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Choice, Inclusion, and Access to Information: Understanding Female Farmers’ Participation in Kyrgyzstan’s Water-User Associations

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  • Rebecca Nixon

    () (Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA)

  • Francis Owusu

    () (Department of Community and Regional Planning, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011, USA)

Abstract

Participatory processes have been widely promoted within the field of natural resource management as a method of supporting efficient resource use and, within these processes, much emphasis has been placed on gendered participation. In Kyrgyzstan, participation in irrigation management is organized through water-user associations (WUAs), a decentralized system of management commonly prescribed to increase equity and efficiency in water distribution. Women in Kyrgyzstan are active in irrigated agriculture particularly in light of changing demographics due to labor migration, yet they make up a small percentage of the members and leaders in these WUAs. This study draws upon interviews with WUA officials, village leaders, and female farmers in five communities in southern Kyrgyzstan to examine the determinants of female farmers’ participation in WUAs. We argue that female farmers are strategic in how they choose to irrigate outside of the WUAs as users or participate in WUAs as members or leaders, however their gender, age, and class limits their access to information about WUAs and inclusion in WUA activities. These findings suggest the need to reassess participatory processes in WUAs in order to increase female farmers’ inclusion in WUAs and demonstrates the complexity of gendered participation in natural resource management.

Suggested Citation

  • Rebecca Nixon & Francis Owusu, 2017. "Choice, Inclusion, and Access to Information: Understanding Female Farmers’ Participation in Kyrgyzstan’s Water-User Associations," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 9(12), pages 1-1, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:9:y:2017:i:12:p:2346-:d:123042
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Mukherji, Aditi & Fuleki, Blanka & Shah, Tushaar & Suhardiman, Diana & Giordano, Mark & Weligamage, Parakrama, 2010. "Irrigation reform in Asia: a review of 108 cases of irrigation management transfer," IWMI Research Reports H042851, International Water Management Institute.
    2. Agarwal, Bina, 2001. "Participatory Exclusions, Community Forestry, and Gender: An Analysis for South Asia and a Conceptual Framework," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 29(10), pages 1623-1648, October.
    3. Cornwall, Andrea, 2003. "Whose Voices? Whose Choices? Reflections on Gender and Participatory Development," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 31(8), pages 1325-1342, August.
    4. Deepa Narayan, 2002. "Empowerment and Poverty Reduction : A Sourcebook," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 15239, June.
    5. Frances Cleaver, 1998. "Choice, complexity, and change: Gendered livelihoods and the management of water," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer;The Agriculture, Food, & Human Values Society (AFHVS), vol. 15(4), pages 293-299, December.
    6. Margreet Zwarteveen & Ruth Meinzen-Dick, 2001. "Gender and property rights in the commons: Examples of water rights in South Asia," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer;The Agriculture, Food, & Human Values Society (AFHVS), vol. 18(1), pages 11-25, March.
    7. Frances Cleaver, 1999. "Paradoxes of participation: questioning participatory approaches to development," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 11(4), pages 597-612.
    8. Das, Priyam, 2014. "Women’s Participation in Community-Level Water Governance in Urban India: The Gap Between Motivation and Ability," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 206-218.
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    Cited by:

    1. Hua Qin & Martha Bass & Jessica D. Ulrich-Schad & David Matarrita-Cascante & Christine Sanders & Barituka Bekee, 2020. "Community, Natural Resources, and Sustainability: Overview of an Interdisciplinary and International Literature," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(3), pages 1-1, February.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    natural-resource management; participation; gender; water-user associations;

    JEL classification:

    • Q - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics
    • Q0 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General
    • Q2 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q3 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q5 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products

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