The case study I chose is “Hidden Links: Irrigation, Malaria, and Gender” the article published by the World Health Organization, studies the impact of irrigation and the diseases caused by agricultural production (Shore, K. 2011). Women are vulnerable to changes in hydrological system and water scarcity because they must work hard to ensure their families are fed and that their children have good health when exposed to diseases such as malaria. When food sources are low because of poor irrigation and low rain seasons, women are obligated to feed their families, they no longer have crops to sell, which would normally be used to generate extra income. Irrigation has affected food security as well; for example, rain fed uplands generate a smaller quantity of food which increases workload because they now must harvest two crops, even though more rice is produced, it does not improve their economic status and they still face food insecurity.
The case study describes how women have what is known as “personal crops”, these are lowland fields were women can harvest their own crops such as rice and vegetables (Shore, K. 2011). The families live off the crops harvested by men, however, when food supply is low, then the families rely on the crops that the women harvested. Women are important and effective agents of change because they can help with food for the family, should the men require, especially when the family’s food supply is running low, then women provide food from their personal fields. Women have taken on important roles in the household when it comes to providing food for their families.
Irrigation might sound like a technologically advanced way to water crops; however, it has proven to bring about more problems than solutions. Women and children are especially affected by irrigation that create wet areas that increase breeding grounds for mosquitoes that carry malaria.
One would assume that villages that utilize irrigation would be in a solvent situation; however, I have learned that when villagers of irrigated areas are affected by malaria, women have less resources to combat it, despite not having enough economic resources to do so.
Shore, K. (2011).Hidden links: irrigation, malaria, and gender. Ottawa, International Development and Research Centre, 2002. http://web.idrc.ca/ev_en.php?ID=11995&ID2=DO_TOPIC
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