Rural Women and Environment Degradation: The Case of Aseko Buta-Ber Kebele, Arsi Zone

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Addis Ababa University


The purpose of this study was to look into the impacts of water resource degradation and deforestation -orrfhe tife "of rilral wOmen! The study attempts to explore the extent of the problem on women, investigate the change in women's life style and identifY the coping mechanisms adopted by rural women to cope with the problem they encountered. The target population of the study is rural women living in Aseko- Buta Ber kebele. Indepth interviews, key informant interviews, Focus Group Discussions and structured interview are employed to collect data and both qualitative and quantitative analysis has been carried out. The study has found that women are forced to wait an average of 4-6 hours to get turn at the water point and are forced to travel longer distance an average of six kilometers in search of new sources. The study further reveals that, fetching water from distant source and carrying heavy loads exposed women to higher health risks. Common problems repeatedly mentioned are headache, chest and back pain and other complications. The findings show that the depletion of forest resources has forced women to travel longer distanc~s in search of fu~lwo()d. They travel an average 9-25 kms in search of fuelwood, . . '-- - .. - . . ' ''' '. - . .. . ,. ' . I·· . , 2-3 times per week, and to switch to inferior quality fuel. Women spent more time in the collection of fuel and it requires their scarce time and limited energy. The study has also revealed that in the prucess of gathering fuelwood and waler women have been raped and abducted. The study found that the participants employed a variety of coping mechanisms to cope up with water and fuelwood scarcity. The copings mechanisms most often used by the women are traveling long distance to fetch water and more efficient utilization of water. Using dung and waste materials is also the predominant means of coping mechanism of the women for fuelwood scarcity. Environmental degradation has adverse implications for women and girls in the area. The main reason for this is that it is usually women who are the main collectors and user of water, fuelwood and animal feed. This specific study has found that in Aseko- Buta Ber kebele the facts of forest and water resource degradation are extremely severe: shockingly, it h(1~ 4dller!i~_ (la.s and g(ndpr effects.



Rural Women and Environment