Many studies have continuously asserted that women play an essential role in the management of natural resources, including the conservation of soil, water, forests and energy. Women often have profound traditional and contemporary knowledge of the natural world around them and given their triple role as water, firewood and food collectors, they are inevitably close to the environment and tend to face a lot of challenges which include spending a lot of time and energy in fetching water and collecting firewood; facing the effect of extreme weather such as drought and floods resulting into food and water shortages; loss of school time by the girl child and leading to poor academic performance and exposure to sexual and gender based violence as girls and women delay at wells or in the forests. The quest for industrialization, rapid urbanization and economic development has led to extensive pressure on environmental resources; consequently leading to climate change as some of the sensitive ecosystems are threatened.
The unprecedented competition for scarce resources, prompted by adverse climate change that is characterized by prolonged drought and unpredictable rains have wrecked havoc in the GHEA region. All these coupled with the hostile effects of the global economic downturn have impoverished several communities across the region, as people living in poverty struggle to access and gain control of the land and natural resources they depend upon for their livelihoods and culture. The rush for the remaining resources in the region, at times by foreign companies has thrown communities into conflict, leaving tens of thousands displaced through land grabbing and threatened livelihoods. The development of modern cities, in some countries in the region is also feared to be done at the expense of the livelihoods and cultures of the minority and indigenous groups who live in the areas where cities are emerging or proposed to be constructed.