The work of the upcoming One Forest Summit could play a role in passing the baton between the heroine Atalanta and the African forest of the future to develop the "feminisation of agro-forestry chains". In Greek mythology, Atalanta (Ancient Greek: Ἀταλάντη / Atalántê) was educated by the goddess Artemis. While hunting in the forest, she pierced the two centaurs, Hyléos and Rhoécos, with her arrows.
In Greek mythology, Atalante (Ancient Greek: Ἀταλάντη / Atalántê) is a heroine. She was educated by Artemis after being abandoned by her father.
During a hunt in the forest, she pierced with her arrows the two centaurs, Hyléos and Rhoécos, who had tried to abuse her. She also took part in the hunt for the boar of Calydon, the story of which is told in the voyage of the Argonauts.
Could this experienced heroine, as a hunter, fighter and runner, make Libreville the crossroads of a new incubator of commitment at the beginning of 2023 on the occasion of the One Forest Summit, of which Gabon is the main organiser?
The work of the next One Forest Summit could play a role in passing the baton between the heroine Atalante and the Africa of the forests of the future in order to develop the “feminisation of agro-forestry sectors”, a highly developed report on which has been produced as part of the EUAV Forests project.
Whether it is through the fight against locusts in Ethiopia or the development of Smart cities in Kenya or Uganda, the continent is constantly adapting to the fight against environmental challenges thanks to innovative technologies that can be successfully transposed to other countries via creative twinning, technical collaboration or innovative partnerships.
New times, new challenges and new heroines: the construction of a toolbox with the technical support of international cooperation agencies, some of which devote 40% of their budget to the African continent, would make it possible to capitalise on existing good practices and thus transform knowledge into cross-fertilisation. The women’s community, women’s cooperatives and women’s clusters have a key role to play in raising awareness of this “intelligent specialisation” strategy to develop agroforestry and value chains around non-timber forest products.
Non-timber forest products (NTFPs) are products collected in the forest without the need to cut down trees. There are many multi-stakeholder infrastructure-projects where Gabon and the partner countries of the Congo Basin forests could play a role of knowledge partner: beadwork, low-impact pharmacopoeia, alternative diamonds without logging, global bio-economy, solar alliance, low-tech, creative and cultural industries, transmission of knowledge…
The cosmetic, food and medicinal aspects of non-timber forest products are now being valued by many actors in Nigeria, through the field of the “New Nature Economy”. Data is largely lacking on cross-border flows between Gabon, Nigeria, Cameroon and other countries in the Congo Basin forest area. The women’s community, women’s cooperatives, women’s clusters can play an important role in better quantitative, qualitative and even statistical assessment of this potential.
Several study tours to the Grassfields, a transboundary savannah land in contact with forests, have demonstrated the great wealth of the feminisation of agroforestry sectors for Central Africa.
“Encouraging the awakening of vocations and developing talents”: the motto of the Jean-Félicien Gacha Foundation, which is housed in the heights of Bangoulap and Bangangté, fully sums up the task to be supported in this new era with new challenges and new heroines.
In the future, the Atalantes of the forests can unite around three families of objectives to be consolidated: HEAD, HAND and HEART to use the vocabulary of the English-speaking nations of the Common Wealth, of which Gabon is a part.
HEAD: Sharing knowledge
Promote culture and traditional knowledge HAND: Encourage know-how
Encouraging innovation, education and training
Instilling a spirit of openness and versatility in young people
And finally, HEART: Developing life skills
Work towards living together, by carrying out actions aimed at bringing together intercultural innovations and creations
By Kevin Lognoné,
Partnership, Management and Innovation Capacity Analyst