One of the most exciting sessions in the Sub-regional Training Course on Women in Wood Energy Development was undoubtedly the role playing excercise, as reported in section 11.2 of this report. It was evident from this that women can ably represent a group of 'tough' foresters, and, equally well, a group of wise village council members. It was also striking that wise and experienced men (I wouldn't dare to say tough!) can very eloquently defend women's interests. More importantly, the role players demonstrated that they had truly absorbed the various gender issues and tools which were presented to them during the training programme.
The group photograph on the front cover of this report shows happy faces, though the organisers still look a bit worried. Please note that the photo was taken at the beginning of the course when some of us may still have been a little 'gender blind'. Probably, a group photograph at the end of the course would indicate a different picture: one where organisers look greatly relieved and participants look eager to implement the many important gender tools in their professional life.
RWEDP is extremely grateful to the highly professional training facilitators, Prof. Govind Kelkar and Dr. Dave Nathan, as well as to Mr. R.M. Amarasekara and Prof. Anoja Wickramasinghe for their excellent contributions. We would also like to express our thanks to all the participants for their full committment to the course. They definitely did not disappoint Mr. Sawad Hemkamon who in his welcome address reminded us all that a training course is not at all meant to be a touristic visit, even when the host country is as charming as Thailand. Participants have also taken seriously the words of Mr. Obaidullah Khan, who in his opening address emphasised the need for active participation based on personal experiences and viewpoints.
RWEDP plans to organise further gender oriented training activities, some integrated into other training events and some as dedicated activities. Training modules on gender and wood energy for use by interested training institutes are also being prepared. Furthermore, RWEDP is developing approaches to gender-disaggregated data bases on wood energy. These efforts can only be successful in cooperation with the many interested professionals in the region.
Dr. Willem S. Hulscher Chief Technical Adviser