The recent Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD COP15), held in Abidong the most important meetings focused on tackling land degradation until the next UNCCD COP occurs in 2024. Pivotal decisions were made by national leaders, and a new narrative was put forth on how we discuss and think about land.
However, some of the most important voices to be heard were of those who are closest to the continent’s landscapes: women. Women produce some 70 percent of food in Africa and are often the main managers of family and community lands, even if they lack legal rights to it. And so, alongside the official negotiations – and to help give meaning to them – Landscape News took a few moments to capture stories and memories shared from pan-African women about their home landscapes.
“The place where I grew up is a place that is one of the coldest areas in the country, that is always misty and has this dense, Indigenous forest. And when I was a little girl, we used to go there to collect firewood and enjoy these musty areas under the trees and play there. But what is sad these days is that when I go there, I actually feel sorry for my children, that they are not experiencing what I experienced during my time.”
“I remember when I was 5 years old, I was living in the northern part of Cote d’Ivoire. Over there it’s very dry, so we have a lot of sand areas, and I remember playing in front of my grandmother’s house and playing in the sand. And when I was playing in the sand, it started to rain. And when it rained, when the water touched the ground, the smell of the sand changed, and I really, really loved that smell.