The Foundation - Economy / Employment - Tunisia

Climate Change and women's economic empowerment in Tozeur

28.09.2018 / Created by (EMWF)
Climate Change and women's economic empowerment in Tozeur

Oasis territories in Tunisia have undergone major changes in recent years due to climate change, which affects the health of populations and their way of life. According to the UN, women are the most concerned by this phenomenon.

To deepen this question, "La Ruche de la citoyenneté active" (The Hive of Active Citizenship association) conducted a field diagnosis on the impact of climate change on the economic empowerment of oasis women in Tozeur (Tunisia). This study covered the 6 delegations of the governorate of Tozeur and directly involved the Regional Commissary for Agricultural Development of Tozeur, the Regional Commissary for Women, Family and Children of Tozeur  (CRAFFE), the Tunisian General Labour Union in Tozeur, Women’s Entreprise for Sustainability (WES), radio Djerid FM and the Higher Institute of Technological Studies (ISET) of Tozeur. 

The diagnosis focused on measures to increase women’s economic empowerment in Tozeur and ensure resilient and climate-resilient regional development. Thus, between March and July 2018, La Ruche organized focus groups that brought together institutional and civic actors, it also did some interviews with public institutions and unions, a few surveys with several associations, trade unions and Agricultural Development Groups (GDA), and an interview with women leaders (elected municipal women and association leaders).

At the end of these consultations, as well as a bibliographic search and a documentary analysis, the gender equality actors of the region of Tozeur brought out several observations: 

- Women contribute to valorize the products of palm groves: sorting, filling and packaging of dates, on the one hand, conservation and transformation into local products (eg: date syrup, date paste, date vinegar) and crafts (basketry from the reeds), on the other hand.

  • Women contribute to valorize the products of palm groves: sorting, filling and packaging of dates, on the one hand, conservation and transformation into local products (eg: date syrup, date paste, date vinegar) and crafts (basketry from the reeds), on the other hand.
  • Women also make use of other oasis products such as vegetable corne, goats’ cheese, Dhane (strong butter), apricot and date vinegar, olive, peppers, apricots and carrots production, aromatic and medicinal plants, the weaving of clothing and carpets from camel skin and remnants of fabrics. 
  • Agricultural policies in favor of date palm monoculture in recent years have encouraged over-exploitation of water resources.
  • Rising temperatures and the emergence of new diseases have also led to restricting to monoculture varietals and abandoning the cultivation of certain local varieties which are the main source of the raw material of the local products prepared by women.
  • Despite active participation of women in civilian life, their presence in decision-making positions in public institutions or civil society structures remains limited.
  • There is a lack of collaboration, coordination and awareness of the importance of an approach that takes into account the needs of women in public and community projects, and their participation in the governance of natural resources.

To provide an answer, La Ruche de la citoyenneté active à Tozeur has been carrying out since the beginning of September 2018 a field project aimed at strengthening the resilience of oasis women in the face of climate change and improving the incomes of women artisans through the promotion of local know-how and products that result from it (gastronomy, crafts ...). This project provides training for local elected officials and members of the civil society of Tozeur on gender and climate change, the production and dissemination of videos and radio programs on traditional dishes in connection with the biodiversity of oases, or the design and distribution of a catalog to facilitate the marketing of local products developed by women in the region of Tozeur.

This initiative is part of the field projects developed by the local clusters of gender equality actors© set up by the Euro-Mediterranean Women’s Foundation since 2015. It is part of the "Reinforcing the capacity of equality actors" project, funded by the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs (MEAE) and coordinated by the European Institute of the Mediterranean (IEMed). This action is also part of the project "Developing women’s empowerment", labeled by the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM).

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Space Starting Point (ESPOD)
Associació Catalana de Dones Directives i Empresaries
La ciutat invisible
Réseau Doustourna
Challenge Association of Sustainable Development (A.C.D.D.)
Association de Développement Local Méditerranéen (ADELMA)
Leïla Tauil
Association club de le jeune fille pour la formation à l'action de développement
Syria Algad Relief Foundation
Yaich Elarbi
Mobilising for Rights Associates (MRA)
Africa Women's Forum (AWF)
Foundation for Women Entrepreneurs (FWE)
Association Féminine pour le Développement de la Famille (AFDF)
Youth Empowerment Society - YES
Association Voix de Femmes Marocaines
Université d'  Alger III
Mouwatinet Association
Association of Women in Green Economy (AFEV)
Mediterranean Institute of Gender Studies (MIGS)
Cairo Center for Development (CCD)
Jerusalem Center for Women
Association des femmes pour le développement et la culture
Life Foundation for Development and Community Integration
Center for Study and Research on Human Rights and Migration
Community Media Center
Center for Research in Applied Economics for Development-CREAD
Femmes pour le Dire, Femmes pour Agir (FDFA)
Department of Gender Studies, Faculty for Social Wellbeing, University of Malta
KAGIDER
CEDAW Association for Democracy and Human Rights
Silvia Gagliardi
Mohammed V University- Agdal Rabat
Qudrat Association for Community Development
Amal Association for the family and the child

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