Internship – Land and gender study

By 18 mars 2021Emploi



Agroforestry project for smallholder families in Malawi

Starting date: as soon as possible (May 2021)

Duration of the attachment: 6 months

Geographical location: Districts of Lilongwe and Phalombe (rural areas)


Inter Aide has been working in Malawi since 1993 and currently runs 10 programmes in rural areas. Since July 2020, the association has been implementing 2 pilot projects in Malawi on the agroforestry theme, located respectively in the districts of Lilongwe and Phalombe. The objective of these projects is to initiate a significant planting dynamic on the private plots of land of the families living in the targeted villages, in order to enable them to be more autonomous in terms of firewood, but also in terms of timber and fruit trees, while generating new income in the medium and long term through the sale of these products.

Tree planting brings multiple benefits to the families involved in this approach (self-sufficiency in wood and non-wood forest products, additional income, soil and water conservation on the plots, protection against soil erosion, improvement of soil fertility, conservation of biodiversity, contribution to ethno-medicine, etc.) but it also makes it possible to delimit the land and assert the right to use or own a plot. In order to best help communities make choices that will bring them the best possible benefits in the future, it is therefore important to understand current land tenure regulations and customary practices and the extent to which these can influence households’ technical decisions and the future use of plantations.

Moreover, while women represent the majority of people involved in the preparation of agroforestry plantations (setting up and management of nurseries), the role of men and their influence on the implementation and success of these activities seems ambiguous: although the members of the plantation groups are mostly women, and the land also belongs to the matrilineal lineage, the influence of men on the planting choices (how many trees, where to plant, at what distance, …. ) seems relatively important and could be detrimental to the achievement of the project’s objectives if the mechanisms involved are not well understood. It is therefore important to understand the distribution of agricultural and agroforestry tasks within households (decision-making power regarding the planting and management of trees) but also the influence of gender on tree exploitation rights and the management of associated benefits.

It is in this context that Inter Aide is looking for an intern to conduct a baseline study on land tenure and gender factors that could potentially impact on the strategy and results of the agroforestry pilot programmes in Lilongwe and Phalombe districts.


– To understand the conditions of transmission of land ownership within families according to age, marital status and gender, as well as the distribution of the main agricultural and agroforestry tasks according to these same categories;

-To understand the importance of land rental practices in the structure of land tenure and land use, and their influence on the opportunities and constraints for tree planting by landlords;

-To understand in particular the land tenure situation and choices available to young adults and families with strong land constraints;

– To understand the distribution of the main agroforestry tasks (including basic farming activities) on the family farm according to age, marital status and gender;

– To understand how decision-making processes regarding the choice of agroforestry technical itineraries are distributed between men and women in the same household;

– Identify, through existing mechanisms or possible interventions, opportunities to facilitate women’s access to decision-making power regarding tree planting;

– Propose elements of an action plan to address the gaps identified and enable agroforestry projects to avoid pitfalls resulting from the poor consideration of land tenure and gender aspects in projects.

Specific tasks

– Describe the processes of customary transmission of land as well as the uses actually practiced (deviations from the rules, renting of land, etc.), illustrated by case studies;

– Make a brief regulatory analysis of the place of women in the land tenure context of the Lilongwe and Phalombe districts, as well as in the major uses and customs of the intervention areas;

– Analyse gender relations in technical decision-making processes (choice of sites and planting periods, choice of species, planting distances, protection, etc.);

– Analyse the specific situations of young adults and poor families with regard to access to land and land tenure security;

– Identify and analyse the obstacles to women’s access to land and decision-making power regarding tree planting and management: data, concrete cases, testimonies…

– Identify and analyse obstacles to women’s access to land and decision-making power regarding tree planting and management: data, case studies, testimonies, etc.; Highlight statistics on the proportion of leased fields in villages and the potential impact on tree planting practices;

– Analyse the specific situation of certain families according to socio-economic categories: single women with children, married women, young single women, young couples inheriting land, poor families without land, etc.


– Recruit and supervise a local interpreter/investigator to carry out the study in pairs;

– Contribute to the development of a methodology for the conduct of the study;

– In collaboration with the project teams, target villages in the intervention areas and conduct interviews in the communities (focus group, semi-structured interviews with households, women, chiefs, etc.);

– Meet with actors/institutions that have potentially produced data or studies on land tenure and gender in rural Malawi and provide a synthesis of the information obtained as an introduction to the report;

– To submit a complete study report in English, including, but not limited to: the definition of the problem, a summary of the laws in force and current practices and customs, concrete case studies, concrete recommendations for the project strategy and an action plan drawn up in consultation with the people responsible for the pilot projects.

Profile and experience

– University degree in a relevant field (agriculture, forestry, anthropology)

– Ability to rapidly acquire new knowledge in the multidisciplinary fields above-mentioned

– First experience in the field of agricultural land tenure in developing countries

– Fluent English is essential (oral and written)

– Methodological and scientific rigour

– Patience, diplomacy, tenacity and autonomy

– Proven interest for field work (numerous trips to target villages by bicycle or motorbike)

– Resistance to social and cultural isolation


  • Internship of 6 months
  • Flights beginning and end of intership
  • Visa fees

Internship to be filled as soon as possible

Applications will be processed as they are received

Please send a letter of application + C.V.

Under the following reference « STAGE/MAL/AGROFONCIER/2021»


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