Women_ men and their Environment by liuhongmei


									     Women, men and their Environment
               Gender and Natural Resources Management
                   in Ratanakiri Province, Cambodia

Prepared by:

Conny van den Berg
Gender Adviser

In cooperation with:

Phat Phalith
Research Assistant

July 2000


Map of the target villages                                                4
1 Introduction                                                            5
2 Research Methodology                                                    7
  2.1. Villages visited                                                   7
  2.2 Methodology                                                         8
3 Natural resources related problems for Highland Communities            10
4 Gender relations in Highland Society                                   12
  4.1 Labour                                                             12
  4.2 Education                                                          13
  4.3 Decision making at village level                                   13
  4.4 Decision making on household finances                              14
5 Collection of natural resources                                        16
  5.1 Forest products                                                    16
    5.1.1 Forest products and their location                             16
    5.1.2 Fruits, vegetables and other botanical products                16
    5.1.3 Wildlife                                                       18
    5.1.4 Fish                                                           18
    5.1.5 Benefits of forest products                                    19
  5.2 Firewood                                                           19
  5.3 Water                                                              21
  5.4 Logging                                                            22
6 Agriculture                                                            24
  6.1 Upland agriculture                                                 24
    6.1.1 Gender division of labour in upland agriculture                24
    6.1.2 Problems faced and their impact on women and men               25
  6.2 Paddy rice cultivation                                             26
  6.3 Cash crops                                                         27
  6.4 Female headed households and agriculture                           28
  6.5 Animal Husbandry                                                   30
7 Culture, gender and NRM                                                32
  7.1 Belief system                                                      32
  7.2 Ownership of land                                                  34
8 Project intervention, gender and Natural resources management          36
  8.1 Agriculture                                                        36
  8.2 Animal Health and Production                                       36
  8.3 Community Based Natural resources management                       37
  8.4 Gender                                                             39
    8.4.1 Mother and Child Care Activities                               39
    8.4.2 Reducing Women‟s Workload Activities                           40
    8.4.3 Possible other activities                                      41
  8.5 Non Formal Education (NFE)                                         41
  8.6 Local Planning Process (LPP) / Integrated Planning Process (IPP)   42

        8.6.1 Infrastructure                                                                                                                           43
        8.6.2 Buffalo Banks                                                                                                                            43
        8.6.3 Rice Banks                                                                                                                               43
9 Conclusion                                                                                                                                           45
10 Recommendations                                                                                                                                     47
    10.1 Training                                                                                                                                      47
    10.2 Planning                                                                                                                                      47
    10.3 Activities                                                                                                                                    48
Literature                                                                                                                                             49
Annex I: Village Maps of Natural Resource Use                                                                                                          51
Annex II: Prices of forest products                                                                                                                    53
Annex III Research Team                                                                                                                                54
Annex VI: Questionnaire                                                                                                                                55

List of Tables
Table 1: Target villages of the research ............................................................................................... 7
Table 2: Target villages and their characteristics ............................................................................... 7
Table 3: Productive and reproductive activities of men and women............................................... 12
Table 4: Financial decisions made by gender ................................................................................... 15
Table 5: Example of natural resources collection by gender ........................................................... 17
Table 6: Availability of forest products in L’Eun Kren in 1998 as compared to 1979 ..................... 18
Table 7: Availability and quality of different kinds of firewood in Som Trak .................................. 20
Table 8: Opinion of villagers on quality and quantity of water in their villages between 1980 and
     1999 .............................................................................................................................................. 21
Table 9: Agricultural activities by gender and ethnicity ................................................................... 24
Table 10: Paddy rice and upland rice cultivation in target villages ................................................. 26
Table 11: Responsibilities of men and women in cash crop cultivation ......................................... 27
Table 12: Widow families involved in paddy rice cultivation............................................................ 28
Table 13: Existence of NRM related traditions per village ................................................................ 32
Table 14: Relation between type of family and ability to pay rice bank debt .................................. 44

List of Figures
Fig. 1: Firewood storage in a Jarai village ......................................................................................... 20
Fig. 2: Harvesting of upland rice fields .............................................................................................. 25
Fig. 3: Types of families facing severe rice shortages (4-5 months) ............................................... 29
Fig. 4: NRM Committee members by gender ..................................................................................... 38

Arak       -     Spirit, but also used for a spirit medium
Chamkar    -     Swidden field
Khappa     -     Back strapped basket
Memaai     -     Widow
Pedaai     -     Husband
Taam       -     Follow

List of Abbreviations
CARERE                          Cambodian Rehabilitation and Reintegration Programme
CBNRM                           Community Based Natural resources management
CDC                             Commune Development Committee
DDC                             District Development Committee
DFT                             District Facilitation Team
HPP                             Highland Peoples Programme
IDRC                            International Development Research Centre
IPP                             Integrated Planning Process
LCB                             Local Capacity Building Sector
LPP                             Local Planning Process
MSG                             Monosodium Glutamate
NFE                             Non Formal Education
NGO                             Non Governmental Organisation
NPPP                            National Professional Project Personnel
NRM                             Natural resources management
NTFP                            Non-Timber Forest Products
OAHP                            Office of Animal Health and Production
OA                              Office of Agronomy
PDA                             Provincial Department of Agriculture
PDE                             Provincial Department of Environment
PDWA                            Provincial Department of Women‟s Affairs
PFT                             Provincial Facilitation Team
PRDC                            Provincial Rural Development Committee
UNDP                            United Nations Development Programme
UNOPS                           United Nations Office for Project Services
VAV                             Village Agricultural Volunteer‟
VDC                             Village Development Committee
VV                              Village Veterinarian
VVT                             Village Volunteer Teacher
VVTA                            Village Volunteer Teacher Assistant

Map of the target villages

1 Introduction

Ratanakiri is a highland province inhabited predominantly by different ethnic groups. The
basis of their livelihood has been and still is the forest. However, rapid economic as well as
social development, has already started to alter this. To assess the problems concerning
Natural resources management1 and their impact on the livelihood of Highland People and to
document change, International Development Research Center (IDRC)/Cambodian Area
Rehabilitation and Reconciliation Program (CARERE) started in March 1998 with an action
research project2. Although this provided a lot of data on Highland Peoples‟ use of and their
reliance on natural resources, gender3 specific data was lacking. This research aims to fill in
that information gap.

The interest in the subject of women and environment was raised first in the early 1980‟s. The
impact of global development on the environment was becoming increasingly visible.
Activists and scholars became aware of the impact of environmental degradation and its effect
on the lives of all people but in particular on women, because of their involvement in
reproductive activities4. In the first stages of the debate, women were mostly seen as victims
of environmental problems such as deforestation, desertification and water pollution. That
slowly changed to the notion of women being the best managers of nature because of their
frequent interaction with and knowledge of their natural environment5. Braidotti et al.6,
however, does not agree with that latter conclusion. To her it is true that environmental
degradation affects men and women differently, but that does not automatically lead to the
conclusion that women are better at looking after nature, or that women have the answer to
counter environmental problems. She argues that men are also victims of deforestation,
desertification, chemical or nuclear disasters etc., and are also able to help solve the problems
caused by environmental degradation7 .

Among Highland communities in Ratanakiri, the natural environment is an essential and
integral part of people‟s livelihood. Men as well as women are to a great extent dependent on
nature and its resources. Therefore it is impossible to say that deforestation for example,
which is one of the biggest problems of this province, only affects the highland women. It
affects both men and women, but for each of them it has different consequences, since, natural
resources are used in different ways by men and women. Overcoming men‟s problems with
regards to the natural environment may take different interventions to finding solutions to

  Natural resources management is defined in this respect as all activities pertaining to the use of the
natural environment. For example: animal husbandry, agriculture, collection and processing of timber
and non-timber forest products, fishing and water collection. In addition, religious and/or cultural
activities, like spirit worshipping can be regarded as part of Natural resources management when this
bears any relation to the environment. This is especially true for Highland People in Ratanakiri. Natural
resources and their culture, livelihood system and religious system are very much intertwined. Natural
resources are the very basis of their culture, traditions and livelihood system (see Bourdier 1996).
  Phat 1998, Liévoux 1999
  Gender is defined as the difference between men and women as determined by a particular culture in a
particular time. The different roles of men and women are not (only) the result of the difference in sex, but also
because of how these roles have developed over time influenced by tradition.
  Reproductive activities are those activities which are done to maintain and look after the family and oneself,
such as carrying water, cooking, fetching fire wood etc. Traditionally in most societies women are fully
responsible for those tasks.
  Braidotti 1994, p. 1-2
  Ibid 1994
  Ibid, p. 8-9

issues women are dealing with.8 In addition, it is important to determine to what extent men
and women have access and control over various kinds of natural resources. Economic
development, environmental degradation and project activities might also influence the
traditional pattern of access and control.

IDRC/CARERE‟s project interventions relate to natural resources management as well as to
gender relations. Project activities directly or indirectly, and sometimes negatively, influence
the natural environment as well as gender relations. To lead this in the right direction, base
line information on gender relations in Natural resources management is necessary.

The following research objectives were identified:
1. To collect information on the role of highland women and men in managing natural
   resources (NRM) among Highland People in Ratanakiri province. This is necessary in
   order to understand the gender division and gender relations in natural resources
   management, i.e. the roles and responsibilities of men and women, decision making
   patterns among men and women, and access and control over natural resources and their
2. To assess the impact of the gender division of labour and gender relations in Natural
   resources management on project activities
3. To assess the impact of project activities on the gender division of labour and gender
   relations in order to make recommendations for possible interventions.

To achieve the objectives various issues have been studied. In chapter 3 a general analysis is
made of the main environmental problems in the province, followed by a description of the
gender relations in Highland communities in chapter 4. These chapters provide the necessary
background information to analyze the changes in gender relations in natural resources

The traditional ways of managing natural resources have been split for convenience into:
collection of natural resources, agriculture and culture. Chapter 5 provides the reader with
information on women‟s and men‟s roles and possible changes in gathering forest products,
fetching water and gathering firewood. In a separate section, logging and its effect on gender
relations at village level is discussed.

The Agriculture information (chapter 6) is divided into upland agriculture, paddy cultivation,
cash cropping and animal husbandry. In each of these sections the most important changes in
relation to the gender division of labour and the gender relations are documented. Special
attention is given to the position of female headed households in agriculture.

The roles of women and men in cultural traditions relating to natural resources management
are addressed in chapter 7. The consequences of changes in the natural environment in
relation to land ownership issues are also dealt with in this chapter.

At the end of the report, in chapter 8, the various (sub)projects of CARERE/IDRC with
regards to their impact on gender relations and the natural environment are discussed. The
focus of this chapter is on the threats and opportunities the activities provide in this respect.

    See Braidotti 1995

2 Research Methodology
2.1. Villages visited
Over a two month period, the research team visited the following 13 villages:
Table 1: Target villages of the research
Visiting Dates    Target villages          Commune                  District           Ethnicity
15-17/9/99        Som Trak                 Som Thom                 O’Yadao            Jarai
22-24/9/99        Som Kol                  Som Thom                 O’Yadao            Jarai
29/9/99           Phum Teen                Yatung                   O’Yadao            Jarai
30/9/99           Phum Samkanin            Som Thom                 O’Yadao            Jarai
1/10/99           Phum Trom                Laming,                  Bokeo              Tampuan
13-15/10/99       L’Eun Kren               Ochum                    O’Chum             Tampuan
20-22/10/99       L’Eun Chong              O’Chum                   O’Chum             Tampuan
27-29/10/99       Phum Lon                 Yeak Loam                Ban Lung           Tampuan
3-5/11/99         Phum Chree               Yeak Loam                Ban Lung           Tampuan
10/11/99          Phum Khameng             Poey                     O’Chum             Kreung
11/11/99          Phum Svaay,              Poey                     O’Chum             Kreung
12/11/99          Phum Kralah              Poey                     O’Chum             Kreung
24-26/11/99       Phum Kok Brou            Phnom Kok Thmey          Veunsai            Brou

The main selection criteria for the villages was that the main ethnic groups had to be
represented. Furthermore, villages had to be chosen in such a way that some were located very
near the market and as well as in a more remote area . In addition, villages were selected
because of their involvement in cash crop production or their location in a logging concession
area. Another important selection criteria was to choose some of the target villages of the
Community Based Natural Resources Management (CBNRM) component of the CARERE
Ratanakiri project. This would provide information on this programme‟s impact on the
knowledge of villagers on natural resources management. A last criteria for selection was to
choose the villages in such a way that the main geographical zones in Ratanakiri would be
represented; i.e. lowland area, mountainous area and the volcanic plateau.

As the location and ethnicity of the villages, in addition to the extent these village have to deal
with outside intervention plays an important role in the impact of environmental degradation
and the way villagers manage their resources, a short description of each village with its main
characteristics follows below:

Table 2: Target villages and their characteristics
Village                Characteristics
Som Trak               A Jarai village located on the road to Vietnam. It borders a former oil palm, turned into coffee
                       plantation. This firm has bought land from this village for its plantation via commune and district
                       authorities without the consent of the rest of the village. Most villagers are combining upland
                       rice cultivation with growing paddy rice. It is one of the target villages of the CBNRM sub-
Som Kol                A Jarai village, in the same commune as Som Trak. It is one of the very few village which is still
                       surrounded by forests. As Som Trak, the village is included in the target communities of the
                       CBNRM project.
Samkanin               A Jarai village in Som Thom commune on the road to Vietnam. The village is in the process of
                       moving along the road. The old village is located 500 meters from the road. As Som Trak,
                       Samkanin also borders the oil palm plantation and they also have lost land to the company.
                       Samkanin is one of the CBRNM target villages.
Ten                    Ten is a Jarai village in Yatung commune. It is located around 1 km of the main road. This
                       village has been involved in cash cropping projects of the Agriculture Department since 1998.
Trom                   Trom is a Tampuan village in Laming commune. Although CARERE has been implementing

                            projects in this village, it has quite a negative attitude towards development workers and their
                            activities. The village has been growing coffee since the colonial era in the forests surrounding
                            their village.
L’Eun Kren                  L’Eun Kren is a Tampuan village in O’Chum commune. It is located in a hilly region about 10
                            km from Ban Lung and 3 km of the main road. It is one of the target villages of CBRNM.
L’Eun Chong                 L’Eun Chong is a Tampuan village in O’Chum commune. It is located in a hilly area about 10
                            km from Ban Lung and 3 km off the main road. The village has been growing coffee since the
                            colonial era in the forests surrounding their village.
Lon                         Lon is a Tampuan village in Labansiek commune. It is located along the road to Yak Loam lake
                            and thus sees a substantial number of foreigners passing through in addition to many Khmer
                            people who go out for a visit. Lon is the only village that is located on its traditional lands in the
                            commune. Ban Lung town is 3 km away from Lon.
Chree                       Chree is a Tampuan village in Labansiek commune. Of all ethnic villages in Ratanakiri, this
                            village is nearest to Ban Lung town at a distance of 1.5 km. It has a substantial number of
                            Khmer and Lao people inhabiting their village. Over the last ten years it has lost a lot of their
                            land to outsiders, either by land grab or by villagers selling their land to outsiders. The majority
                            of the villagers lives out in their chamkar and hardly ever comes to the actual village. Social
                            cohesion is very weak as compared to other ethnic villages. It is one of the target villages of
Khameng                     Khameng is a Kreung village in Poey commune. It is located 5 km off the main road. This main
                            road is not as busy as the road to Vietnam. The village is 25 km from Ban Lung. It is located in
                            the HERO logging concession area and active logging is taking place. Khameng is a target
                            village of CIDSE, Health Unlimited and NTFP project.
Svaay                       Svaay is a Kreung village in Poey commune. It is located 2 km of the same main road as
                            Khameng and 18 km from Ban Lung. It is located in the HERO logging concession area and
                            active logging is taking place. As Khameng, Svaay is also a target village of CIDSE, Health
                            Unlimited and NTFP project.
Krala                       Krala is a Kreung village in Poey commune. It is located 0.5 km off the same main road as
                            Khameng and Svaay and around 16 km from Ban Lung. It is located in the HERO logging
                            concession area but as opposed to the other two village in Poey, no active logging has started
                            yet. Krala is also a target village of CIDSE, Health Unlimited and NTFP project.
Kok Brou                    Kok Brou is a Brou village in Phnom Kok commune on the Sesan river. At the time of research
                            the village could only be reached by boat, an hour from Veunsai which is the district town. Ban
                            Lung is at a distance of 45 km. The village is growing paddy rice since the 1950’s.

2.2 Methodology
A range of research methods were used, which included a desk study9, group interviews,
preference ranking and mapping. Since substantial information was already available on the
topic of gender and natural resources management, the research started off a with a review of
the existing project reports and other literature. That literature study was the starting point of
the research from which topics and information gaps were identified for gathering additional

The core of the information was collected by conducting group interviews. For some
subjects10 it was necessary to interview women and men in separate groups for allowing
women to speak out more easily as they are often shy in public. In addition, these focus group
interviews enabled the research team to distinguish women‟s opinions and views from those
of men. Other issues were discussed in a family setting such as animal production and
agriculture, as on these subjects that the decision-making pattern within the household is

    Berg 1999
    Logging, collection of natural resources, knowledge on natural resources management.

In addition to group interviews, other tools were used such as mapping (collection of natural
resources by men and women) and preference ranking (collection of firewood). Mapping was
conducted by men and women in separate groups so that the team could form a clear picture
of who was collecting what products and where (see Annex I for the result of the mapping
exercise in two villages).

Visiting people at their chamkars served the purpose of observing the natural environment
around the village, observe places where people collected natural resources and what the
traditional water sources were and how they were used.

The interview team consisted of six people (see Annex III). Most of the time the team split
into two groups. When interviewing women, the questions (see Annex IV) were translated in
the local language11 and then translated back into Khmer. Hardly any translation was used
when interviewing men, because of their level of understanding and speaking Khmer, which
is much higher than that of women. One team member who conducted most of the interviews
with women was not a native Khmer speaker and neither were two of the team members that
were responsible for the translation into the local language. Due to these language problems,
some information may have been lost or misinterpreted, however, all information was cross
checked with the rest of the team to avoid major misunderstandings.

   Three persons on the interview team were able to speak Kreung, Brou and Tampuan and one of them was also
fluent in Jarai.

3 Natural resources related problems for Highland Communities

Highland People‟s way of life is built around the notion of conserving the environment (see
also chapter 7). This is clearly visible in the complex system of swidden agriculture they have
developed over many centuries. Their agriculture system and production is dependent on, and
is a way of, sustainable natural resources management. It is characterised by clearing a piece
of secondary forest and then burning and planting the plots for a period of one to four years,
depending on the soil fertility. After the first cycle, plots are left to fallow for 7 to 12 years.
By leaving the land to fallow, regeneration of trees and bushes serves as a means of rebuilding
soil fertility. The longer the fallow period, the more fertile the soil becomes. In addition to
upland rice and vegetable cultivation, the Highland People supplement their agricultural
production by gathering forest fruits and vegetables and hunting wildlife.

Their livelihood depends on the lands and forests: without forests, it would be increasingly
difficult to grow crops in their swidden fields, as the soil would not retain its fertility. Hunting
small animals would not be possible nor the gathering of forest products. The detailed
knowledge of natural resources for Highland communities is also demonstrated by the fact
that they can distinguish at least nine types of soils and seventeen different kinds of forests 12.

The balance between the Highland peoples livelihood system and natural resources is a
precarious one. It is only sustainable when certain criteria are met. Population must be low in
areas where swidden cultivation is performed and land and forest must be available in large
quantities. This is necessary to allow for forest and soil regeneration13. Once these criteria are
no longer met, the balance is disturbed and swidden cultivation becomes more and more

In the last ten years, this balance has been disturbed by logging operations, industrial
plantations and in migration of people from lowland Cambodia and Vietnam. These changes
already are posing great difficulties in Highland communities, especially around Ban Lung,
Bokeo district and in O‟Chum district. Villages are faced with logging operations in spirit
forests, communal land being sold to outsiders for cash crop plantations, and the settling of
migrants on land formerly belonging to Highland villages. Land available for cultivation is
decreasing, not only in quantity but also in quality because the land which is left is cultivated
more intensively. Forest areas are also decreasing, leaving villagers with fewer opportunities
to supplement their diet and obtain building materials.

The problems discussed above are further complicated by land tenure issues. Highland People
have a customary land tenure system which is based on actual village needs. All land is
owned by a village as a whole and individual land ownership does not exist. If a new comer or
a family wants to clear a plot of land for cultivation, that person or family must settle
themselves as residents in the village. Within the community, land is then divided between all
families according to their need. Village boundaries are usually marked by rivers, roads,
streams, hills and mountains and are only specified when two villages use land very near to
each other. Village elders of the villages concerned will meet to discuss and set the village
boundaries when necessary.

This customary land tenure system is not recognised by the government. The government
formally owns all land that is not continuously cultivated or is not in the possession of persons
     These types of soils and forests were identified by Tampuan villagers. See Bourdier 1995 for more details.
     Harris 1987, p. 254-255

having land titles. Under this definition forested areas belong to the government so they are
formally entitled to sell whatever they want. Obviously, certain areas are commercially more
interesting than others. These two systems clash, particularly in areas which border on the
provincial town. Villagers have little knowledge about the official land tenure system of the
government14. The government has been selling or even grabbing land from local villages in
many areas without taking the traditional tenure system into consideration. This has lead to
increasing insecurity over the access to and control over customary land among highland
communities. Due to this feeling of insecurity, villagers themselves have started to sell parts
of their land. They feel that, if they do not sell the land themselves, somebody else will come
and take it from them.

Over the past five years Non Governmental Organisations (NGO) and other International
Organisations (IO) have stressed the need for a formalised land tenure system that is based on
traditional cultivation practices and fits the needs of Highland people. In workshops, some of
the Highland People‟s representative have expressed the need and interest in a system of
communal land titles, rather than individual land titles, as it fits the traditional land tenure
system better. However, some villagers are also interested in individual titles. So far, the
government has shown very little willingness to revise the land law in such a way that
communal land titles are an option.

Increasing monetarisation of the economy as a result of development, also has its implications
for the environment. Before lands, trees and other forest products were not valued in monetary
terms, but due to access to markets which have come about because of an increase in-
migration of lowlanders, the highlanders see the benefit of having cash to trade. The
emergence of markets to sell and buy products, provide villagers with the opportunity to earn
an income through trade which previously was done on a barter system. This process of
commoditisation leads highlanders and others to selling land and products that they would not
have considered doing fifty years ago, or not in the quantities that they do now. Land, wildlife
and certain kinds of forest fruits are clear examples prone to be sold in search for quick
benefit, possibly leading to land pressure, extinction of certain animals and forest products.
For example, malvanuts were traded in a sustainable fashion by picking the fruit, now whole
trees have been cut down to be able to harvest and sell large quantities by both highlanders
and lowlanders.

     Emerson 1997, p. 60-67

4 Gender relations in Highland Society

To understand the difference in use and control over natural resources by women and men,
gender relations as they exist in Highland communities need to be addressed first. The
position of women and men in the village will be discussed by addressing their productive and
reproductive roles15, their involvement in education and their involvement in decision making
both at village level and within the household.

4.1 Labour
It would appear that women are highly valued in highlander societies. This is due to the fact
that, societies engaged in shifting cultivation depend a lot on women‟s labour16. Although
highlander society is egalitarian in a lot of ways, there is a clear gender division regarding
certain areas, tasks and activities in every day life. Women and men are both involved in
agricultural work but they have distinct tasks. Village political life is more or less dominated
by men whereas it is the responsibility of women to run the household.

Table 3: Productive and reproductive activities of men and women
WOMEN                                             MEN

                                       Productive Activities
    -                                               Cutting trees
    Burning fields                                  Burning fields
    Planting rice and vegetables                    Planting rice and vegetables
    Harvesting rice and vegetables                  Harvesting rice and vegetables
    Weeding                                         Weeding
    Gathering vegetables, fruits                    -
    Looking after pigs and chicken                  Looking after cows and buffaloes
    Fishing                                         Hunting, fishing
    Sell vegetables at the market                   -

                                      Reproductive activities
    Looking after children                          Looking after children
    Fetching water                                  -
    Collecting firewood                             -
    Cooking                                         -
    Cleaning the house                              -
    Small house repairs                             Building and repairing houses
    Weaving cloth, baskets                          Weaving mats and baskets
    -                                               Making and repairing tools
    -                                               Gathering construction materials

Source: Berg 1998b

Both women and men are involved in performing productive activities. Generally, men are
involved in doing the heavy work like felling trees, burning of the fields and hunting. Women
do so-called “light” work such as gathering vegetables and fruits, looking after pigs and
chickens and selling products at the market. As in most societies, Highland women and girls
are more involved in reproductive activities than men. In Samkanin, a Jarai village, women
performed, on top of the 6.5 hours of productive labour, another 8.5 hours of reproductive
   Productive activities are all activities that eventually will generate an income either in kind or in terms of
money, such as agricultural activities, marketing produce, wage labour etc. Reproductive activities are all
activities which are needed to maintain and reproduce the labour force, such as bearing and caring for children,
repairing and maintaining houses, cleaning, cooking, gathering firewood, fetching water etc.
   Kelkar 1997, p. 63

labour. In comparison, men spend 9.5 hours working in the field but no time devoted to
reproductive activities17. Men are only occasionally engaged in reproductive activities such as
childcare, fetching water, collecting firewood or cooking when their wives are not available or
are ill. However certain reproductive tasks, like weaving baskets or repairing houses, are
mainly performed by men. For women the combination of productive and reproductive work
leads to a heavy workload with hardly any leisure time18.

4.2 Education
The general level of education among Highlanders is low. Schools tend to be far away and
often lack teaching staff. Parents as well as children often do not see much use for education
in their daily life. In addition, all family labour is needed in the chamkar to secure the family‟s
food situation. This is especially the case for girls. They are kept at home more than boys.
This is because, from the age of seven or eight, girls have to assist their mothers in work
around the house, and also on the farm. In comparison, boys are not required to do very much
until they are about eleven or twelve. As a Tampuan man pointed out: “Education is not that
important for girls since sooner or later they get married and then they cannot do anything
with their knowledge anymore. Boys can go out and use what they have learned later”19.

In Non Formal Education (NFE) classes and training at village level, men have commonly
been more involved than women. Women said they could not attend any training because their
agricultural work and tasks around the house did not leave them any time to go. Another
reason for the lack of attendance by women is that training is often held in Khmer and women
usually have a limited knowledge of the national language20. When training is held in Khmer,
women understand very little and their willingness to attend is very low. Despite this, some
interesting developments have occurred recently. In the 25 villages where the CARERE
development programme started NFE Khmer literacy classes in 1999, 45 % of the students are
women21. This suggests that women now see a need to become literate and they are eager to
learn. Most of them are young, unmarried women. Married women are still too busy looking
after their children and husbands22. To tackle this problem the NFE programme of CARERE
has initiated a policy recruiting women as assistant teachers after they have completed the first
literacy cycle. In addition, women only classes are trialed in some villages (for more
information on this subject see section 8.5).

4.3 Decision making at village level
Although Highlander society is more egalitarian than Khmer society, there are differences in
decision making power between men and women. Generally women have as big a say as men
on financial and agricultural matters, albeit not to the same extent in every village. Beyond
household level, women participate very little in decision making. Women are seldom part of
the group of village elders who serve as an advisory board in case of disputes.
   The information comes from a daily time table (Berg 1998c, p. 13) in which the men did not mention to do any
reproductive work. From observation, however, it became clear that men do spend time looking after their
children and they at least wash their own clothes. An estimation of the hours spend by men on reproductive tasks
would amount to 1 to 2 hours a day.
   Berg 1998c, p. 13-15
   Berg 1998c, p. 24
   As highland women have a high workload, they tend not to send their daughters to school so they are able to
assist their mothers with their household tasks. Furthermore, women have fewer possibilities of interaction with
Khmers in villages which are far from the provincial and district towns because they have to look after their
children and often cannot ride bicycles whereas men have the freedom and means to go the market. Moreover,
Highland men were and are still recruited as soldiers which offers them the opportunity of learning Khmer.
   McCausland 1998
   Berg 1998c

In addition, every village has a village chief supported by one or two vice village chiefs
appointed by the Cambodian government. No woman has ever been elected to become a
village chief in highland villages. Women usually do take part in village meetings. Through a
democratic process, in which, in theory, everybody can express their concerns, the village
comes to a decision. However, people with more prestige, wealth, education or knowledge
will usually have more confidence and as a result, more to say than others. The majority of
these others will generally consist of women since they tend to have less education, are shy
and have a lower self-esteem23.

4.4 Decision making on household finances
Although the literature is ambiguous about the whole process of financial decision making at
household level, it is clear that women are usually the ones to keep the money, regardless of
whether it was earned by their husbands or by themselves24. This is confirmed by the findings
in the target villages. In all of the villages25 were the subject of financial decision-making was
addressed, the family‟s money is kept by the women. The reason that women keep the money
is of a very practical nature: they stay at home more often than men, so the money is safer
with them.

Women tend to earn money by selling vegetables and fruit at the market, and sometimes by
selling handicrafts such as skirts, blankets and bags. Men more often sell forest products such
as wild life, honey, resin bur will also hire themselves out as labourers on plantations or as
soldiers. Selling livestock is also an important source of income for highland people.
Although men and women earn money independently of each other, it is always for the
benefit of the whole family and not the private possession of the person who earns the money.
This is also the case if men hunt and sell wildlife. For example, when men in Kok Brou hunt
wildlife, they first come back home from their trip and discuss what the family is going to do
with the money once the animal is sold. Women in Som Kol said it would be unacceptable if
men would sell wildlife or any other thing, with them not knowing anything about it. Only in
Phum Lon, near to Ban Lung, women said that their husbands sometimes keep the money
earned by hunting wildlife. They do not to mind because it takes a lot of effort to hunt
wildlife, so the women feel that their husbands deserve to spend the benefits on things for
themselves. In L‟Eun Chong one of the women in the group that was interviewed, had a
husband who never gave her the money he earned. The rest of the women in the group did not
approve of this practice. All this suggests that women do have some decision making power
over the family‟s financial affairs.

Decisions about buying or selling expensive goods such as motorbikes, bicycles, radios, cows,
buffaloes and adult pigs are made through a family discussion. Women cannot decide on this
without the agreement of their husbands, and vice versa. Still, one woman in Kok Brou told us
that if she wants to buy a radio but her husband does not, no radio will be purchased. If it is
the other way around, and the husband wants the radio, she will automatically follow her
husbands decision because he earns most of the money. The other women said that this
happened only among a minority of all families in Kok Brou.

   This was observed during meetings held with project staff and villagers. It could be that when villagers are
conducting a meeting on their own, without outsiders, women are a lot more outspoken. However, it is known
that in some villages women cannot even attend village meetings. At the same time, the older people get, the
more status and power they acquire, this is true for men as well as women.
   Berg 1998, p. 17.
   Som Kol, Som Trak, L‟Eun Kren, L‟Eun Chong, Lon, Chree, Kok Brou.

In general, women from villages located near a district town or the provincial capital often go
to the market to sell and buy goods. However, when villages are situated in more remote parts
of the province, it is usually the men who go to the market26. In most of the target villages,
both women and men go to the market and buy things, regardless of the distance to the
market. Nevertheless, in Lon, Som Trak and Som Kol the women and men interviewed
indicated that men are usually the main spenders.

Table 4: Financial decisions made by gender
Villages    Som Kol        Som Trak       L’Eun Kren          L’Eun Chong     Lon            Chree          Kok Brou
Sex 
Women        0-2000 riels   Any small      Unknown             Any small item 0-2000 per      0-50,000       Any small
             per market     item27                                            market visit    per market     item
             visit                                                                            visit

Men          0-5000 per     Any small      1000-2000 per Any small item Unknown               0-50,000       Any small
             market visit   item           market village                                     per market     item
Both         Big amounts,   Big amounts,   Big amounts,        Big amounts,    Big amounts,   Big amounts,   Big amounts,
             expensive      expensive      expensive           expensive       expensive      expensive      expensive
             items28        items          items               items           items          items          items

Control over the household finances is not within the hands of women nor is it in the hands of
men. The real decisions are made with all family members, and all of them have to agree with
a purchase or a sale when it comes to more valuable items (see table 4). Decision making
about household finances does not seem to have changed over the last twenty to forty years.
In all villages, the respondents said they handled money in the same way as their parents did.
The only difference being that they now have more money than their parents as there is
greater access to markets.

The data collected provide little evidence that the men are gaining increasing control over the
household finances. Generally women and men still have equal access and control over
financial means of the family. Only among a minority of cases (Kok Brou and Lon), men have
more control over money than women. Kok Brou and Lon are both villages where the
situation has altered quite substantially over the last 40 years. It may not be coincidence that
in these villages some men seem to have gained more control over the household finances. It
may indicate a relation between changes in their livelihood system (switching to paddy
cultivation in Kok Brou and the increasing dependence on the sale of goods on the market in
Lon) and men having increased influence on family‟s financial matters. This possibly points
towards a trend that in case of changes in the natural environment, women may loose their
control over money. Future research should incorporate this issue to monitor this trend as it
could have implications for project activities aiming at income generation.

   Kelkar 1997, p. 49-52
   Small items include: food product, clothes, household items, medicines, chickens and piglets.
   Expensive items as defined by villagers are motorbikes, bicycles, buffaloes, cows etc.

5 Collection of natural resources

As discussed in chapter 3, Highland men and women have different tasks and activities. This
influences the use of, the access to and the control over natural resources. Furthermore, it is
important to determine where the resources are located since this influences their access and
control. In this chapter, gender differences in the collection of natural resources will be
discussed. In each of the sections access and control over the resources, their location and who
has knowledge over what, will be examined. In addition, the influence of logging on natural
resources management and gender relations at village level will be addressed.

5.1 Forest products

5.1.1 Forest products and their location
Men‟s activities related to the collection of natural resources are mainly hunting wildlife,
fishing and gathering building materials. Women are more often involved in the collection of
food and subsistence items such as fruits, vegetables, fish, water and firewood29 (see table 5).
All these products are found at different places (see maps in Annex I).

For example, in Som Kol, firewood, mushrooms and bamboo shoots are found in the forested
area surrounding the village at a distance of 200-500 m from the centre, whereas forest fruits
such as plei koi, plei rool, plei pniew, cardamom are located in dense forests about 5km away.
Wild leaves, such as slak kandeew are gathered near the chamkars, and not in dense forests.
Women generally have to walk shorter distances in comparison to men, to be able to find the
products they collect. Men collect products mainly from distant (primary) forests, whereas
women use the secondary forests and old chamkars around the village to collect the products
they need. Only on few occasions do women accompany men on trips to primary forests, the
reason being: “Women cannot walk very far nor can they climb trees”, according to men in
Chree and L‟Eun Chong. The fact that women have to look after the children should also be
taken into account.

5.1.2 Fruits, vegetables and other botanical products
In all villages forest products, and in particular forests fruits like malva nuts and cardamom
but also bamboo (shoots), resin, medicinal plants and various kinds of trees used for timber
have decreased in availability. This affect men and women both, since in most villages they
collect these products together. Only in L‟Eun Kren, Khameng, Svaay and Krala, villagers
said forest fruits are still available near the village.

Few products were mentioned by the villagers to be completely depleted, though in Svaay the
village men said that the following trees could no longer be found in their forests: daam
chhaeung khouch, daam bdoung and daam prous. Villagers did not indicate the use of these
trees nor did they have an explanation for the disappearance of these trees.

     Berg 1998c, Sugiarti 1995, Kelkar 1997

Table 5: Example of natural resources collection by gender
                                      Phum Cha Ung, O’Chum (Kreung)
               Chamkar                        Forest                                     Rivers, streams, wells
Food and       WOMEN               MEN         WOMEN                MEN                  WOMEN            MEN
medicine         Rice                rice      slak kandeew           mouse             fish              tortoise
                 Papaya                         grape                  squirl            crab              turtle
                 Banana                         rool                   large lizard      snail             fish
                 Pumpkin                        koi                    monkey            shrimp            frog
                 jack fruit                     bamboo shoot           pangolin          frog              sad trang
                 wax gourd                      neem                   large lizard      water             water
                 pineapple                      mak preeng             pigeon            shell fish         monitor
                 mango                          mak prang              small deer
                 guava                          pong ro                wild pig
                 ginger                         plei pnieuw            large deer
                 morning glory                  kalaajn                snake
                 sugar cane                     cheloe                 neem
                 tamarind                                               chicken
                 cucumber                                               honey
                 eggplant
                 gourd
                 chili
                 small kind of
                 casava-yam
                 sweet potatoe
                 corn
                 wild garlic
                 lemon grass
                 kind of ginger
                  used as
                 sesame

Construction   WOMEN               MEN         WOMEN                MEN
and               cotton             trees     different kinds      constructio
                  natural dye                    of bamboo             n wood
handicraft                                       firewood              bamboo
                                                                       rattan
                                                                       leaves for
                                                                       thatch
                                                                       melaleuca
                                                                       resin
Source: Berg 1998

Vegetables are still as widely available as before (see table 6). This is most likely due to the
fact that primary forests are diminishing whereas secondary forests and old chamkars, the
places where most wild vegetables grow, still exist in relative abundance. Women do not yet
have any problems in collecting vegetables and other products from these areas.

The decline in availability of all forest products was the worst in Chree. Almost all forest
products are no longer available in the vicinity of the village since there are no forests
anymore. In Chree, bamboo and bamboo shoots have decreased about 70% in availability as
compared to 20 years ago. Firewood and vegetables are available around the village and near
the chamkars albeit in lower quantity and quality. Chree is dependent on the forests of other
villages. Permission has to be sought from these villages before hunting or collecting rattan.
However, other villages are not always very happy with Chree villagers using their forests.
The reluctance to allow access was demonstrated by an elephant of a Chree villager getting
shot by bow and arrow on one of their trips.

Table 6: Availability of forest products in L’Eun Kren in 1998 as compared to 1979
    Vegetables          Score              Fruits             Score           Wild life      Score
Slak kadeew              10       Sau Mau (Rambutan)            4     Anyi (Lori)              2
Patrub                   10       Pong Rul                      2     Trakout (Monitor         9
Bromoy                   10       Pnieuw                        4     Ansong                   1
Domray                   10       Tom Peang Bey Chou            3     Andeik                   3
Troy reung                10      Svaay Prey (Wilde Mango)      8     Pous Vek (Python)       10
Kanyes                    10      Pring                         5     Teung                    1
Phol                      10      Kok                           6     Kreung                   1
Tompeang                   4      Krok                          7     Anseng                   1
(Bamboo Shoots)
Psad (Mushrooms)           8      Kro Lanh                      8     Pong Roul (Pangolin)     1
But                        7      Kuy                           6
Tul                       10      Kompinrach                    7
Niang Nun                 10      Speu                          4
Slak Ampul                10      Khol                          4
(Tamarind Leaves)
Pawa                       9      Tom Moung                    10
Chek Prey (Wild            9      Poun                         10
Slak Tomoung              10
Source: Field notes Phalit 1998

10        =         No change
1         =         Hardly available anymore

5.1.3 Wildlife
Wildlife has decreased rapidly over the last twenty years30 (see table 6). This is due to a
number of reasons. There has been an increasing commercial demand for some species like
tigers, bears, pangolin and wild buffaloes. These animals are not only hunted by local
villagers but also by outsiders. Hunting methods have also changed. Before men used to hunt
with cross bows and set traps, but now they use guns if they are available. Furthermore, thirty
years of war has led to a decrease in wildlife. In some areas there is hardly any large
undisturbed forest left because of bombings during the Vietnamese war, which destroyed
important wildlife habitat31. Due to a decrease in the availability of wildlife, it can takes much
more time to find animals. This increases the workload of men and leads to an overall loss of
income. At the same time, wildlife used to be an important source of protein for Highlanders.
With a decrease in the supply, the overall health situation could become worse if no additional
sources of protein can be found to replace wildlife.

5.1.4 Fish
Both men and women fish, although they use different types of tools and catch different types
and quantities of fish. Women use a triangular basket closed on one side which they scoop in
the water up stream so that the fish swim in. Only small amounts of small fish can be caught
using this method. Traditionally, men use methods like poisoning fish with poison extracted
from vines, building a dam so that the water level drops and fish can easily be picked out of
the mud and by using a wire with bait. In addition to these traditional methods, men also are
also using more modern equipment like gill nets and cast nets.

     Liévoux 1999
     Liévoux 1999

Generally, the fish population has decreased over the last twenty years according to
villagers32. This might be a combination of using chemicals and explosives to catch fish,
bombings during the war as well as watershed degradation and dam building for paddy rice

Consequences of a further decrease in the fish population will have an impact on Highland
Peoples‟ diet if no other sources are explored. This is particularly so because fish is more
important a source of protein than meat. In addition, it has consequences for both men and
women in terms of increasing their workload. They have to spend more time to catch the same
amount of fish. In a village as Kok Brou, it will not only affect their diet and workload, but it
also will lead to a decrease in income, as it is a source of income generation for them.

5.1.5 Benefits of forest products
Forest products are collected for home consumption and in most villages also to sell at the
market or to middle men. The most common and profitable products that are sold are malva
nuts, cardamom, resin and wild life (see Annex II). Malva nuts and cardamom are collected
by men and women, the others are collected by men only. Market prices for products such as
vegetables and bamboo shoots are relatively low. Not only does the price have to be taken
into account to be able to establish the financial benefits of the products, but the frequency of
selling the products is also important. Women may sell only relatively cheap products, but in
Chree, Lon, Kok Brou and L‟Eun Chong they usually go to the market three times a week or
more. In comparison, men only go hunting once every two or three months. On average
women earn between 2000 to 3000 riel per market visit. Per week, they earn about 6000-9000
riel. Per two or three months this amounts to about 48,000 and 108,000 riel. One pangolin
weighs on average 3 kilo‟s and may cost about 90.000 riel per kilo. This comes down to
270.000 riel per sale of one animal. Depending on the kind of animals and the amount men
catch, they may either earn a lot more or a lot less than women do by selling their products.
Considering the fact that the income men and women derive from selling forest products still
benefits the whole of the family and men and women have equal say in financial matters (see
section 4.4), it does not cause problems in the household if men earn more than women or
vice versa.

5.2 Firewood
Women have extensive knowledge on which types of trees make good quality firewood. The
findings show that village women are not dependent on one kind of firewood. They use
different types next to each other but women certainly have preferences. In some villages 33 the
women were asked to rank the firewood according to frequency of use, the availibility and the
quality. Paplia came out as being the favourite kind firewood in most villages because of its
qualities: it catches fire quickly, but smolders long, produces little smoke and is widely
available (see table 7). For two villages, Chree and Som Kol, paplia was identified as best in
quality but was less available than other types of firewood. In Kok Brou paplia was not
mentioned at all as being used.

In Som Kol, the women said they mostly use srolau and nyang because paplia is more
difficult to find than these two types. This was very different from Som Trak, a village in the
same commune. Although there was no dense forest left around Som Trak, paplia was widely
available and used. However, in Som Kol where a lot of forest is still surrounding the village,

     Ibid. 1999
     Firewood was a subject of study in Som Trak, Som Kol, L‟Eun Kren, L‟Eun Chong, Chree and Kok Brou.

paplia is less available. Unlike srolau, paplia is not a big tree, it is more a bush type tree,
which does not grow very tall.

Table 7: Availability and quality of different kinds of firewood in Som Trak
Wood                      Paplia**        Srolau**         Gay*   Klel*   Rool**    Gdam*
Catches fire quickly       5               5                5      2       2         1
Smolders well              5               3                3      2       2         2
Smokes little              5               4                4      2       2         2
Good availability          5               4                4      2       2         2
Total                      20              16               16     8       8         7
NB.: The score is from 5 to 1, with 5 being the best, the most.
*        =          Jarai name
**       =          Khmer name

The examples from Som Kol, Kok Brou and the Chree give contradictory information. On the
one hand, the Som Kol and Kok Brou example shows that the quality of firewood is not
directly related to the amount of forest available near the village, since both of these villages
are surrounded by forest. However, in Chree there is no forest left and paplia is not available
there either. It has to be taken into account that in and around Chree the natural resources have
been degraded much more than in any of the other villages. The availability of good quality
firewood may not be directly related to a dense forest cover around the village, but certain
conditions have to be met. Old chamkars are crucial to the availability of Paplia. In Chree, due
to pressures on land the rotation period of chamkars is very short. It does not allow for trees
and bushes to grow. In Som Trak and other villages where paplia is still to be found in
abundance, chamkars are still left to fallow for longer periods. Old chamkars are not to be
found in Kok Brou, since they are engaged in paddy rice farming and in Som Kol chamkars
are very far from the village.

Fig. 1: Firewood storage in a Jarai village
                                                     In the majority of the villages the
                                                     availability of firewood was not seen as a
                                                     problem. Only in the case of Chree was
                                                     the availability of good quality firewood a
                                                     cause of concern. Another important issue
                                                     to note is that paplia34 is not used for
                                                     timber purposes whereas Srolau and Koki
                                                     are. Logging has no direct effect on the
                                                     availability of firewood where women
                                                     collect paplia, but it does have an effect in
                                                     villages such as Kok Brou and Som Kol,
                                                     which rely on Srolau as their most widely
                                                     used and preferred type of firewood. The
                                                     availability of paplia is affected by shorter
fallow periods, which is related to the pressures on land and forest as outlined in chapter 3.


5.3 Water
As discussed in chapter 4, women are responsible for the fetching of water. They do this by
carrying water in gourds in a kappha to their homes. In Phum Phnom, a Tampuan village,
women dig small water wells by themselves. They know where to dig and how to make sure
the wells are firm. In other villages the responsibility of digging wells or leading streams into
bamboo pipes is a joint effort of men and women. The sources of water used for drinking and
taking a bath are separate, and well protected against roaming animals. At home, the drinking
water is stored in gourds, closed with tightly rolled up leaves. This keeps the water cool and
safe from insects35.

The main water sources in the target villages of the research are traditional water wells near
streams, or springs, open (ring) wells (constructed with the help of development projects and
by villagers themselves) and drilled wells with water pumps (constructed with assistance of
development projects), rivers and streams. Traditional wells and water pumps are the only
sources used for drinking water. Water from open water wells in villages is rarely used for this
purpose because people are afraid leaves and other debris has fallen in. Furthermore, the
majority of the wells do not have any cover and are not well maintained. Men use these wells
for bathing purposes and to fetch water when drinking rice wine36. Women scarcely use the
open ring wells. A family from Chree who has dug a big well on the premises of their
chamkar, uses the water only for doing the dishes, to wash clothes or to take a bath. Drinking
water is fetched from a small well near a stream which was further away. The reason for not
using the bigger well near the house for drinking water was that dirty water is spilled back
into the well when bathing or washing clothes. The above indicates that as women do not like
to use open wells for drinking water, such wells do not help much in reducing their workload.
They still prefer using traditional water sources, which are usually 200-400 m away from the
village. Open wells have more advantages for men than for women.

Streams and rivers are hardly used for drinking water purposes. In Chree, people explained
that they never use water straight out of the stream because many people live at the top of the
hills where the stream begins. They are afraid it is contaminated. In Kok Brou, the villagers
said that in recent years the water from the Sesan river has greatly decreased in quality. It has
a very bad smell because of dead fish and animals which are in it. Many of the animals and
people who drink the water get sick and some even die.

Table 8: Opinion of villagers on quality and quantity of water in their villages between 1980 and
 Village       Som     Som      Ten       Trom      L’Eun       L’Eun   Lon   Chree Khameng Svaay   Krala   Kok
              Kol     Trak                         Kren        Chong                                       Brou

 Quantity        -                 -        -         -          -       -           -              -      
 Quality         -                 -        -         -          -       -                         -      

-          =         water quality/quantity remained the same
          =         water quality/quantity increased
          =         water quality/quantity deteriorated

     Kelkar et al. 1997, p. 48; Berg 1998c, p. 31
     Men do not seem to be concerned about the quality of water, when drinking rice wine.

The water quality and quantity has changed little in the opinion of the respondents in the
majority of the villages over a 10 to 20 year period (see table 8). In none of the villages do
people suffer water shortages. The quantity varies by season, but this has always been the
case. In some villages, though, there was concern about both the quantity and the quality of
water. In Som Trak, the men noted that both quality and quantity had decreased in comparison
to 10 to 20 years ago. The quantity of the water has dropped because of the fact that big trees
around the village have been cut because of the need for chamkar land and an increase of
paddy rice cultivation. In their opinion, the quality deteriorated because of the Oil Palm /
Coffee company, which is about 1km from the village, using fertiliser, pesticides and
insecticides. In Chree, the nearest stream is O‟Kalay. The people stopped using it in 1989
because it turned muddy after all the trees were cut and soil erosion started. In addition, this
stream runs out of water during the dry season. One family added that there used to be more
water in the wetland area where their paddy field is. But since the trees and forests have gone
the amount of water has decreased by 50%. However, they felt that the quality of the water
had improved because there were no trees left so less leaves fell in the water. In Svaay the
villagers believe the decrease in the quality and quantity of their water sources is related to the
commercial logging activities in their village.

Three of the villages where there was a noticeable difference between the water quality and
quantity as compared to 20 to 30 years ago, have undergone major changes over that period.
In Som Trak, an Oil Palm Company caused a decrease in the quality of water, in Svaay this is
caused by logging and in Chree many outsiders started cultivating paddy rice and other cash
crops on this village traditional lands. Only in Kok Brou the village is still relatively isolated,
and does not suffer visibly from outside influences. However, economic development in
Vietnam, the source of the Sesan river, will very likely have its consequences for the water
quality down stream.37.

At the moment women do not have problems in fetching water, but in four villages (see table
8) a decrease in availability and quality was reported. Although it does not lead to an
increasing workload for them at present by having to walk further or looking after sick family
members, this trend is cause for concern.

5.4 Logging
Commercial logging and its impact on village life in general and gender relations in particular
was studied in three villages of Poey commune in O‟Chum. In two of the target villages,
Svaay and Khameng, active logging was taking place as part of a logging concession38.
Although Krala is also located within the same concession area, the villagers reported no
logging activities occurring in their village during the period of the research.

   The villagers did not report strong changes in the water level of the Sesan caused by a hydropower dam in
Vietnam. Over the last two year, the water level in the Sesan has been fluctuating enormously with irregular
patterns. Floods have been occurring in the dry season, whereas as the river was reported to be very low in the
wet season. This is due to the construction of the Yali Dam just over the border in Vietnam. For more
background information the reader is referred to „Damming the Sesan: Terra briefing, updated – April 2000‟ by
TERRA, 2000. At the time of writing this report, the Provincial Fisheries Office in co-operation with Ian Baird
conducted a research in villages along the Sesan river to assess the impact of this dam for Ratanakiri province.
The report is titled „A study of the downstream impacts of the Yali Falls Dam in the Sesan River Basin in
Ratanakiri Province, Northeast Cambodia‟.
   HERO Taiwan Company Ltd. has been granted a logging concession in 1998 by the Cambodian Government
for an area of 60,150 ha, which covers parts of O‟Chum, Veunsai and Taveng districts (Provincial Department of
Rural Development et. al 2000, p. 8).

Women do not like the fact that trees are being cut on a large scale for commercial purposes.
It destroys the forest and leaves wildlife without a shelter. Since HERO started logging in
their villages, women reported having met difficulties in looking for firewood and vegetables.
In addition, there is also less bamboo than before. Because big trees occasionally block
streams when cut, fish are now not as abundant in certain places as before. In addition to these
negative aspects mentioned by the women, a group of men in Svaay said that logging had
advantages for them. Referring to men‟s role in agriculture, it was easier for them to make
new chamkars and paddy fields. The big trees were all gone, so the farmers only needed to cut
small trees. On the other hand, the men mentioned that logging will in the end leave them
without trees to built houses. Another issue the men reported was that during the periods of
logging, the loggers shoot and steal livestock of the villagers, in addition to threatening
villagers with their guns.

Logging caused some divide between the men and women of Svaay village. The village made
an agreement with HERO to be reimbursed for damage done to the village‟s forests. In that
agreement, the company would provide wood for some village buildings. The rest of the
materials would have to be contributed by the village themselves. Men are satisfied with this
deal, but women said they had wanted more compensation. Since men did the negotiating
with the company, women could do nothing but follow the decision that was already made.
Such examples show the necessity to increase women‟s decision making power so they will
also have a say in the development of their village.

Villagers of Svaay and Khameng assist loggers in showing them locations in the forest with
good quality timber. When the company asked for their assistance, the villagers were reluctant
at first, but some men were selected during a village meeting to conduct this task. Only men
are engaged in this activity, because women are too busy and they do not know the forest well
enough. However, in Khameng, if the women had the choice they would not hesitate to go
because it means an opportunity to earn money39. Although they may be interested in earning
extra money, it is highly unlikely that women would go on such trips because of their
workload in addition to the fact that it would mean for women to spend time far from the
village with strange men.

In their opinion, the villagers have found some strategies to control the logging and they see
their assistance to the loggers as part of the strategy. Women in Khameng thought it was a
good idea that villagers assisted the loggers. If these village men would not accompany them,
the company might go to places where the village does not want them to log, such as spirit
forests. By following this procedure, the women feel they will have some control over the
logging activities. In Svaay, villagers formed a committee to check on the logging operations
of the company. When they have information about the loggers‟ misconduct this committee
(all men) calls for a village meeting. After this village discussion the information is passed
onto the commune, the district and finally the province. However, no matter what control
measure they apply, the villagers are convinced that it is impossible to stop the logging.
Although they would like to, they are afraid to do so because most of the loggers are soldiers
and policemen.

  In Khameng villagers reported logging assistants earning 5000 riel a day, whereas in Svaay, they said to earn
10.000 riel a day.

6 Agriculture

The main agricultural systems practised in Highland villages are upland rice cultivation and
growing vegetables on the chamkar, and to a lesser extent growing paddy rice. In every
village, animal husbandry is practised. Cows, buffaloes, pigs and chickens are the main
animals kept by highlanders. Men and women have distinctly different roles in all of these
activities. Environmental degradation affect each of these systems as well as the roles of men
and women within these systems. In this chapter, this will be further explored.

6.1 Upland agriculture
As described in chapter 3, Highland agriculture is characterised by rotation and inter-
cropping. Rice, vegetables and fruit trees are grown on the same fields for an average three to
four year period. After such a period villagers clear and burn another piece of land, usually in
a circular way, so that in 7 to 12 years they are back at the first plot. The longer the fallow
period, the longer the trees and bushes have had time to grow and the more fertile the land
will become.

6.1.1 Gender division of labour in upland agriculture
A clear gender division of labour (see table 9), decision making and knowledge can be
distinguished in upland agriculture. Men are engaged in the so-called „heavy‟ tasks of clearing
fields, cutting trees, and preparing the land, whereas women do most of the planting, and the

Table 9: Agricultural activities by gender and ethnicity
Activities                          Ethnic Groups
                                    Kreung             Jarai            Tampuan            Brou
                                    Male     Female    Male    Female   Male      Female   Male   Female
Cutting trees                        XXX     X         XXX     /        XXX       X        XXX    X
Burning fields                       XXX     XXX       XXX     XXX      XXX       XXX      XXX    XXX
Selecting seeds                      X       XXX       X       XXX      X         XXX      X      XXX
Prepare the soil                     XXX               XXX              XXX                XXX
Planting rice                                XXX               XXX                XXX             XXX
Weeding                              XXX     XXX       X       XXX      X         XXX      X      XXX
Harvesting rice                      XXX     XXX       XXX     XXX      XXX       XXX      XXX    XXX
Transporting rice to the village X           XXX       /       /        /         /        /      /
Growing vegetables/fruits            XXX     XXX       X       XXX      XXX       XXX      X      XXX
Taking care of cattle                XXX     X         XXX     X        XXX       X        XXX    X
Taking care of pigs and              X       XXX       X       XXX      X         XXX      X      XXX
Source: Berg 1998c, p. 13, field visits

xxx                  =        full involvement
x                    =        occasional involvement
/                    =        data not available

In agricultural knowledge and decision making a division along the lines of gender is visible.
Men usually choose which piece of land the family is going to cultivate. They base their
decision on knowledge about the fertility of the soil, the kind of plants and trees growing on
the plot and the availability of bamboo and water sources40. However, dreams are important as

     Kelkar et al. 1997, p. 34-35

well. After a plot is identified, a small tree is cut and taken to the village. When men have a
bad dream in the night after they have cut that particular tree, they will select another plot41.
Usually, after a site is chosen, women decide on the best time to burn and clear the fields,
when, what and where to plant. For example vegetables that need very fertile soil like chillies
and egg plants are planted near tree trunks where a lot of ashes are left from burning the

Fig. 2: Harvesting of upland rice fields
                                        On the edges of the chamkar tubers like yam and cassava
                                        are planted because if they are in the middle of the field,
                                        their vines take up too much space and nothing else can
                                        grow. Other crops like corn sweet potato, pine apple,
                                        tobacco, and various fruit trees are planted just inside the
                                        boundaries of the chamkar. Tree leaves and straw are
                                        piled up there and once this is burnt it provides good
                                        fertiliser for these crops42. Seed selection is also mainly a
                                        woman‟s task43. Men tend to choose the time when to
                                        harvest the rice, whereas women have the sole decision
                                        on when to harvest fruits and vegetables44.

                                          The above makes it seem to be a very rigid pattern where
                                          women‟s and men‟s knowledge, decisions and activities
                                          are strictly divided. In reality, it is never that strict. It is
                                          more practical to have a division of tasks so that
                                          everybody knows what they are supposed to do and is
                                          able to use their experience and knowledge to their full
                                          extent. In addition, many decisions are made after
                                          thorough discussion with all family members45 (see also
sections 4.4 and 6.4).

6.1.2 Problems faced and their impact on women and men
The major problems faced by villagers in the target areas of the research were the increasing
difficulty to find good quality chamkar land, declining rice yields and an increase in insect
and weed pests. These problems are to a large extent related to each other. Poor quality soils
will usually have more weeds that in turn lead to lower yields.

Except for Som Kol, all villages46 reported that it was much more difficult to find good
chamkar land as compared to 20 years ago. The main reason villagers gave for the reduction
in the quality of chamkar land was the decline in forests with big trees in the vicinity of their
village and chamkars, and the increase of population numbers leading to an increased pressure
on land. In L‟Eun Chong, respondents said that before, weeds on the chamkar were not a
problem. At that time, they only used to weed two times a year but now weeding is a thrice
yearly event that lasts for about a month per weeding session. The increase in weeds was
related to a decrease in big trees, which leads to less ashes after burning and resultant decline
in soil fertility.

   Kelkar et al. 1997, p. 29
   Emerson 1997, p. 50-51
   Seng Hkum 1995, p. 31-33
   Kelkar et al. 1997, p. 40
   Berg 1998, p. 17-18
   The subject of upland agriculture was addressed in Som Trak, Som Kol, L‟Eun Kren, L‟Eun Chong, Lon and

The trend of shorter rotation periods and thus increasing amounts of weeds leads to an
increasing workload for women as they are primarily responsible for weeding (see table 9).
Shorter rotation periods means that men have to cut trees and prepare soils more often. Instead
of once every 3 or 4 years, in Chree and Lon they already have to do this every 1 or 2 years.
Upland agriculture is very labour intensive, but environmental degradation increases the
pressure on labour. In section 6.4 this issue will be addressed further.

6.2 Paddy rice cultivation
In addition to highland rice cultivation and growing vegetables on the chamkar, some villages
are also growing paddy rice. They do this if they have the knowledge and if suitable land is
available. Paddy rice cultivation demands more technical and capital input than upland rice
cultivation. If it is done on a large scale people use buffaloes, ploughs and harrows to work
the land. Ploughing is a man‟s job whereas planting and transplanting rice is done by women.
Harvesting of paddy rice is done by both women and men. When a family does not have any
means to purchase or rent buffaloes and ploughs they rely on manual labour. Both women and
men prepare land in this manner. In places where paddy rice is grown, upland cultivation is
still important for growing vegetables and fruits, which explains why most highland villagers
do not rely only on paddy cultivation (see table 10). Kok Brou is an exception. This village
started cultivating paddy rice in the 1950‟s and the majority of the villagers only cultivate
paddy rice. In spite of all the advantages of paddy cultivation listed by the respondents, they
were still interested in making chamkars again. The advantage of their traditional cultivation
method was that rice and vegetables grow on the same plot. Now, they still have to prepare
small vegetable chamkars because vegetables do not grow in paddy fields. Men and women
share the responsibilities of field preparation, planting, weeding and harvesting in the
vegetable chamkars.

Table 10: Paddy rice and upland rice cultivation in target villages
Village            Som Trak      Som Kol       L’Eun Kren    L’Eun         Lon             Chree         Kok Brou
Type of
cultivation 
Upland rice         X             X             X             X             X               X             -
Paddy rice          X             X             -             -             -               X             X
Comments            Most          Most          No suitable   No suitable   No wet rice     Majority is   Grow wet
                    families do   families do   paddy lands   paddy lands   cultivation     only          rice since
                    both          both                                      because of      cultivating   the 50’s
                                                                            lack of draft   upland rice

Distance and availability of suitable paddy lands are the main determining factors as to
whether villagers decide to grow paddy rice. Villagers of L‟Eun Chong said they would not be
willing to start cultivating paddy rice if they would have to travel far. If suitable land could be
found and developed within the boundaries of their own community, they would be interested.
Another aspect is the availability of draft animals, although, families without draft animals
still have opportunities to start paddy rice cultivation. In Som Kol, some families plough the
land with hoes, which is done by men and women. In Kok Brou, one can rent buffaloes from
other families. It costs 6 Hab47 (360 kg) of unhusked rice to rent a buffalo from another
     One Hab = 60 kg.

family. As financial means are shared among the whole family (see section 4.4) and animals
do not belong to individual family members, the renting out of buffaloes does not have more
advantages for men than for women in monetary terms. It does have its effects on the
workload of men and women. If a buffalo can be rented man‟s work becomes easier and
women‟s workload is reduced substantially because men are responsible for ploughing.

Women as well as men regard paddy rice cultivation as being easier than highland rice
cultivation, if they have all the necessary equipment48. It is less time and energy consuming
because cutting trees and weeding is no longer necessary. Access to tools, draft animals and
land is crucial in this type of rice growing. Since men are the ones ploughing and harrowing,
access to their labour is an additional requirement. Consequences of the lack of labour for
paddy cultivation are discussed in more details in section 6.4.

6.3 Cash crops
The cultivation of cash crops is becoming increasingly important in Highland villages. Some
villages, such as Trom and L‟Eun Chong, developed their own system of cash cropping as
early as the 1960‟s by growing coffee in the forests surrounding their village. However, most
villages have only recently begun to cultivate cash crops, with or without the assistance of
development projects or the Agriculture Department. Cash crops such as coffee, cashew nuts
and a variety of other fruit trees now appear in chamkars of many highland farmers. In Chree,
respondents said that they have to follow the demand of the market. There is no demand for
cotton, but there is a demand for cash crops such as fruit, cashew nuts and coffee, so they have
to adapt their cultivation patterns accordingly. Changes in the agriculture system, lead to
changes in the traditional division of tasks and responsibilities between men and women as is
illustrated by table 11. It shows a slightly higher involvement of men in cash crop production.
Men and women plant and harvest cash crop together, but the weeding is mainly the task of
women. As opposed to traditional crops where women have an important role in the selection

Table 11: Responsibilities of men and women in cash crop cultivation
               Responsibilities                                Women                         Men
Plant cash crops                                                 xx                          xxx
Weeding cash crops                                                xxx                          x
Seed selection                                                     x                         xxx
Harvesting cash crops                                             xxx                         xx
Selling cash crops                                                 x                         xxx
NB: The table is based on findings from Ten, Samkanin, Trom, L’Eun Kren, L’Eun Chong, Lon.

xxx        =        full involvement
xx         =        medium involvement
x          =        occasional involvement

of seeds, men select the seeds for cash crops. In addition, men tend to choose what kind of
cash crops they will grow. Respondents in Ten explained this by saying that men had more
knowledge about cash crops because they attended more trainings on this subject than women.
In addition, they have more contact with middlemen. These middlemen provide villagers with
information about what kind of products the market is interested in and which products are the
most profitable. It does not mean that women are not involved in the selection process at all as
men do discuss their views with their wives49.
     Berg 1998c, p. 12; Kelkar et al. 1997, p. 43-45
     John 2000.

Men also sell the products to middle men or go to the market themselves but husband and
wife first discuss how many kilo‟s they would like to keep for sowing next year, how many
kilos they would like to sell and at what price. If the price is not high enough they will not
sell. Once the products are sold women keep the money. When somebody in the family wants
to use the money they have to discuss the issue first. Mainly they use this money for buying
pots, dishes, clothes, salt and MSG. This pattern is still in line with their traditional way of
decision making and handling the family‟s finances. Although financially, cash crop
production does not seem to have an adverse impact on gender relations (see also section 4.4),
the gap in knowledge between men and women about cash crop cultivation leads to a decrease
in decision making power for women in agricultural production. However, women still
maintain a decisive role in financial decision making once the money reaches the household.

6.4 Female headed households and agriculture
In swidden cultivation, labour is the most important input. The more people in a family, with
a good balance of female and male members, the easier the agricultural work becomes. Most
widows and divorced or separated women50 in the target villages live with relatives, such as
their children or parents. These women do not cultivate paddy or upland rice on their own. If
widows can rely on the labour of their male relatives, they are in a similar situation to
standard households. Defining women according to their marital status does not prove to be
very useful in trying to establish the specific agricultural difficulties they face. A more
important issue that needs to be taken into account is access to labour. A household that has a
good balance of female and male labourers will have less difficulties in agricultural
production, regardless of the type of agriculture they are involved in.

Furthermore, methods of accessing labour differ between ethnic groups. In Tampuan villages,
widow families can ask for assistance if they provide the labourers with a good meal. These
labourers are not necessarily related to the widows. It is important that she provides enough
rice wine, and sacrifices pigs and chickens for all people who help them. The more pigs and
chicken widows have, the more people she can mobilise. In contrast, Jarai villagers do not
have such a system. Nobody would assist another household with labour in exchange for a
meal. What does happen is that labourers are hired for money or gold.

Table 12: Widow families involved in paddy rice cultivation
Type of families       Total       Widow       Standard Fam.         Widow fam.
                      families     families    cultivating paddy   cultivating paddy
Village 
Som Trak             66          11           39           59.1    10       90.9
Som Kol              85          19           30           35.3    6        31.6
Chree                68          10           10           14.7    0        0
Kok Brou             48          11           37           77.1    10       90.9

A minority of the widows do not have access to male labour. These women have a hard time
trying to make a living. The size of the chamkar of such widows is usually about half that of
other families: 0,5 ha as opposed to 1 to 1,5 ha per male headed families. In addition, they rely
on chamkars, which are just abandoned by other people. These chamkar lands were
abandoned because of decreasing soil fertility, the increase of weeds and a declining yield.

   In Khmer, the word „memaai‟ means widow. All women who once had a husband, but do not any longer due
to death of her spouse, separation or divorce are referred to in Khmer as memaai. For purposes of convenience,
all separated and divorced women are also referred to as widows in this document.

These widows choose to use these lands because no trees have to be cut. However, growing
rice and vegetables on such chamkars will obviously not lead to good harvests.

Male labour is necessary for ploughing the fields in paddy rice cultivation. Female headed
households without access to male labour therefore seldom cultivate paddy rice. However,
there are exceptions. In Som Trak, two widows plough the fields themselves. In comparison
to cutting trees in preparing upland rice fields, ploughing seems to be less of an obstacle for
women. When comparing data on widow families and male headed families growing paddy
rice, no trend can be distinguished (see table 12). In Kok Brou and Som Trak families without
widows are less involved in paddy cultivation, whereas in Chree and Som Kol the reverse is
the case and widow families are less involved. In Chree, none of the widow families are
involved in paddy cultivation but this probably has more to do with the overall lack of suitable
paddy land than with the marital status of the widows. The above demonstrates that when the
labour balance is still intact, widow families are not necessarily at a disadvantaged position in
cultivating paddy rice.

There are four villages where there is a clear relation between being a widow family and
facing long periods of rice shortage (Som Kol, L‟Eun Kren, Lon and Kok Brou) whereas in
two other villages these families suffered less from rice shortages (Chree and L‟Eun Chong)
and in Som Trak there did not seem to be any difference at all. The discrepancy between
villages is partly due to the fact that a household containing a widow, is counted as a widow /
female headed household. Such a family could well have an equal balance between male and
female labour, and thus have no problems in growing rice. Another reason is that, as a old
woman stated in L‟Eun Chong, widows do not have many mouths to feed. Older widows live
either on their own or have very few people to look after, so they need less rice than male
headed families, which are usually bigger.

       Fig. 3: Types of families facing severe rice shortages (4-5 months)

             Percentage of families

                                      35                                                             Wido w families
                                      25                                                             No rmal families
                                           Som    Som   L'Eun   L'Eun   Lon   Chree   Kok    Total
                                           Trak   Kol   Kren    Chong                 Brou

Not only rice cultivation is problematic for widows without access to male labour. Setting up
a home garden is also difficult. In Phum Phnom, home gardening was trialed under the
Reducing Women‟s Workload project in co-operation with the Department of Agriculture. A
few months after the seeds were distributed, widows and single mothers still did not grow
vegetables. When asked why, they answered that they could not make a fence to keep out the
chickens and pigs. Making fences is a man‟s job. Before introducing home gardens, women
should also be taught how to build fences.

Widow families seem to be less engaged in cash crop cultivation. This is partly due to lack of
labour. Sixteen families in Ten are headed by women and only four of these families cultivate
cash crops. Male respondents in Samkanin said that widows could not plant cash crops but the
widows themselves were very interested. They said that the only stumbling blocks that kept
them from growing cash crops are the lack of seeds and labour. As part of the Community
Based Natural Resources Management Project, seeds for fruit trees were distributed.
Interestingly, the NRM committee of the village refused to provide the widows with seeds
because the committee were of the opinion that they would not have time to take care of the
plantations. It is against the rules and regulations to give persons seeds who cannot look after
the plants and vegetables. The village chief, however, said that he would like to give the
widows 2 – 3 kg. of seeds. When they prove they are able to take care of it, they can get more.
The widows liked the idea of growing cash crops in a group, so they are able to share the
tasks. They said they would organise a meeting with all widows to discuss this issue further.

From analysing the data about widow families in agriculture, it can be concluded that being a
widow, in itself does not have to cause specific problems. But when a family headed by a
woman lacks access to male labour, swidden cultivation, paddy rice growing and planting
cash crops becomes difficult. Only then are widows more likely to face rice shortages.

6.5 Animal Husbandry
Traditionally highland people keep chickens, pigs, cows and buffaloes. All of these animals
are used for ceremonial purposes and as a form of investment. Animal sacrifices are made in
case of death, sickness, weddings and to mark a change in the agricultural season. If not
sacrificed, livestock is sold for cash or gold, traded for rice, bicycles, clothes etc., to settle
disputes or payment of fines and as a gift to relatives51. In villages with paddy rice fields,
buffaloes are used as draft animals as well.

Animal husbandry practices vary according to ethnicity and village location. When animals
are free roaming, people feed them only so that they know which family or house they belong
to. Women usually feed pigs and chickens once or twice a day in the morning and/or in the
evening. The fodder consists of rice bran, left over food and surplus vegetables and fruits from
the chamkar. Men and boys look after cows and buffaloes. They lead them to grazing areas.
Usually cows and buffaloes stay in the forest and old chamkars from December until the rainy
season starts in May or June52. To avoid damage to the crops by free roaming cattle, they are
brought back to the village and tied at certain times of the year, but this is not common
practice in every village. In the evening the cattle are collected again and taken back to the
village. The same is true for pigs. In O‟Chum pigs are penned in the rainy season, but in
O‟Yadao they roam free whole year round53. In a number of villages a pig raising project of
the Office of Animal Health is implemented. Families experiment with raising pigs in pens to
improve their income generating possibilities (for more details on this project see section 8.2).

Access and control over animals between men and women is relatively equal. In most of the
villages where the ownership issue of cattle, pigs and chicken was studied54, the animals are
raised and owned by the whole nuclear55 family. Only in Lon and Som Trak two families
mentioned that they possessed animals separately from their children. This does not seem to

   Ramsay 1998, p. 35
   Ramsay 1997, p. 14
   John 1999, p.6
   Som Trak, Som Kol, L‟Eun Kren, L‟Eun Chong, Lon, Chree and Kok Brou.
   A family of only two generations, with mother and/or father and children.

be common practice. Usually, parents give some animals as wedding presents to their
children. Before marriage children do not own any animals themselves. Families may live
together with other relatives and form an extended family, but each of the separate nuclear
families will own their own livestock. In none of the village were spouses owning livestock

Decision-making over livestock is also a family process. If a family needs to buy or sell cows,
buffaloes or adult pigs they need the agreement of the whole family. Even in the cases where
children possessed livestock on their own, an agreement has to be made with the whole family
if it concerns more valuable livestock. For selling or buying piglets and chickens, any adult
family member can decide for himself or herself whether or not to buy or sell. However, in
Som Kol women said they were not confident enough to sell animals without having
discussed this issue with their husbands first.

Mostly people from outside the villages come to buy livestock in their village. In some
villages that have relatively easy access to a market livestock is taken there to be sold. In,
other villages such as Kok Brou, they hardly ever take livestock to the Veunsai market56.
Although men usually sell all animals, the money is kept by the wife / mother57. When a
family sells cattle or adult pigs they buy gold, corrugated iron, motorbikes, or they save the
money to deal with emergencies such as rice shortages and health problems. If smaller
animals are sold (chickens and piglets) the money is usually spent on MSG, salt, medicines or

Increasing the number of animals by an improved animal health system and other
development initiatives can augment a family‟s income, but it also means a higher pressure on
the available food resources. Furthermore, a more intensive method of animal husbandry like
keeping pigs in pens will increase the need for labour, especially women‟s labour, because
women usually look after pigs and chickens. This, however, may be changing: in John‟s study
he found that men also help feeding pigs in families who participate in pig raising projects58.
Increasing the intensity of animal husbandry needs to be accompanied by workload reducing
measures for women as well as an increase in men‟s involvement in animal raising.

   At the time of the research the road from Phnom Kok commune to Veunsai was not finished yet.
   In L‟Eun Kren it was added that the money was kept by the oldest woman living in the household. In Chree,
although from the same ethnic group being Tampuan, this was not the case. The family that was interviewed said
that although the mother of the wife was living in the same house, her daughter kept the money.
   John 1999, p. 16.

7 Culture, gender and NRM

Highland Peoples belief system, traditions and agricultural system cannot be seen as separate
from each other; they are intertwined. Natural resources management is embedded and
integrated into tribal culture and religion. Because of this strong relationship, changes in their
natural environment often has direct effects on their traditions and beliefs. Therefore, to assess
the impacts of recent changes in their natural environment on Highland Peoples culture, their
belief systems and the customary land tenure systems will be reviewed.

7.1 Belief system
According to Highlander‟s belief system, spirits and ancestors are everywhere in nature. The
natural environment is regarded with respect and care. Before starting a new agricultural
activity like burning the land, planting rice, or harvesting, ceremonies have to be held to ask
the spirits for permission. The world according to Highlanders is full of spirits. Spirits are to
be found in the forest, earth, air and water59. The belief in the existence of forest spirits, for
example, made sure that particular plots of primary forest were not cut for agricultural
purposes. Wildlife in the so-called spirit forests was not hunted. Violations of this tradition
would upset the spirits which in turn would seek revenge by causing harm to the villages.

With the exception of Phum Chree, all target villages of the research still had one or more
spirit forests. Hunting wild life and collecting forest products is prohibited in spirit forests at
the top of mountains. At the foot of such mountains, collection of forest products is allowed
but only in small quantities. Forests become spirit forests for various reasons. In many cases
they derive from incidents when people who went to a particular forest got sick and/or died or
had a bad accident. In Svaay village, the respondents explained that the spirits themselves let
people know through Araks or dreams whether particular forests are occupied by spirits. It is
not the Arak who declares some areas as spirit forests, she60 only passes the message she
receives from the spirits onto the villagers. Sometimes ordinary people have a dream about a
particular forest, which indicates it is inhabited by spirits. Some forests have been spirit
forests for many centuries and their stories were passed on from generation to generation61.

Table 13: Existence of NRM related traditions per village
Village       Som      Som Kol L’Eun    L’Eun      Lon     Chree   Kok Brou Khameng Svaay                        Krala
             Trak             Kren     Chong

Type of
Spirit           X         X       X        -        -        -        X            X                X                X
Taboo            -             -   X        X        X        -        X        Only from        Only from        Only from
                                                                               spirit forests   spirit forests   spirit forests
X         =          present
-         =          absent

Some ethnic groups also have taboos on the use of specific plant or wildlife species due to
their association with spirits. These can not be brought into the village or cannot be eaten.

   Emerson 1997, p. 10-11
   Although there are male Araks, the majority is female.
   For more information on Spirit Forests see „Cultural Resources Study‟ by Department of Environment et al.

These traditions were found to exist in four villages of the research. The products ranged from
toads, loris62, bamboo to mushrooms. In Kok Brou and Lon the imposing of such a taboo on
NTFP‟s was related to the Arak, as a messenger from the forest spirits. In L‟Eun Kren and
L‟Eun Chong this was not the case, as they had never had an Arak in their village. Through
stories, the elders of L‟Eun Chong had made the villagers aware that, for example, loris, toads
and cardamom were not to be hunted or collected and brought into the village. If somebody
disobeyed these rules, the village would suffer rice shortages. Buffaloes have to be sacrificed
to make up for breaking this taboo. Since the risks of displeasing spirits are too high and too
costly, even young people will never disrespect these traditions, according to the elderly
respondent. Young men in L‟Eun Kren do bend these traditions to their own needs, however.
Although loris are not allowed into the village, it is hunted and sold anyway. They will never
take the dead animal into the village, but sell it straight to the market after shooting.

Araks, usually women, and village elders, who usually are men, have an important role in
appeasing spirits and performing ancestor worship. In certain villages in traditional natural
resources management they are also responsible for ensuring traditional natural resources
management practices are followed. In contrast to the spirit mediators of Khameng, Krala and
Svaay, the Arak of Chree does not seem to have anything to do with traditional ways of
natural resources management. There are no products which are taboo to bring in to the
village, and there are no longer any spirit forests. This could be due to the fact that forest
products are almost depleted in this village. The forests around Yak Loam Lake used to be
spirit forests, but when people started to live in this area and cut their chamkars in the spirit
forests, the spirits went away. The difference between the involvement of the Araks in
traditions relating to natural resources management clearly shows that changes in the natural
environment have consequences for traditions. In this case, it reduces the role of Araks in
natural resources management. The depletion of natural resources in Chree are probably not
the only reason for the obvious changes in culture and traditions but also its location plays an
important role (see section 2.1).

Proof of changing traditions and cultural values does not limit itself to the declining role of
the Arak. In many villages, a divide is slowly beginning to establish itself between the young
and the old. Again, Chree provides the best example of this change. The authority of the
elders in matters of natural resources management is also declining. They used to warn people
not to cut trees in forests around Yak Loam. Now young people do not listen to the elders
anymore. Other villages have similar problems. In Som Kol and Som Trak some of the young
people no longer abide by traditional rules, concluding from what an elderly woman said in an
interview: „Elders do not have the right to forbid collecting or hunting certain forest products,
and even if they did, young people would not listen to them‟. Young people in Som Trak have
less belief in spirits because they have more faith in modern medicine than in sacrifices. They
also go to the spirit forest to cut trees and shoot animals, since they no longer believe that the
spirits can hurt them.

With a changing natural environment, Araks, (usually an older woman) and Elders (in most
cases elderly men) lose their influence in the village, whereas before they were highly
respected. From the above it can be concluded that change in traditions have a bigger impact
on relations between generations, than on gender relations. Young people adapt with more
ease to changing circumstances, and in additions adopt new technologies and ideas faster than
older people. Young men are even more likely to break with traditions as they go out of their
village more often than young women. The only high school students from Yak Loum and
     A Lori is a kind of nocturnal primate.

O‟Chum villages are boys 63 (see also section 4.2 on Education and gender). Young women
get their only exposure from visits to the market. Being enrolled in High School, together with
Khmer and Lao students, will likely have more impact in changing a persons views on
traditions than occasional visits to Ban Lung.

7.2 Ownership of land
In chapter 3 some of the problems relating to land were explored. In this section the main
focus will be on the influence of the changing attitudes towards land on gender relations.
Communal ownership of land provides all inhabitants of a village with reasonably equal
access and control over land whether male or female. Land owned by a village includes the
actual village settlement, the chamkars, paddy fields, old chamkars left to fallow and forests
(if there are any). Forests are sometimes shared with other villages.

Villagers can choose whatever land they think would make a good chamkar, although they
will always consult with other villagers, elders and village chief. Although men usually
choose the site of a chamkar, this does not give them more control over the land. It still does
not belong to them. Whole families, rather than the head of the household, have user rights
over a piece of land. In the first few years of marriage a married couple will help to work the
land of ether the bride‟s or groom‟s family, depending on where they are staying64. After this
they will usually clear a plot of their own. In the case of a divorce, the chamkar stays with the
wife in a matrilineal kinship system. In case of a bilinear kinship system, the chamkar goes to
the party who is left behind by the other. Men and women thus have reasonably equal control
over land, with a small favour towards women in matrilineal kinship systems.

As pointed out before low land paddy rice cultivation also occurs in Highland communities.
This land is not regarded as communal, but rather as individual property. Bourdier65 argued
that this would evoke a change from matrilineal kinship to nuclear families because of the
increased need of capital input necessary for paddy rice farming. Families would want to keep
the paddy land in their own hands because of the invested labour and capital. The access and
control for men and women does not change, however. The traditional rights over land in case
of death or divorce still remain as they are in case a family cultivates paddy rice66.

In Kok Brou selling paddy land within in the village is common, but land is never sold to
outsiders. People from the neighbouring village of Kalai Tavong have tried to buy land from
Kok Brou, but the elders and the village chief refused to give their permission. If land is sold
within the village the payment is one buffalo. The payment in kind, the buffalo, is owned by
the whole family and not by individual family members, so neither men nor women gain
individual benefit from the sale. The fact that land has a price has to do with the labour that
has gone into making it suitable for growing paddy rice. Dikes, canals and drainage systems
are necessary to be able to cultivate paddy rice. If land is in its original state it does not have a
price. This is in line with Bourdier‟s statements. Before a piece of land is sold the elders, the

   Personal communication with Khat Samal, Head of the Ban Lung High School, 19 May 2000.
   The Jarai and the Tampuan have a matrilineal kinship system which in practice means that the grooms comes
to live with the bride‟s family for the first few years of marriage. In that period the couple contributes labour to
that family instead of to work on the chamkar(s) of the groom‟s family before clearing a chamkar of their own.
The Kreung, Brou and Kaveth have a bilinear kinship system. The couple lives with and contributes labour to the
groom‟s family for some years, then moves to the wife‟s family and returns to the grooms family before settling
on their own.
   Bourdier 1995b
   Berg 1998c, p. 11 & 21.

village chief and the families who live near the land which is sold are informed and asked for
their agreement on the transaction.

Although traditionally land cannot be sold, instances of selling land to companies, to the
government or to migrants coming from lowland Cambodia are becoming more prevalent.
This often happens without consulting the elders of the village. Often a village meeting is not
even held to discuss the matter. This points to a gradual change in the customary land tenure

In the sale of village land, the role of women remains unclear. In Lon and Chree, the villagers
who sold land had moved to another commune so it was impossible to interview those
families. The respondents in those two villages said that the decision to sell the land was made
by the whole family. However, the men made the final decision. This procedure was partly
confirmed by personal communication with a man in Phnom village in Yak Loum who had
sold land in the past. He said he would not have sold family land if his wife had not agreed to
it. It seems that decision making is quite equal about this issue. This is in keeping with the
findings about family finances and the sale of animals. However, it should be taken into
account that a favourite saying of village women is to „taam pedaai‟, which means that they
will „follow their husband‟ in what he wants or decides.

8 Project intervention, gender and Natural resources management

The different CARERE sectors each relate to Natural resources management and gender
issues in a different way. Their impact on NRM and gender relations in the province and the
improvements that could be made in this respect will be the main focus of this chapter.

8.1 Agriculture
Agriculture has two sub-projects which relate to Natural resources management. These
involve cash crop promotion and soil and water conservation. Cash crop promotion is done by
distributing coffee seedlings, cashew nut and other fruit tree seedlings to interested villagers.
Soil and water conservation involves training villagers in hedge row farming and contour
barriers, the introduction of leguminous crops like pigeon peas, mung beans and lucaena , and
the introduction of improved upland rice varieties and fruit trees.

These activities are implemented through Village Agriculture Volunteers (VAV). These
VAV‟s were to introduce the new technologies in their chamkars first as a demonstration to
other villagers. Of the 180 VAV‟s 23 are women. Although this participation of women is
barely 13%, it is a 100% increase since 199767. It remains low because involving women in
extension activities is difficult. Traditionally women are shy and not very confident, in
addition to their lack of Khmer. Including women in agricultural training and extension
activities is very important since they play a key role in upland agriculture (see chapter 3).
Introducing cash crops in a subsistence agriculture system is difficult. The aim of introducing
cash crops like cashew nuts and coffee was to diversify the agriculture production system so
people would no longer be dependent solely on rice68. The most important input in shifting
cultivation is labour. People face rice shortages due to the fact they are not able to cultivate a
large enough area. Often, there are not enough people in the family to ensure adequate food
production. Coffee production is also labour intensive. Lack of labour is the main reason
stated in the End of Project report as to why seedlings had died, or people did not look after
their coffee plants. Villagers were more interested in cashew nut and fruit tree plantations. To
them it seemed easier to combine with their work on the chamkar than coffee production69.
Cash crop production might also change the traditional division of labour. Already, men have
slightly more responsibilities in cash crop cultivation (see table 11 and section 6.3), as
opposed to almost equal involvement of men and women in upland agriculture. This has quite
a lot to do with the extension system, that caters more to men than to women. This creates a
divide in skills and knowledge. Men are trained because they understand Khmer, and if
women do participate, they understand less than men because of their lack of ability in the
Khmer language. To ensure equal access to and control over cash crop production, the
agriculture extension system has to make more effort to involve women in training and to
conduct training in the local language. Separate classes for female farmers and the inclusion
of female trainers may help them to participate more actively.

8.2 Animal Health and Production
The Animal Health sector strengthens the Office of Animal Health and Production (OAHP)
by training them on the job in providing veterinary services. At village level, 47 Village
   Department of Agriculture 1999, p.6; Bishop 1997, p. 15
   Department of Agriculture 1999, p. 7-8
   Ibid, p. 9-10

Veterinarians (VV) are trained, of which 36 are actively serving their communities. Four of
these 36 VV‟s are women70. As with the agriculture volunteers, women are not sufficiently
addressed during trainings because of their lack of the Khmer language71. As with agricultural
activities, women traditionally play a significant role in looking after animals, especially pigs
and chickens. They are the most important managers of the animal resources of the family. It
would make sense if more women were selected as VV‟s and included in village level training
on this subject, but the constraints are again a poor knowledge of Khmer, lack of confidence
and lack of time due to their high workload.

The other activity OAHP is involved in is pig pen building and pig raising. Raising pigs in
this manner is radically different from traditional animal raising. Much more work is
involved. The pigs need to be fed three times a day and the pen needs to be cleaned. In
households where this activity is piloted, it seems that husbands and wives share the task
equally72. In one instance, a women‟s group of three members shares the responsibilities.
Raising pigs for commercial purposes also puts a strain on the available food resources since
much of the food for pigs is also eaten by the villagers. Since food is not readily available
throughout the year73, the more pigs that are raised commercially, the more competition there
will be for food between humans and pigs during these periods of food scarcity. In Katieng,
Labang I, pig raising in pens is problematic because all families are engaged in paddy rice
cultivation and many do not have additional vegetable chamkars. Village women collect
vegetables for their own consumption in the surrounding forests, but collecting pig fodder is
too much of a burden. On one trip, they collect vegetables that can last their family for three
days. When they also have to collect pig fodder, this means they would have go on gathering
trips every a day. Thus, the agriculture system a family is engaged in, also plays a role in
being able to feed pigs.

The Animal Health sector realised this before they started and encouraged people to plant
vegetables and tubers around the pig pen, so food was available nearby. So far, very few
participants have started these gardens. A woman in Katieng said that she could not plant
cassava near her house because free roaming pigs and cows would eat it. The increased
amount of labour input and food will only pay off once pigs can be sold at higher prices than
pigs raised in the traditional way. The project has not been implemented long enough to be
able to say anything about it yet.

As is shown in section 6.5, it is unlikely for the pig raising activity to cause a problem in the
access and control over the pigs or the benefits within households. Pigs are owned by a family
as a whole, and all members profit of the financial gain.

8.3 Community Based Natural resources management
Community Based Natural resources management works in five communes: Som Thom
(O‟Yadao), Yeak Loam (Ban Lung), O‟Chum (O‟Chum), Laming and Ting Chak (Bokeo).
The aim of the program is to set up a community based Natural resources management system
in all villages of the communes and facilitate a dialogue between the villagers and the local
government.74 This is done through village and commune level committees. All committees

   John 1999, p. 18
   Ibid, p.19
   Kusakabe 1999, p. 10
   Liévoux 1999
   Department of Environment 1999, p.1

should in theory consists of 50% of women75. However, at the moment only 14 of all 50
members of the village NRM committees are female76.

The main activities of the sector are awareness raising on natural resources issues in villages,
land use planing, and conflict resolution in case of problems with provincial authorities,
companies or other villages on land, or other natural resources issues. These activities are
reflected in Communal Management Plans. A lot of time has been spent on the development
of land use maps and establishing village borders. So far, no visible activities, such as fruit
tree plantations or help with improving existing irrigation schemes, are in place. This was the
main criticism of the villagers on the project during the Mid-term evaluation. The knowledge
and awareness on natural resources and sustainable management among villagers has
increased due to the project‟s activities77.

Fig. 4: NRM Committee members by gender
                                                       Since the start of the project, the sector
                                                       realised the importance of the
                                                       involvement of women in Natural
                      35                               resources management. There are some
                                                       problems however. All NRM
                                                       Committees have more male than
     No. of Members

                                                       female members, 34 men as compared
                      20                               to 11 women (see graph 2).
                                                          A contrast was observed in the active
                                                          participation of women of the different
        5                                                 villages. The female members of the
        0                                                 NRM Committees of Som Trak and
                    Men                 Women             Som Kol are very active, have clear
                                                          opinions and have conducted meetings
                                                          by themselves on several occasions. In
Source: Department of Environment, 2000
                                                          Chree, the two women rarely attend
meetings or involve themselves in activities. According to the male Committee members of
Chree, these women are quite capable of implementing and facilitating CBNRM project
activities, it was just unfortunate that they lived a long way from the village where all the
meetings are usually conducted. Another male member is also hardly involved because of the
same reason. Distance seems to be a factor of greater importance than gender in this respect.
In L‟Eun Kren women seem to have very little influence on the CBNRM project. Although
there is no official division of tasks between male and female members, during the meetings,
men do most of the talking. This was also directly observed while the Provincial Core Team
had a meeting with the village NRM committee. The one female member of the committee
did not speak during the whole of that meeting. The reason people gave for women not
speaking out in meetings is that they are shy. It must be said that neither the men nor the
Provincial Core Team members encouraged the women to present their ideas. As a solution
the male members of the NRM Committee said that it may be a good idea to provide women
with the opportunity to speak, or to conduct meetings without the presence of men. In
addition, if the subject is explained to them more clearly it would help.

   Irondside and Nhem 1998.
   Department of Environment 1999, p.15-16
   Ibid. 1999

During the mid-term evaluation of the CBNRM project it was found that women in the target
villages said that natural resources management was not the task of women. Men were better
equipped for managing natural resources tasks because women do not know anything about
natural resources. This statement is completely contrary to the information gathered in the
research and the End of Project Evaluation78. Women as well as men had a very good
understanding of natural resources management. What happens is that women seem to deny or
underestimate their knowledge about certain subjects as soon as it is related to development
projects79. For example, in Kok Brou women had clear ideas about what would happen if too
many trees were cut. They would have no houses, there would be no forest vegetables left to
collect, nor would there be animals to hunt. No commercial logging is going on in their
village yet but to prevent their forests from being logged they decided that they need to
manage and monitor the forest. They want to forbid people from cutting trees. When loggers
do not listen, even after a meeting with the elders and village chief, the villagers will
confiscate chainsaws and vehicles. In addition, the district chief would need to be informed of
the logging activities so that he can put a stop to it.

Villagers say they have obtained knowledge on natural resources management from meetings
with local authorities such as district, commune and village chiefs and village elders and from
CBNRM trainings in the target villages of this project. By observing meetings with villagers
and local authorities in Ban Lung organised by the Environment Department / CBNRM, male
participants always outnumber the female participants. The women who do take part have a
considerable lower level understanding of the Khmer language compared to the men and very
little is being translated for them. So, although women do not lack understanding of natural
resources management as such, they have less knowledge and understanding about the
institutional setting, policies and laws. that relate to natural resources management. The
organisations involved also do not offer enough opportunities for women to gain access to this
information (lack of translation, facilitation). Women‟s involvement with organisations is
again limited by lack of Khmer language skills and too high a workload.

8.4 Gender
The Gender sector implements its activities through the Provincial Department of Women‟s
Affairs and has three components: gender mainstreaming in local governance and project
implementation, a mother and child care project, and a workload reducing project. Two of
these aim at easing women‟s work.

8.4.1 Mother and Child Care Activities
The mother and child care project addresses the issue of birth control and in doing so it
improves women‟s health and reduces the number of pregnancies per woman. When women
become pregnant less frequently, infant, child and maternal mortality may decrease. Highland
communities rely very much on labour, therefore there is little incentive to reduce the number
of children per family. Birth control might for this reason not be appropriate in these villages.
Less children means less available labour. Contrary to this point of view, it can be argued that
a decrease in mortality of women and children by practising birth spacing will increase the
availability of healthy persons in a family able to work. In addition, less children per family
would also mean less mouths to feed. In an environment which has to deal with increasing

  Department of Environment 2000
  Similar findings were observed during monitoring and evaluation of the Reducing Women‟s Workload
Project. Some of the members of the women‟s groups said not feeling able to do their tasks well because they
lack knowledge in general and lack knowledge of the Khmer language. This is not at all relevant to assist in the
implementation of the activities in and mobilisation of women their own villages.

land shortage and encroachment, a decrease in population may also relieve some of the
pressure on the land. Birth control and birth spacing have their advantages and disadvantages.
For each village it must be established which solution would suit them best.

8.4.2 Reducing Women‟s Workload Activities
The Reducing Women‟s Workload Reducing Project works through women's groups of which
the members are elected by the village women. They are responsible for organising meetings
with all village women to find out what their needs are concerning reducing their workload as
well as implementing the activities of their choice. So far, the main activities established are
water wells and rice mills. This approach to reduce women‟s workload, while at the same time
trying to increase their decision making capacity has worked very well. The workload of
women has decreased by a minimum one hour a day. According to the End of Project
Evaluation conducted in February 1999, women used this time to follow NFE classes at night
to improve their reading and writing skills whereas at the same time the members of the
women‟s groups participated better in village decision making and were more vocal in village
meetings. As shown by the case of compensation for the damage of logging in Svaay village
(see section 5.4), active participation of women is crucial for giving them an equal say in the
way natural resources issues are dealt with. This is even more crucial when their natural
environment is coming under increasing strain.

Water wells can be seen as a more efficient use of water. Women have water nearer to their
houses, which saves them walking a long distance to the river, stream or other traditional
water sources. Even though water wells have many advantages for women, there are some
concerns with regards to the quality . Care must be taken that wells are constructed at least 20
meters from houses and places were people defecate otherwise the water can get
contaminated. Furthermore, free roaming pigs should not enter the premises of the well80.
What impact water wells have on the ground water level is difficult to say. One or two wells
in the village may not decrease the ground water level. However, if all families in the village
will get themselves private wells, with an electric water pump, this might have serious
consequences, for example, changes in ground water level. In addition, well construction
should not lead to a loss of knowledge of women about constructing traditional wells or water
sources. Since women still prefer to have bathing places further away from the village, this is
unlikely to happen.

In section 4.3 it is mentioned that open ring wells in most cases may not help in reducing
women‟s workload. Women do not like to use the water from these wells for drinking because
of fear of contamination. This is not the case in Phnom village, one of the target villages of
this project. Women use the well often and are very satisfied with it. A difference may be that
this village chose to have a well and all villagers participated in the implementation process,
whereas in a lot of the other villages, the wells were constructed without proper consultation
and without identifying a need for such a well.

Rice mills have the advantage of decreasing the workload of women. They no longer have to
pound rice by hand, a process that has to be done daily for three to four hours. Moreover, in
villages where rice mills are established men also help in carrying rice to the mill. This is a
considerable shift in the traditional gender division of labour, since men never assist in
pounding rice because they consider it to be women‟s work.

     Rozenboom 1996

Each time villagers make use of a rice mill, it costs a certain amount of rice. The amount
depends on whether the rice mill is privately owned or owned by the community, which
usually is a lot cheaper. These costs are for maintenance and fuel. It decreases the amount of
rice available for consumption. The establishment of rice mills should not lead to having to
increase the size of the chamkar to be able to increase the harvest. This would put an added
strain on the already limited resources of a family, in terms of labour as well as land.
However, the data of this research indicates that rice mills do not seem to play a big role in
rice shortages. In general, depending on the milling fees, the loss of rice due to milling is
between 5% and 9%81. In some villages, at times of rice shortages, there are families who do
not use the rice mill because they cannot afford to lose rice. In other villages, women said not
to mind losing rice at all. They would much rather have less rice to eat than to have to pound
rice by hand. In general, it can be concluded that those families with the lowest yields, would
make less use of the rice mills than families with higher yields. The community rice mills do
not have different milling rates for the poorest of families. It may be a good idea to discuss
this option so that all women could benefit equally from this service in the community.
Another way to overcome the problem of losing rice for consumption by using the rice mills,
is by considering options of improved rice storage methods. At the moment, 20 to 30% of the
yield is lost, due to rodents and insects eating the stored rice82, although this figure is not
confirmed to be this high by the findings of this study.

8.4.3 Possible other activities
In the Management Plans83 of Som Thom, Yeak Loam and Ochum commune, villagers stated
they want to plant fruit trees on steep hills to prevent soil erosion. This may provide a good
opportunity to integrate gender needs and at the same time provide for better management of
natural resources. This plan could be further developed by planting trees which provide good
quality fire wood near the village and on the chamkars. In the longer term this will decrease
women‟s workload and increase the number of trees surrounding of the village. Men might
have other ideas about which trees would be useful: trees that provide wood for construction,
shade for coffee plants or trees that provide cash crops such as cashew nut. Reforestation,
therefore, needs to be carefully planned with all stakeholders involved, taking into account the
needs of both women and men.

8.5 Non Formal Education (NFE)
Non Formal Education sector works through an interdepartmental team and trains Village
Teachers. Of the 40 teachers, only five of them are women. Four of them are Lao. The reason
for the lack of female highland teachers is that few highland women have attended formal
education. The majority are not able to speak Khmer. This problem is dealt with by training
female Village Volunteer Teacher Assistants (VVTA), who have completed the first year of
the NFE class in their village84. At the time of the research, 9 female VVTA‟s were active at
village level85. In addition, women only classes are set up to encourage more active
participation of the female students. Past experience showed that many women dropped out,
because men progressed at a faster pace, which made them feel embarrassed.

   For example in L‟Eun Chong when a family has a yield of 80 khappas, and the milling fee is 2 cans, the total
loss due to pounding rice will be (2x80=160/40) 4 kapphas or 5% of the total yield. In Kok Brou, where at the
time of the research they only had a private rice mill, the milling fee is 3 cans per 10kg. A family with a yield of
80 khappa‟s (1 khappa = 12.kg; 12x80=960kg) will loose (3x96=288/40) 7.2 khappas or 9%.
   Seng Hkum 1995, p. 19 (part I), 21 (part II), p. 17 (part III), p. 17 (part IV)
   Liévoux 1999
   McCausland 1999
   Informal discussion with Huot Mengkorng

NFE uses a curriculum which is based on Highland Peoples customs and traditions.
Therefore, care for the environment, Natural resources management, upland agriculture and
animal raising is an important part of the training material Students are taught about the
damage fire can do to the forest, hunting of wildlife, agricultural practices etc. In the
Evaluation Report of NFE, it was stated that a 100% of the students questioned were able to
describe the importance of the forest and other natural resources86. Half of the respondents
were women, so there is no gender difference in level of knowledge on this subject. This is in
line with the information stated in section 8.3. In the same evaluation a teacher was quoted,
saying that the villagers did not need lessons on NRM, but that it was more important for the
loggers and outsiders encroaching on their resources. Villager already were fully aware of the
importance of natural resources.

Gender relations are also addressed to the extent of explaining women‟s workload, why
women are so busy and to encourage men to help their wives. Since labour is crucial in the
livelihood system of Highland communities and in natural resources management, women‟s
workload is a very important subject to be dealt with in NFE. Self confidence is closely linked
with knowledge and education. Once women increase their knowledge, the better they will
become in expressing their ideas. NFE is therefore important in helping women to have a say
in village development and the way natural resources are managed in their village.

8.6 Local Planning Process (LPP) / Integrated Planning Process (IPP)
The Local Capacity Building (LCB) sector has been setting up a local development structure
from village up to province level. Village Development Committees (VDC), Commune
Development Committees (CDC), District Development Committees (DDC) as well as a
Provincial Rural Development Committee are responsible for a decentralised and bottom-up
rural development process in Ratanakiri. To achieve this, LCB first train a provincial team
(the Provincial Facilitation Team, PFT), and in turn the PFT is able to train a district
facilitation team (DFT). Both teams train and facilitate at commune and village level.
Commune Development and Village Development Plans are made through a process of
research and discussion with villagers and commune leaders. This whole procedure is called
the Local Planning Process. Women‟s participation in VDC‟s and CDC‟s is actively
promoted. At present 42 %87 of the members of the VDC‟s are women, a 2 % increase as
compared to 199788. Although this is a relatively high figure, the further removed from village
level decision-making, the less women are participating in the decision making body‟s. IN
comparison, the CDC‟s have 12.5 % female membership, the DDC‟s 10.5 % and in the PRDC
only 2.8 % of the members is female89. All female members of CDC and VDC receive a
confidence building and leadership training once a year to enable them to participate actively
and voice there opinions.

After three years of implementation, it was found that the way in which research and
discussion was conducted at commune and village level, resulted only in short term solutions
to problems identified. Moreover, all other sectors of CARERE were more or less
implementing their own project activities in isolation of each other. To overcome these
problems an experiment was conducted in three communes90, called the Integrated Planning
Process. The IPP is trying to identify both long term and short term issues and solutions. At

   McCausland 1999, p. 6.
   Personal communication with Ream Rin (1/8/00).
   Sugiarti 1997
   Personal communication with Ream Rin (1/8/00).
   These communes are Laming, Ting Chak (Bokeo) and Som Thom (O‟Yadao).

the same time data is being collected in co-operation with other sectors and information
coming from the PRA sessions is shared with other sectors. These long term issues have a
direct relation to natural resources management. Community forestry and sustainable
agriculture are now on the village agenda, whereas before these issues were not addressed.
Since IPP has not been in place long enough, these long term needs have not gone further than
the planning stage. In none of the IPP target villages91 are these plans implemented yet.

The main activities which have been established in villages under LPP/IPP are village
schools, roads, bridges, rice mills92, buffalo banks and rice banks. Only activities which could
have straightforward effects on gender in natural resources management are reviewed below.
The activities implemented by LPP/IPP are intended to be a learning experience for village
people and VDC‟s and CDC‟s to work together. This needs to be taken into account when
reviewing the actual activities.

8.6.1 Infrastructure
Roads and bridges might have a positive impact on women‟s role in marketing products from
the chamkar, small livestock and products gathered in the forest. The access to the market is
improved by roads and bridges. However, negative influences are coming in via roads as well.
Land along roads becomes more valuable and interesting in the eyes of outsiders93. This
means an increasing chance of land encroachment if villagers do not visibly occupy the land

8.6.2 Buffalo Banks
Buffalo banks may improve their rice security situation by being able to start or expand paddy
rice cultivation94. However, grazing areas must be available in these villages. This should not
only be based on the current number of buffaloes, but the possible size of the herd in the long
run should also be taken into account. Sacrifices and sales are ways to control the buffalo
population. However, in the contract with the villagers it says that the buffaloes in the bank
are not to be sacrificed or sold. Offspring is not mentioned. Villagers should understand that
the offspring can be sacrificed and traded when revolving loan agreements are met. The
selection criteria for families to take part in the buffalo bank is they must have experience
with paddy rice cultivation and have access to paddy land. According to the findings of the
research, the buffaloes are owned by the villagers and not by the VDC. No problems or
confusion95 seem to exist about who owns the animals. Since livestock is not owned by
individual family members, buffalo banks neither favour men nor women. Nobody gains
personal advantage of having access to buffaloes. The only persons who are in a
disadvantaged position are those not having access to suitable paddy land and those who lack
male labour, i.e. widow families who have young children and elderly people living on their

8.6.3 Rice Banks
Rice banks are implemented with the intention to reduce the rice shortages. Villagers can
borrow a certain amount of rice and after the following years‟ harvest, they have to repay their
debt with interest. In five of the target villages rice banks had been established to (L‟Eun
   With the exception of Som Thom and Ting Chak communes, which are CBNRM target areas.
   Since rice mills are already discussed in section 8.4, this activity will not be dealt with in this section.
   Informal discussion with Path Palith
   Paddy rice cultivation has a higher yield per hectare in comparison to upland rice cultivation when (biological)
fertiliser is used. In many Highland communities this is not practised and thus the yields do not vary much. See
also John 2000.
   Other problems with buffalo banks do exist, but these were beyond the scope of the study.

Kren, L‟Eun Chong, Kok Brou, Som Kol and Lon). All of these villages were very pleased
with this facility. It had been their priority in the village development plans because all
suffered quite long periods of rice shortages each year. In Kok Brou, some villagers used to
borrow rice from a nearby Chinese village. Since the interest rate is 80%96, these families got
into greater debt every year, and were suffering rice shortages because of these debts. The
villagers said that now they have a community rice bank they will be able to stop borrowing
from the Chinese. Their rice bank charges only 20% interest. The interest rates rice banks
charge vary between 10 % and 20 %. Only in Som Kol and Lon rice banks were in place for
more than a year so only in these villages the subject of type of family and the ability to repay
debts to the community rice banks could be studied.

Table 14: Relation between type of family and ability to pay rice bank debt
Type of     Widow families                                   Male headed families
Village    Borrowed    Returned     Not         % Not       Borrowed     Returned    Not         % Not
                                     Returned    Returned                             Returned    Returned
Som Kol     19          10           9           47.4        66           49          17          25.8
Lon         14          2            12          85.7        79           58          21          26.6
Total       33          12           21          63.6        145          107         38          26.2

As shown in table 14 it appears to be the case that widow families have more problems in
paying back their debts than the male headed families. In these two villages, relatively more
widow families suffer from long periods of rice shortages (4-5 months a year) than compared
to male headed families (see graph 1 in section 6.4). This data indicates that widow families
without access to male labour are more likely to get into debt because of borrowing rice from
rice banks. It is unlikely that rice banks will solve their problems of rice shortages, since the
cause of their rice shortages are related to a structural lack of labour and in some cases lack of
good chamkar land (see also section 6.4)97. Although community rice banks prevent villagers
from borrowing at commercial interest rates, they are not a sustainable option to increase rice
security in upland villages without being accompanied by improved agricultural techniques.

   For every 60 kg of husked rice villagers borrow, they have to repay 180 kg of unhusked rice (60 kg of husked
rice equals 100 kg of unhusked rice). 100kg / 180kg = 0.8*100 = 80%
   It must be noted that this information is based on data from only two village. When compared to data
in figure 3, there is a big difference between villages with widow families suffering from rice shortages.

9 Conclusion

The natural environment has always provided Highland people with the essential resources to
survive. It provided fertile soils for their chamkars, the forests supplied vegetables, tubers,
fruits and wildlife and water sources contained fish in relative abundance. What the forest and
the chamkar could not give, people purchased by trading with other hill tribes and Khmers
from lowland Cambodia. Much has changed since then. A thirty year period of war,
immigration of low land Cambodians and Vietnamese, commercial logging and industrial
plantations has had a tremendous impact on the traditional way of life in Highland
communities. Land pressure, less fertile soils, deforestation, and a reduction in the availability
forest products are the main consequences.

These changes in the availability of and access to natural resources have impacted women and
men in different ways, and in some instances this may even lead to changes in gender
relations. However, there are considerable differences between the effects on villages. The
most important variables in this respect turned out to be the degree of remoteness of the
village, and in direct relation to this, the extent to which the degradation has progressed and
the degree of social cohesion of the village. In addition, changes in livelihood strategies also
prove to be an influence (changing from upland rice cultivation to paddy).

This research has demonstrated that financial decision making patterns within the household
have not changed much. Generally, men and women still have equal access and control over
financial means. Only in two villages, one located near Ban Lung (Lon) and the other changed
to paddy cultivation in the 1950‟s (Kok Brou), did men seem to have more control over
money than women. This indicates that major changes in the natural environment and in the
agriculture system may lead to changes in gender relations and decision making patterns. This
is cause for concern considering more villagers are wanting to grow paddy rice and cultivate
cash crops to be able to fulfil their subsistence needs, and as a coping mechanism in dealing
with decreasing yields and a declining availability of natural resources.

Environmental degradation often results in an increased workload for both men and women.
Forest products such as wildlife and forest fruits are being depleted at a faster pace than forest
vegetables and firewood. As men are the ones mostly hunting wildlife and collecting forest
fruits, the consequences are that they have to spend more time and energy in pursuing these
tasks. Women do not yet have to spend more time to collect firewood, vegetables and water.
Only in Chree, a village where hardly any forest is left and rotation periods of swidden fields
are short, was it reported that good quality firewood had started to decrease in availability.
Changes in this village are directly related to land pressure as a result of in-migration from
outside and land encroachment because of its closeness to the provincial capital.

Although women may not suffer from an increased workload in relation to their task of
gathering forest products, for them things are changing with respect to their agricultural work.
They have to spend more time weeding chamkars, because of increased amounts of weeds.
Shorter rotation periods decrease the fertility of the soil and lead to an increase in weed
infestation. For men, shorter rotation periods also result in more work because they have to
cut trees to prepare new chamkars more often. However, in a way, shorter rotation periods
also ease men‟s work. This shorter period of time, does not allow trees to grow very big.
Apart from an increase in workload, natural resources degradation also leads to changes in the
traditional agriculture system. Cash crop production is one of the strategies followed to

compensate for lower rice yields and to accommodate an increasing demand for cash. This
change in agricultural production leads to a change in gender relations. As opposed to the
traditional upland agriculture system where women have an equal say in which products are
planted, cash crop production shows less involvement of women in the decision making
process. The lack of decision making power in this respect can be related to women‟s lack of
understanding of Khmer and their high workload, which prevents them from participating
fully in agricultural training. In addition, women have less contact with the outside world,
which is an important source of information for men to derive knowledge about market prices
and products.

The group of people in Highland villages most vulnerable to changes resulting from the
depletion of natural resources are widow families without access to sufficient male labour.
Upland agriculture is very labour intensive, and has specific tasks for men and women. When
a family does not have access to men who can cut trees and prepare new chamkars, they have
to rely on land that is abandoned by others. Land is only left to fallow when yields start
decreasing. Thus such land is already of low quality, and will only get worse as a result of the
problems of land pressure. Where other families can choose to diversify their agricultural
production system by cultivating paddy rice or growing cash crops in order to compensate for
lower yields and less fertile soil, widows are at a disadvantaged situation. It is more difficult
for them to start paddy cultivation because they need the assistance of men to prepare dikes
and canals and, although women are able to plough paddy fields, it is generally seen as being
a men‟s task. In the promotion of cash crops, widows are hardly included because of selection
criteria set by development projects/village committees that say that only those who have
enough labour and time to look after the products have access to the seeds or seedlings.
Therefore, for survival, widow families are even more dependent on forest products than
others because of their lower rice yields and lack of other means to diversify their cropping

Changes in the environment have consequences for highland culture and traditions because
these are so closely linked to the natural world. Their dependence on nature has led to certain
rituals that help safeguard the natural environment, such as spirit forests and taboos on
particular forest products. Araks, elderly spirit mediators, usually women, play important
roles in keeping and reinforcing these traditions as messengers of the spirits. In communities
with a lot of outside contact, these traditions are becoming less important. This decreases the
influence Araks have over natural resources management in such villages. The same goes for
village elders, usually men. Whereas before they were listened to by all villagers, now young
people take less notice of what they have to say. These changes have less to do with gender
relations, than with generation conflicts, aggravated by increasing pressure on natural

This research has shown that the state of natural resources degradation in Ratanakiri has
different impacts on men and women, and to a lesser extent changes the gender relations and
causes conflicts between different generations of villagers. Traditions and social cohesiveness
are necessary for the survival of the community as a whole, especially in dealing with rapid
change. A community will only be able to deal the problem of natural resources degradation
in an effective way if social relations, between sexes and between generations, remain in tact.

10 Recommendations

Natural resources degradation is becoming alarmingly apparent in Ratanakiri, and there is
evidence of the impacts this is having on men and women. In addition, the efforts of
CARERE/IDRC through the various project activities as described in chapter 8, also impact
on gender and natural resources management, in some cases in a positive way but in others
they result in negative impacts. In this final chapter of the report, recommendations are made
on how projects can contribute to improve the situation of men and women in an equal way in
the context of a changing natural environment.

10.1 Training
As was shown by the example of cash crop production, women have less say in what products
are planted than men do, based on a perceived lack of knowledge of cash crop production.
Reasons for this lie on the one hand in the more intensive contact men have with the outside
world of men, but on the other, in the fact that during cash crop promotion, women are not
addressed or provisions made to include them in the training. This does not only happen with
training on cash crop production, it also happens with other types of technical training such as
soil erosion prevention, training on other natural resources management issues etc. In a natural
environment under pressure, a family cannot afford to waste the input of some family
members because of their lack of knowledge. All experience and knowledge will be required
to be able to develop coping strategies. This cannot be left to only the men within the

Although it has been mentioned many times before (see also Berg 1998, Department of
Environment 2000), it needs to be stressed here that the only way to have women benefit
equally from training is to conduct them in their own language. This can be done either by
using translators, recruited at village level, or to include indigenous people on the team of
facilitators. In addition, women would benefit if they are addressed in a setting where they do
not have to feel embarrassed because of their lack of knowledge as compared to men. For
example by organising training with only female participants. Training for women would
also need the development of appropriate material. Since women are often illiterate, picture
stories and posters and other visual material will need to be developed. In addition, theory
should be backed up by practical work. It is often argued that husbands will get jealous if their
wives attend training conducted by men from outside. Therefore, before conducting training a
meeting should be held with village men to explain the necessity of the attendance of their
wives and daughters.

Although it requires a lot more time in facilitating the extra training and meetings, in the end
it would prove to be a more efficient way of transferring information.

10.2 Planning
Whether it concerns agriculture, general village development or community based natural
resources management, planning determines which kind of activities a village is going to
implement. Most of the time, planning is done through village level decision making bodies
such as Village Development Committees and Natural resources management Committees.
These committees do have female members, but they are often not very active because they
are too shy to speak out or they are not used to take part in village decision making. Although
trainings have been conducted to increase the confidence of female participants in such

committees, to date, they do not seem to be very effective since the complaints voiced in 1997
are still the same as in 2000: women do not participate actively in decision making bodies.

A new approach seems to be required. Important meetings such as deciding on land use
management plans, village development plans could be conducted in separate male and
female groups, and perhaps these groups could even be sub-divided by generations as an
initial stage. Once men and women have prepared their own plans, they can review each
others ideas. Analysis of the differences in women‟s and men‟s plans may in itself be a tool to
make men aware of women‟s needs and vice versa. At the final stage the plans of men and
women can be combined with mutual agreement. Planning in such a way incorporates the
ideas of all villagers.

Furthermore, leadership and confidence building training remains necessary, although it
does not directly lead to visible results. It is a long process to change people‟s attitudes,
therefore, women should be given time and opportunity to use their newly acquired skills.

10.3 Activities
In relation to the subject of gender and natural resources management a few possibilities for
activities in this area have been discussed throughout this report. In this section, these
activities will be expanded upon in more detail.

As expressed by villagers in Som Thom commune, widow families were not given seeds for
fruit trees and other vegetables because they lacked access to labour which would enable them
to take care of the trees. Since rice yields are already declining because of environmental
degradation, cash crop production could provide families with the additional cash income
necessary to cope. Widow families are in an even more disadvantaged position in this respect,
because they are often cultivating their crops on already exhausted soils (see also section 6.4).
To provide widow families equal opportunities to benefit from cash crop production, groups
of interested widows could be formed to share the tasks and responsibilities of cash crop
production. It needs to be a whole training process, involving women in the selection of the
kind of products that suit their needs best, of informing them about prices and marketing such
products and training them in the technical aspects, such as seed selection, seedling
production, applying natural fertilisers and biological pesticides, based on principles as
described under 10.1.

Another activity with respect to specific gender needs and natural resources management is
reforestation. Women make use of trees in a different way, as compared to men. Whereas
women use trees mainly as a source of firewood and food (fruits and leaves), men need wood
for construction. Shared gender needs are trees as a source of income, by growing trees as
cash crops. In different Natural Resources Management Plans in the target communes of
CBNRM multi-fruit tree plantations were mentioned as one of the desired activities. Through
careful, gender sensitive planning (see section 10.2), and identifying the different needs of
women and men, these multi-fruit tree plantations could be adjusted into a more diverse
plantation that addresses everybody‟s needs equally. For example, reforestation plans can be
made in such a way that trees which are important sources of firewood are planted nearer to
the village/house than fruit trees, as firewood is very heavy and needs to be collected several
times a week.


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Annex I: Village Maps of Natural Resource Use

                          Kok Brou

L'Eun Chong

Annex II: Prices of forest products

     Forest products                           Price                        Villages
Pniew                             3000 r/khappa, 500 r/kg, 200   Chree, L’Eun Chong,
                                  r/can                          Khameng, Kok Brou
Rambutan                          6000 r/khappa, 1000 kg, or     Chree, Lon, Khameng, Krala,
                                  200 r/can                      Kok Brou
Bamboo shoot                      500 r/4-5 pieces               Chree, Kok Brou
Slak Rang                         100 r/2 bunches                Chree
Slak Smach                        100 r/2bunches                 Chree
Cardamom                          4200 r/kg                      Som Kol, Ten, L’Eun Chong,
Malvanut                          5700 r/kg                      Ten, L’Eun Chong, Khameng,
                                                                 Krala, Kok Brou
Mango                             100-200 r/ 1-4 fruits          Khameng, Krala, Kok Brou
Chroeun Ut                        2000 r/kg                      Krala
Rool                              500 r/kg                       L’Eun Chong, Lon
Kuy                               300 r/plate                    L’Eun Chong, Kok Brou
Seman                             1000 r/kg                      Lon
Bark of Popoul Baay tree          500 r/kg                       Ten
Rattan                            100 r/node                     Chree, Svaay
Pa’ak Bamboo                      -                              Svaay
Pangolin                          90.000 r/kg                    L’Eun Kren, Kok Brou
Monitor lizard                    6000 r/kg                      L’Eun Kren
Ansong                            9000r/kg                       Kok Brou
Chinese medicinal                 2000 kg                        Krala
Resin                             1000 r/litre                   Kok Brou
NB: prices are averages of the villages selling these products

Annex III Research Team
Name                    Villages visited            Role                     Organisation
1. Rau Tres             Som Trak, Som Kol,          Interviewer              OAHP, PDA
                        Samkanin, Ten, Trom,
                        L’Eun Kren, L’Eun Chong,
                        Lon, Chree, Khameng,
                        Svaay, Krala, Kok Brou
2. Peew Pros            Som Kol, Samkanin, Ten,     Interviewer and          OA, PDA
                        Trom, L’Eun Chong, Lon,     interpreter Tampuan
                        Chree, Khameng, Svaay,      and Kreung
                        Krala, Kok Brou
3. That Sopheak         Som Trak, Ten, Samkanin,    Interviewer              OA, PDA
                        Trom, Lon, Chree, L’Eun
                        Kren, L’Eun Chong, Lon,
                        Chree, Khameng, Svaay,
                        Krala, Kok Brou
4. Hara Laang           Som Kol, L’Eun Chong,       Interviewer and          OA, PDA
                        Chree, Khameng, Svaay,      interpreter Kreung,
                        Krala, Kok Brou             Brou and Tampuan
5. Ha Sinaan            Som Trak, Som Kol, Ten,     Interviewer and          OAHP, PDA
                        Samkanin, Trom, Lon         interpreter Tampuan
                                                    and Jarai
6. Kan Chram            Som Trak, L’Eun Kren        Interviewer and          OAHP, PDA
                                                    interpreter Kreung
7. Meek Mien            Chree                       Interviewer and          PDoE
8. Phat Phalit          Som Trak, Som Kol,          Interviewer and report   CARERE
                        Samkanin, Ten, Trom,        writer
                        L’Eun Kren, L’Eun Chong,
                        Lon, Chree, Kok Brou
9. Conny van den Berg   Som Trak, Som Kol, L’Eun    Interviewer and report   CARERE
                        Kren, L’Eun Chong, Chree,   writer
                        Khameng, Svaay, Krala,
                        Kok Brou

Annex VI: Questionnaire

                                 General village information

1.    What is the name of the village?
2.    What is the ethnicity of the village?
3.    In which area(s) did the village used to be?
     What was the reason for moving?
4.    How many people live in this village?
         How many men?
         How many women?

                    Gender division in financial decision making
1. Who holds the money in your family?
2. If husband and wife earn money separate from each other, do the keep the money each by
    themselves or does one person keep it?
3. Do your children have the right to spend money?
4. How was this with your parents or 20, 10 years ago?
5. If a man shoots and sells wild life or sells other things from the forest (vines/bamboo), does he
    give the money to his wife?
6. Has this always been like this?
7. How did your parents/grand parents handle this?
8. Can men and women decide on the money within the household on their own?
9. Are men and women allowed to keep and decide on their own money/gold?
10. If somebody in the family wants to buy a radio an the other does not, how will this problem be

                                Logging in Highland Villages
1. Is there any logging activity happening near or in your village?
2. Are there any people from this village involved in logging activities?
3. How many people (men/women) are helping loggers / are employed by logging companies in your
4. Why do these people want to get involved in logging?
5. Can women do this kind of work? Why not?
6. How many people were doing this kind of work twenty years ago/ ten years ago/five years ago?
7. What do women think of villagers who help loggers?
       Why is this a bad/good thing?
8. What do men think of villagers who help loggers?
       Why is this a bad/good thing?
9. What changes is village life have occurred with people being involved in logging?
       How have these changes affected men’s and women’s lives?

                              Collection of Natural Resources
1.    What kind of water sources do villagers use in the village?
2.    Is there enough water for all villagers throughout the year?
3.    Was there more water or less water then at the moment? And 20/15 /10 /5 ago?
4.    How do men and women use water?
5.    Has the quality/taste changed in comparison to 20/10/15/5 ago?
6.    What kind of products are men/women collecting from the forest?
7.    What kind of products did you used to collect, but is no longer available in the forest?
8.    What kind of products are now harder to find then 20/15/10/5 ago?
9.    Where did the forest used to be? Where is the forest now?
10.   Which products are the most profitable in terms of value and quantity you sell?

      What is the price for each products?
      What is the amount you sell for each product per year/month/week?
      Which of these products could you plant in the chamkar?
11. What can you do to stop forest products from depleting?

Female Headed Households in agriculture
1. How many widows/women without husbands but with children are there in your village?
2. How many families cultivate paddy rice?
     How many of the widows cultivate paddy rice?
     Why do they not cultivate paddy rice?
     If they cultivate paddy rice, what kind of method to plough do they use?
     Who helps them ploughing?
     What do they have to do to repay for the help they received?
     What problems do single women face in paddy rice cultivation?
     If they do not do paddy what do these women do to make a living?
3. How big are the chamkars of widows in comparison to families with husband and wife?
     Where do widows have their chamkars?
     Did the land of the widows have many big trees? Was it good chamkar land?
     If not why do widows not have good chamkar land?
     Who helps widows to cut trees on their chamkars?
     What do they have to do to repay for the help they received?

Problems in upland rice cultivation

4. When comparing doing chamkar now with 20/15/10/5 years ago, when was it more difficult?
      Why was it then/now more difficult?
5. Was the village in the same place as it now is?
6. Are there more or less weeds growing on the chamkar as compared to 20/15/10/5 ago?
7. Are there more of less big trees to cut than 20/15/10/5 ago?
8. Has the rice yield increased or decreased since 20/15/10/5 ago?
9. What kind of other crops do you cultivate?
      Are there any crops you used to cultivate 20/15/10/5 ago but stopped growing them?
      Why did you stop growing them?

Cash crops
1.   What kind of crops are you growing which you sell at the market?
2.   Are you growing cashew nuts/coffee/sesame/soy beans?
3.   Who plants/ weeds/select seeds/harvests these crops?
4.   Who sells them in the market/to middle men, men or women?
5.   Who takes the money from selling these crops?
6.   Who decides on what to buy/do with the money/gold earned by selling these crops?
7.   What kind of products do you buy from this money?
8.   Which products are the most profitable in terms of value and quantity you sell?
        What is the price for each products?
        What is the amount you sell for each product per year/month/week?

Animal Husbandry
1. Does your family own animals?
2. How many pigs, chicken, cows, buffaloes do you/your husband/ your children have?
3. If the pigs, chicken, cows, buffaloes belongs to an individual family member, will that family
   member be able to sell it without discussing it with the rest of the family?
4. If the pigs, chicken, cows, buffaloes belong to the whole family, how do you decide on when to sell
       Who takes that decision?

5. If the pigs, chicken, cows, buffaloes belonged to an individual family member, can he/she keep the
    money him/herself?
       Can she decide what to do with the money on his/her own?
6. If the pigs, chicken, cows, buffaloes belong to the whole family, who keeps the money once the
    animal is sold?
       Who decides on what to do with the money?
7. Can you give an example of when you or your family member last sold an animal?
       Who sold it?
       Who kept the money?
       What did you do with the money?
       Who decided to do that?
 8. Does your village have a buffalo bank?
9.    Who owns the buffaloes? VDC, families, individual family members?

                    Culture and Natural Resources Management
1.    What kind of spirits does your village have?
2.    Do young people believe in the existence of spirits?
3.    What does an Arak do?
4.    How do you become an Arak?
5.    What kinds of products this village cannot take from the forest, according to the Arak?
6.    What kinds of wild life this village cannot hunt, according to the Arak?
7.    Why is this prohibited?
8.    Does this village have some places where people cannot collect forest products from, hunt in, or
      cut trees from?
9.    Why is this prohibited?
10.   Who decided this was prohibited?
11.   Can elders prevent villagers to collect certain products, hunt certain species or cut certain trees?
12.   Can elders prevent villagers to collect products from certain places?

                                          Land ownership
1.    Has any one in this village ever sold land to the government or to somebody else?
2.    Who made the final decision to sell the land?
3.    How was it decided, in a village meeting, household meeting, by only one person?
4.    If you never old land, what is the reason?
5.    Who kept the money/gold from the sale of land?
6.    What did you do with the money/gold?
7.    How was this decided?
8.    Before the land was sold, who were the main users of the land?
          What was it mainly used for?

                       Knowledge on Natural Resources Management

1.  How many members does the Village Natural Resources Committee have?
2.  How many of them are male/female?
3.  What is the role of the female/male members?
4.  Who speaks more during meetings, men or women?
5.  Why is that?
6.  If women are less vocal in meetings, how can you improve that?
7.  What does the CBNRM project do?
8.  What happens if too many trees are cut?
       How will this affect your life?
       What can you do about it?
9. What happens if village land is sold?
       How will this affect your life?
       What can you do about it?
10. Where did you learn about Natural Resources Management?

                                       Rice shortages
1. How many months did you face rice shortages this year?
       For how many years have you been growing rice on your chamkar?
2. Who in this village face the most serious rice shortages?
       How many of these families are headed by widows?
3. What do you do/eat when you do not have rice? What did you do 20/15/10/5 ago when you did not
   have rice to eat?
4. Does your village have a special chamkar / rice for people who do not have enough rice for
       If yes: why does your village have such a chamkar? If no: why not?
       How much rice do they have to give back if they borrow from this community rice?
5. Does your village have a rice bank?
       Which families make most use of it?
       How many families are headed by widows?
       How much rice do you have to give back if you have borrowed rice from the rice bank?
       How many families could not pay back this year?
       How many of these families are headed by widows?
       Does your village have a rice mill?
       Which families do not make use of the rice mill?
       How many of these families are headed by widows?
       Why do they not make use of the mill?
       How many kappha’s of rice do you have less to eat since you brought the rice to the rice mill?
       Do you face longer rice shortages because of having to pay for pounding the rice at the rice
6. If you could choose between pounding the rice yourself and having more rice left to eat or to have
   the rice pounded by the machine and have less rice to eat, what would you choose?
7. What can you do about rice shortages?
8. What kind of rice do you plant?
       What do you use each variety of rice for? (consumption, sale, rice wine, fodder etc.)
       Which type of rice is the most expensive?


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