The African Women’s Network for the Community Management of Forests (REFACOF)—an RRI Affiliated Network—has completed a comprehensive review of Burkina Faso’s legislation and policies regarding non-timber forest products (NTFPs), with the goal of empowering women as key actors in these policy making processes. Burkina Faso is widely considered to be a regional pioneer of NTFPs, which play a key role in the country’s economy. Although women in rural areas constitute 80 percent of the workforce in the NTFP industry, they conduct the most labor intensive but least compensated tasks, and poverty levels remain high.

In its study, REFACOF-Burkina Faso identified different gaps in provisions for women’s rights and subsequent challenges for rural women active in the NTFP supply chain. The review is accompanied by an action plan and advocacy strategy for 2016- 2018, targeting the promotion of gender-sensitive forest policies. These materials were presented and validated during a workshop held from February 2-3, 2016, attended by representatives of the Ministry of Women, the National Agency for the Promotion of NTFPs, nongovernmental and civil society organizations, and women’s networks. Plans for the future include establishing a regular dialogue for reinforcing partnerships and exchanging information around gender and NTFPs.