Women, men and work: Rural livelihoods in south-eastern Zimbabwe

The concept of ‘livelihood’ embraces all that influences the way people make a living and organise their lives. When we make this a central concept in rural development, we pay attention to the ways in which our values and our knowledge must be adopted and adapted to fit the understanding, and the needs, of the people who are to benefit from it.

Women, Men and Work is a collection of studies on livelihoods in south-eastern  Zimbabwe. It looks at the essential contribution of children to the livelihoods of poor families. We see how women and children sometimes suffer because a development project is placed in the control of men.

Two chapters explore the tension between conserving the natural environment and making money from it through crafts, and the different perspectives that arise out of this tension. We see how some women seek to alleviate poverty by selling their sexual services. We see how new technologies for processing foods fail to take account of local needs, and how their usefulness is consequently diminished.

All the studies show the significance of local context to understanding how people manage available resources.

This book will be useful to all — both students and practitioners — who are interested in change and rural  development, particularly in Zimbabwe. It also has information relevant to gender, the environment and appropriate technologies.

Women, Men and Work: Rural livelihoods in south-eastern Zimbabwe
edited by Paul Hebinck and Michael Bourdillon
Weaver Press

ISBN 1 77922 003 0


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