The African Forest Forum (AFF) invites interested forestry stakeholders to join a Community of Practice focused on ‘advancing women in African forestry in the context of climate change’ to be held virtually from 11-21 July 2022.


The climate crisis continues to impact lives, with many people around the world already living on the front lines of climate disaster.  According to UN Women Watch (2009)[1], the negative impacts of climate change are both of long and short term. While short term implications may include natural hazards, such as landslides, floods and hurricanes; long term ones include gradual degradation of the environment.

Climate change affects every facet of life with detrimental effects being recognized in many areas including, agriculture and food security; biodiversity and ecosystems; water resources; human health; human settlements and migration patterns; energy; transport and industry.

Adaptation to climate change is gendered and in many cases, women and youth are disproportionately impacted and more vulnerable to the effects of climate change than men. This is partly due to them constituting the majority of the world’s poor and are more dependent for their livelihood on natural resources that are threatened by climate change. Furthermore, they face social, economic and political barriers that limit their coping capacity.

Approximately 1.2 billion people around the world-mainly in the tropical region depend on agroforestry farming and forest resources for their livelihood of this, 50percent are women (Colfer et al, 2016)[2].

This notwithstanding, participation in forestry and climate action is gendered  and the role of women in forestry has historically remained hidden and underappreciated, especially from governance perspectives making women underrepresented in forest decision making. The contribution of women to the forestry sector and their critical role as key actors has been traditionally ignored over the years, and this has inhibited their ability to gain equitable benefits from the forests, as well as optimise their potential as powerful agents of change in society.

This situation has arisen partly due to the presence of a number of gender-based barriers across major international and national policy processes within the sector which prevents inclusive participation of all actors.

Men, women, children have different needs, and aspirations from the forest, uses and knowledge of forest resources. They also have different roles in managing forests due to their differentials in their experience on use and conservation of forest and tree resources. This notwithstanding, the needs and contributions of women in African forestry are often overlooked, while the inequalities of their roles, rights and responsibilities shape the ways they participate in decision making, benefit from forest and tree resources, and ability to cope with the adverse effects of the changing climate.

Mai et al, (2011)[3] asserts that ‘the integration of gender into the forestry sector is constrained by the perception that forestry is a male-dominated field; lack of clarity among researchers on the concept of gender; and lack of technical skills, interest and awareness on gender’. Not including such groups in decisions-making in forestry implies lost opportunity for capitalizing on their worth of knowledge and experience (Colfer et al, 2016). Integrating gender equality issues in forestry development contributes to meeting environmental targets, avoiding adverse impacts on women, improved gender relations and achievement of broader social goals such as social protection of families, communities and national economies.

Including women in forest governance is critical for sustainable forest management. This is because women have an understanding of, and appreciation for, forests as multifunctional, rather than just as a commercial resource. The empowerment of women through education, continuous learning and information sharing offers a potential pathway for inclusion in higher-level institutional decision-making in the forestry sector and for climate action. This will also reduce their vulnerability to climate change and make them resilient to its impacts.


The overall goal of this engagement is to highlight the challenges and opportunities of securing women’s participation in African forestry while enhancing their capacity to adapt to the effects of climate change and contributing to mitigation effects.  Specifically it will showcase:

  • The role of women in forest resource management and conservation amidst climate change crises
  • How women are disproportionately affected by climate change
  • Contribution of forest and tree resources on enhancing the resilience of women and youth to climate change
  • Challenges and opportunities for securing participation of women in forestry and climate change discourses
  • The need for involvement of women in climate governance and action

The Community of Practice offers opportunities for practitioners, researchers and policy makers to understand the realities of gender in forestry, conservation and the climate debate and promote gender transformational attitudes.


The sessions are scheduled to last for 3 hours per day, starting from 8:00 am (GMT) / 11:00a.m (Nairobi time) and running from 11th to 21st July 2022. These sessions which will be held online each targeting a specific subject area. Since participants are expected to be adults and mostly practitioners, the sessions will integrate presentations, group sessions, and experiential sharing to enhance participatory learning.


[2]  Carol J, Colfer P, Basnett, and Elias M). (2016). Gender and forests, climate change, tenure, value chains and emerging issues.  DOI10.4324/9781315666624

[3] DOI:



Date: 11-21 July 2022 (Weekdays)

Time: 11.00a.m-2.00p.m Nairobi time / 8.00a.m-11.00a.m GMT


All interested actors are invited to register for the Community of Practice (CoP) using the following link:

You are invited to a Zoom meeting.
When: Jul 11-21, 2022 11:00 AM Nairobi

Register in advance for this meeting:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

For more information, download: