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Title: Seaweed farming and intra-household gender relations on Songo Songo Island, Tanzania
Author: Besta, Naima
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2013
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This study examines gender relations within a highly dynamic social and ecological context. It focuses on how men and women use marine resources for their livelihoods and how the rise of seaweed farming and its decline due to plant disease have affected intra-household gender relations on Songo Songo Island in Tanzania. Little is known about the effect on coastal people of micro and macro forms of social institutions in terms of class, gender and other factors, or of how they affect their rights to access, control and use marine resources. This thesis contributes to social-ecological understanding of the crossing point between natural environment and social processes by showing the relationship between temporality and gender relations in the context of marine resource utilisation in Tanzania. Following a case-study approach, field research was conducted on Songo Songo Island using qualitative and quantitative techniques such as in-depth interviews, focus groups, semi-structured interviews, household surveys and participant observation. The main research question asks: How does the rise and decline in seaweed farming affect intra-household gender relations on Songo Songo Island? This was guided by three themes: gendered livelihood strategies, gendered access to marine resources and intra-household gender relations. The study finds that Songo Songo households engage in a number of livelihood activities including fishing, fish processing and marketing, seaweed farming, octopus collecting and formal employment (both skilled and unskilled at the gas plant, hospital, airstrip, and primary school). Within the frame of the socio-cultural patterns of the fishing village, Songo Songo women perform both reproductive and productive roles. The structured social differences among Songo Songo men, according to the category of fishers to which they belong, and women, according to their marital status, determine their access to marine resources. The decline of seaweed farming has created a vacuum for women with no alternative income, forcing them to shift their farms from one place to another in search of areas around the island where seaweed might thrive. Access to marine resources is also influenced by temporality such as tidal changes and trade winds. These temporal variations affect female seaweed farmers‟ contribution to household income, which in turn affects intra-household gender relations. The overall decline in seaweed farming has reduced their income and limited their economic activity, affecting their power to bargain and negotiate with men. The women‟s degree of power also depends on several other factors that influence perceptions of their contributions including cultural norms, gender ideology and social networking. This thesis calls for gender analysis of coastal livelihoods to reveal the multiple forms in which gender relations are exercised, negotiated and understood in the utilisation of marine resources. It is hoped that the key information presented in this case study and its recommendations for the use of the marine resources in the Songo Songo archipelago will make a significant contribution to development sector understanding of intra-household gender concerns and power relations.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available