Women’s contribution to forestry is overlooked despite the efforts they apply. The training was carried out at forestry and wood industries training centre (FWITC) by Participatory plantation forestry programme (PFP) with a motive to raise awareness of women at Mafinga, Mufindi and Kilolo district. Southern highlands is known to be a major supplier of forest products thus women in this region should be empowered for them to function properly.

The training was conducted to raise awareness of women on how to develop and improve their forestry-related businesses. This involved training women on the use of different types of equipment to process the forest products, explaining the opportunities present in the forest sector, encourage women to overthrow traditional beliefs that discourage them to participate in economic activities and the use of social media to advertise the businesses so as to increase their platforms and reach more customers. Women in all the value chain of forest products from the establishment of nurseries to the manufacturing of final products were involved.

The coordinator of the Participatory Plantation Forestry Programme in Mafinga cluster, Nyachia Robert said “a lot of women are involved in the forestry sector but do not know how to market what they do and use the available economic opportunities. Women have great contribution in the forest sector though it is not yet known therefore the training which involves only women is to give them the freedom to speak their minds and give their opinions as to when they get involved with men, it becomes difficult to give their opinions. It’s our belief that after this training, women will be able to utilize the available opportunities”.

Euzabia Sanga who was one of the participants said that the training has increased their confidence in participating in the forest sector. Also, we have learnt that through the forest sector we are eligible to acquire loans that will assist us to enlarge our businesses. The training also helped them to create new connections as they met with different stakeholders who engage in forestry. Other participants said they learnt how to promote and market their products using social media hence forest products such as timber and honey will be marketed on social media and not online.

Asia Abdallah the district commissioner of Kilolo district argued women to engage in planting trees such as pines and eucalyptus, beekeeping and rising nurseries in order to become financially independent thus support their families. Women should have discipline in whatever they do and work hard to reach the expectation of both the facilitators of the training (PFP 2) and the government. While working, women should remember to take care of their families as it is also their responsibility to ensure the well-being of the family.

Participants of Women in Forestry round table.
In a nutshell training of different stakeholders involved in the forest, the sector is necessary as it raises awareness of the contemporary issues happening in and how to tackle them. This results in the development of the sector as well as the development of stakeholders and the government.  

Prepared by.
Dativa Tibesigwa
African Forestry. 

Reviewed by EGNO NDUNGURU on August 04, 2021 Rating: 5

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