This article describes a movement by women in Kenya to replant and protect mangrove forests in their communities, thus improving local habitats and increasing their individual opportunities outside of the home.
The article details how important mangrove habitats are to carbon sequestration, as well as local ecosystem services, such as erosion prevention, storm mitigation, fish and crab nurseries, and medicine.
In addition to the women's associations planting mangroves and restoring forests, they have access to microloans through invested partners to start small businesses.
This article shows how empowering women, environmental protection, and economic investment in women can synergistically work together to improve communities and women's access to opportunities.
This article is written with scientific vocabulary, but with an engaging narrative providing a story that touches the heads and hearts of those who read it.
Additional stories that feature women and the environment and environmental issues in Kenya are recommended at the bottom of the page.
Students should be familiar with the terms erosion, fish nursery, microloan, carbon sequestration, and Paris Agreement.
To build background knowledge, consider watching avideoor reading an article about the ecology of mangrove forests, prior to reading the article.
It may be helpful for students to understand the types of opportunities traditionally accessible to women in Kenyan society, so a classroom discussion of these topics mentioned in the article could help students understand the importance of the women's environmental work.
This article provides an excellent opportunity for interdisciplinary study between civics, economics, and ecology or environmental science.
As an extension activity, have students research habitat restoration work that is done in their community through a forest preserve, national park or other environmental or community organization or research another area specifically working to restore mangrove populations, such as those places mentioned in the article.
Economics or business students can discuss microloans, the role of institutions and groups like The Nature Conservancy in creating small businesses, and what incentives organizations such as The Nature Conservancy may have to provide women with microloans.
Students can discuss how community perceptions of women working with mangroves evolved in the community, and can try to compare this to other situations throughout history.
This resource from The Nature Conservancy highlights a mangrove restoration project led by women from coastal Kenya. The article shows how the Mtangawanda Women’s Association empowers women and makes them leaders in the fight to restore Kenya’s mangrove forests, a habitat critical for fish and crab and a major defense against coastal erosion. In addition to the crucial mangrove restoration, the association has also created a loan program to help women start businesses, once impossible in the traditional society. This resource clearly shows how women are taking a leadership role to tackle a serious issue, and is recommended for teaching.
College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
Dimension 2: Economics
D2.Eco.2.6-8 Evaluate alternative approaches or solutions to current economic issues in terms of benefits and costs for different groups and society as a whole.
D2.Eco.9.6-8 Describe the roles of institutions such as corporations, non-profits, and labor unions in a market economy.
Dimension 4: Taking Informed Action
D4.7.9-12 Assess options for individual and collective action to address local, regional, and global problems by engaging in self-reflection, strategy identification, and complex causal reasoning.
Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
Reading: Science & Technical Subjects (6-12)
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.6-8.2 Determine the central ideas or conclusions of a text; provide an accurate summary of the text distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.11-12.7 Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., quantitative data, video, multimedia) in order to address a question or solve a problem.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.11-12.8 Evaluate the hypotheses, data, analysis, and conclusions in a science or technical text, verifying the data when possible and corroborating or challenging conclusions with other sources of information.
Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
HS-ESS3-3 Create a computational simulation to illustrate the relationships among management of natural resources, the sustainability of human populations, and biodiversity.
HS-ESS3-4 Evaluate or refine a technological solution that reduces impacts of human activities on natural systems.