Feminist Participatory Action Research (FPAR) for Climate Change

The Feminist Participatory Action Research (FPAR) programme rests on the notion that to gain a voice in policy debates over climate, it is important that rural and indigenous women document their own practices and experiences and are the authors of their own research. Women-led participatory research promotes democratic participation of women in policy making around development at local, national, regional and international levels. Women set the agenda, conduct research and analysis, and participate in decision-making at all levels. The goal is to advocate for and foster community-led structural change. For example, in the Philippines, one community has passed a resolution to prevent the use of destructive fishing practices after conducting its own research on the issue, and now requires individuals to adhere to strict fishing and hunting schedules. Women in other communities have mobilised to call for the regulation of local logging and the implementation of reforestation measures. In Vietnam as part of an FPAR project that focused on communities resettled from the construction of a hydropower dam, the Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD), a community non-profit organisation, resettled women in five hamlets, established a Women’s Union and invited the district’s female deputy of the Department of Justice to teach them how to write a complaint letter.

APWLD works with six partner organisations (based in Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, Philippines x 2 and Indonesia) to undertake research detailing their own experiences of climate change and their local strategies of adaptation and mitigation. In 2010, the partner researchers collaborated to come up with a research toolkit. In 2011, the organisations conducted and documented the research and commenced advocacy strategies.

The participatory research also builds capacity of women in rural, indigenous and urban poor communities in principles of human rights and environmental sustainability, including human rights principles that are related to the protection of human rights defenders. According to APWLD, the FPAR programme further helps protect woman from threats and harm related to their activities by bringing women together and creating support networks.

Further Information

APWLD’s website: http://apwld.org/category/rural-and-indigenous-women/.