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Decision and Policy Analysis Research Area – DAPA

News from the heart of Cauca

An update on the ongoing Gender research in the Popayan area, Cauca, Colombia

Over a month ago three visiting researchers from the Gender & Climate Change team left for Cauca. Mariola Acosta (University of Montpellier), Seth Marsala-Bell and Taryn Devereux (both from the University of Florida) have been doing research with local farmers in the area around Popayan to be able to collect valuable data for their master thesis. The research concerns the gender sensitive mapping of household farming systems to identify the productive activities, decision-making and resource use. The team works together with local partners – La Fundación Rio Las Piedras and Fundación Ecohabitas.

photocredit: Mariola Acosta

photocredit: Mariola Acosta

The experience so far has been rewarding and successful, filled with warm welcomes by the families and valuable information. But not all has been easy, for it is a whole new experience to be dependent upon local partner organizations for transportation: many of the families live 2 hours on unpaved roads and 1 hour climbing in the mountains away. Also, last minute changes are not uncommon and the team has definitely learned to be flexible with  methods and agendas.

Taryn describes from the field how things are going:

The three of us have collaborated on a mixed qualitative and quantitative survey which we are implementing through the Cuenca Rio Piedras region. Our goal is to map the household farming systems by gender to identify the productive activities, decision-making and resource use of men and women in the household. Together with our partners, the plan is to collectively build on existing data to better understand the gender dynamics of the region and their relation to the approaches and methods of dealing with climate change.

photocredit: Mariola Acosta

photocredit: Mariola Acosta

The experience doing the surveys has been an incredible one. We are accompanied to the households by a representative from ASOCAMPO – the regional campesino farmers’ association – and are greeted warmly by the families. We begin each visit with a tour of the finca, often finding ourselves climbing down a steep hill after a nimble farmer, who has a plot of corn to show us at the bottom. Everything is green and lush, and the biodiversity here is really striking. We began the surveys in Las Huacas, a village located at the lower part of the Cuenca, and this week we have been working in Quintana, perched up high in the mountains.

Our time here is flying by and we still have a lot more we want to accomplish before we leave, so stay tuned for updates.

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