Our work with the community on Tanakeke Island helps to illustrate why we engage with women, and the ways we attempt to do this.

As is often the case, women are responsible for half of the food production and collection on Tanakeke Island, yet do not have formal title to land, and are often excluded from decision-making. Prior to our projects there, male stakeholders all too easily discounted female participation in mangrove rehabilitation and management programs. A concerted effort, not only to involve women equally as participants, but to involve all project participants in gender awareness trainings and activities was required. Engagement of men and women alike in gender analysis and gender sensitisation trainings and development of “Womangrove” groups to ensure high quality female participation in rehabilitation and future management. The implementation of gender analyses, gender sensitisation and the development of Womangrove groups have been crucial to ensure the equal involvement of women in the process of mangrove rehabilitation and management.

Today, “Womangrove” groups have a strong voice in how mangrove resources will be managed and used on the island, with gender sensitivity embedded in all programs, government meetings, processes and regulations. Representatives of four out of six Womangrove groups on Tanakeke are members of the kelompok kerja mangrove daerah (“mangrove working groups” / KKMD). Members of FMLGs and Womangrove groups both continue to participate in the District KKMD.

A: Members of a “Womangrove” group hand-dig a 1.2 km tidal channel, to facilitate drainage of disused shrimp ponds at Lantang Peo village, Tanakeke Island, as part of mid-course corrections 12 months after initial rehabilitation. B: The resultant, meandering tidal channel. Material on the side of the channel was eventually moved away into island-like mounds in the middle of ponds. C: Natural recruitment of Sonneratia alba and Rhizophora apiculata 32 months after initial rehabilitation. D: The middles of some ponds are being recruited as well, again by Sonneratia alba and Rhizophora apiculata. E: Villagers from Tiwoho, North Sulawesi spent several weeks in the shrimp ponds (abandoned since 1991), filling in man-made drainage channels, and strategically breaching fish pond dike walls. F: The site had been hand planted by the government 6 times over a nine year period, with total mortality in each instance. After hydrological improvements, mangroves grew back in three major sections, to densities ranging from roughly 5000 – 20,000 seedlings per hectare. A biodiversity survey revealed 32 species of true mangroves in and adjacent to the mangrove rehabilitation area.

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