetanus,
which they knew by the traditional name "mal
de sete dias" (seven days' disease). Some
women had heard the term tetanus in the
maternity hospital but they did not know what
it meant. Some women thought that it was

Gender, Community Participation and Natural Resource Management, No. 5, 2003

some kind of hereditary disease. It was
complex to explain to them, because most
women were illiterate. Instructions to prevent
tetanus were given on how to prepare the
materials for the birthing process.
After it was explained how newborn
children died from tetanus, women began to
discuss another problem. They did not know
that they should have the tetanus vaccine
during pregnancy. Women who had been
living all their lives in the extractive reserve
never took this vaccine, nor had pre-natal
exams. Discussion turned on what they could
do to resolve this problem. Women began to
think about why the government boats entered
the reserve with people who came to fish, but
not to vaccinate people.
Undesired Sterilization of Women
Undesired sterilization of women became
a big problem in the extractive reserve
because when women went to the maternity
hospital in the nearby town to deliver their
children, doctors asked how many children
they had, and the doctor decided to do
sterilization surgery without the woman's
permission. Thus, many extractive women
were sterilized and did not know what had
happened. However, for women from the
reserve, having many children was not seen
as a problem. They believe that to give birth is
healthy and if they do not get pregnant, they
think they are ill. Most of them wanted to
become pregnant again. In Brazil many health
professionals think sterilization can resolve the

Allegretti, Mary Helena
1989 Reservas Extrativistas: Uma
Proposta de Desenvolvimento da
Floresta Amaz6nica. Pard
Desenvolvimento (25).
1994 Reservas Extrativistas:
ParAmetros para uma Polftica de
Desenvolvimento Sustentavel na
Amaz6nia. In 0 Destino da Floresta:
Reservas Extrativistas e
Desenvolvimento Sustentavel na
Amaz6nia. R. Arnt, ed. Pp. 17-47. Rio
de Janeiro: Relume Dumara.

Browder, John O.
1992 Social and Economic
Constraints on the Development of

poverty problem. Certainly this is not true, and
furthermore it disrespects women. Health
policies must prepare adequate programs to
attend the women who come from the
extractive reserve, respecting their beliefs and

On the one hand, health problems in Rio
Cautdrio Extractive Reserve could be resolved
with prevention practices that are relatively
easy to do, but this is dependent on the
performance of institutions working in this
area. On the other hand, non-governmental
community-based conservation projects need
to focus more on health problems because
improved health can contribute to better local
livelihoods, allowing local people to remain in
the area and protect the forest. If local people
do not have basic living conditions in the
extractive reserve, they will want to move to
the cities, which could undermine conservation
of natural resources in the area. Another
problem of migration to the cities is that people
who go to live in city slums find other
problems, sometimes even more difficult to
resolve. Thus, community-based conservation
projects should also consider gender roles,
health and education. The women in Rio
CautBrio Extractive Reserve expressed great
interest in getting organized to improve health
in their community. Material support and
orientation are essential for their success in
meeting this challenge.

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An example can be found in Aquariquara
Resex. A priority in the second planning carried out
by the men was "the price of rubber," an issue
which solution was beyond their control and which,
year after year, since the Second World War, has
not been resolved. There, as well, only some
adopted the various income alternatives chosen,
while others waited "to see if it went right." Some
inhabitants were extremely successful, for example,
selling seeds from the forest. The women had a
much more uniform adoption of planned alterna-

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