Challenging gender stereotypes in community forest law enforcement
By Vienna Leigh - Communications Manager at WeForest
Tabetha and Precious
Tabetha C. is a 27-year-old single mother of two children from Chembo village in the Serenje zone of Katanino. She grew up in the big towns on the Copperbelt and would visit her grandparents in Katanino during the school holidays. She has fond memories of collecting mushrooms, fruits and wild vegetables from the Forest Reserve, but over the years, she saw the devastating impact of forest degradation and deforestation. She wanted to be part of an initiative that would spearhead the process of restoring Katanino Reserve, so when she saw that Community Forest Resource Guards were being recruited to enforce the law in Katanino and that women were particularly encouraged to apply, she convinced her friend Precious L. to go with her and register. Both were successful! Tabetha was appointed as a Team Leader and has been recommended by the Forestry Department for appointment as an Honorary Forest Officer.
Law enforcement in traditional rural communities is usually a male job, but Tabetha and Precious have challenged this stereotype. Tabetha is hoping her trailblazing will pave the way for more women to get involved in community forest governance.
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