Daily Star: Are women better guardians of natural resources?
As the Daily Star reports:
Some years ago, a project on Building Environmental Governance Capacity in Bangladesh (BEGCB) funded by Global Affairs Canada (formerly CIDA) under the University Partnership for Capacity Development programme and implemented by the University of Manitoba, North South University, BRAC University and an NGO, Centre for Natural Resource Studies (CNRS), was undertaken.
The BEGCB project had an element, carried out by CNRS, of promoting sustainable natural resource management (NRM) through microfinance activities of rural women in haor areas of Moulvibazar and Sylhet.
It was found that an unrealised potential of synergy between microfinance operations and NRM programme exists in natural resource-rich areas. Looking for ways in which this potential of women’s empowerment and simultaneously nurturing nature could be realised was the central focus of this project component.
For the last few decades millions of small-scale activities undertaken by micro-lenders synergistically had a huge impact on the environment. With such a goal, the CNRS’s microfinance component of the project attempted to address several challenges: How can microfinance be used to foster ‘green’ micro-enterprises that enhance rather than degrade local resources? What are the ways in which one could evaluate whether women-focused activities can provide livelihood improvement without undermining the resource base on which they depend? One of the proposed approaches was to look at the fit between microfinance operations by rural women and ecosystem services. Such questions have been addressed by the teams of the partnered university students, faculty and the CNRS staff.
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