SRC Brown Bag Lunch presentation by Ms Bhawana KC - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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SRC Brown Bag Lunch presentation by Ms Bhawana KC

Please join us at the SRC (IC1.49A) and via Zoom https://usc-au.zoom.us/j/91031189065 when Ms Bhawana KC, will give a talk entitled 'The implications of outmigration on rural livelihoods and community forests in the middle hills region of Nepal.'  

In recent decades, outmigration has become a key livelihood strategy for many rural households in the middle hills region of Nepal, which in turn has had a profound effect on rural communities, their livelihoods and how they manage their farms and forests. One outcome of this change is the feminization of rural communities, where women are increasingly responsible for households, farming and community institutions. The link between outmigration, socio-economic change, land management and local institutions is not well understood, the focus of this study. The research was conducted in the Lamjung district in the middle hills region using a mixed methods approach. The research found that while new roles in farming have emerged for women, the traditional gender norms still constrain how women practice farming. In general, women’s farm work is undervalued and underpaid compared to men’s work. The impacts for women of the ‘feminization’ are highly variable, with the outcomes different for women depending on their caste/ethnicity, class and socio-economic status. More recently, hiring people for farm work has become more common, yet this is difficult for poorer families (e.g. households managed by elderly members). A range of complex factors influence land-use decisions by households. Contrary to a common assumption, underutilization of productive khet farmland was found to be on a larger scale compared to less productive bari land, which is occurring among migrant and non-migrant households. Families are adopting less intensive farming practices and concentrating their farming on land closer to village settlements – for efficiency and safety. Outmigration is directly and indirectly impacting the function of community forestry, mainly by reducing interest, dependency and participation in the Community Forest User Groups (CFUG). The increasing presence of women in farming, forestry and community institutions is positive, yet there is a need to translate their increasing presence into active roles in decision-making processes.

Ms Bhawana KC holds a master’s degree in Natural Resource Management from the University of Twente in the Netherlands, a MSc in Rural Development and BSc in Forestry from Tribhuvan University in Nepal. She has professional experience with an international non-governmental organization (CARE and Practical Action) in different natural resource management and climate change projects holding various management positions such as forestry and climate change expert.

Research interests: out-migration, feminization, community-based natural resource management, governance, gender, rural livelihoods, climate change.