Participatory communication in development: integrating women into forestry projects in Costa Rica


[alert type=”info”]A research project conducted in 1987 in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in agricultural journalism at the University of Wisconsin‑Madison. The project was funded by the Inter-American Foundation, Ibero-American Studies Program of the University of Wisconsin and the Tropical Agricultural Research and Training Centre (CATIE), Costa Rica. [/alert]

This study describes case studies of three activities where women or a group of women participate in forestry activities in Hojancha, an area of Costa Rica where a number of reforestation projects are being implemented. The three case studies describe a women’s cooperative which has established a one‑hectare fuelwood and timber plantation, an informal women’s group that has established tree nurseries and a 60‑year‑old woman who collects tree seeds in a nearby plantation and sells them for a sizeable family income.

To determine the current and potential forestry activities of women in a sample area we conducted a survey among 50 households by simultaneously interviewing the husband and the wife. The results indicate that women currently play a small role in forestry activities. Nevertheless the majority of the women believe they could contribute to forestry and expressed strong interest in being included.

Although women’s participation in forestry in the zone is currently small, there appears to be a great potential for integrating them into forestry projects. Women could play a significant role not only in planting trees, collecting seeds and maintaining tree nurseries but also in persuading their husbands to participate in reforestation.

To integrate women, reforestation projects could apply the Havelock user‑oriented model to a group of women. Using the model women will identify their needs, diagnose their problems and, with nondirective guidance from an external agency, develop strategies that may include forestry activities.

Suggested citation: Major, M.A. (1987) Participatory communication in development: integrating women into forestry projects in Costa Rica. Unpublished Master’s thesis. Department of Agricultural Journalism, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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