Congratulations to the 2015 AWARE travel grant winners:
Xin's current research focuses on the role of solidary groups in providing public goods in rural China. After the elimination of rural tax, local governments lost a major source for public projects funding. Solidary groups, especially voluntary groups led by women (church/temple groups, lineage groups, female self-help groups, etc.), have become active in building public infrastructure and providing public services. Xin's study aims to reveal their economic motivation, their behavior patterns, and their contribution to local economic development and women empowerment.
Katie's research examines the relationship between export-driven aquaculture and well-being through a study of workers and farmers engaged in major segments (processing, fry collection, and cultivation) of Bangladesh's shrimp and prawn value chains. While export-driven aquaculture is often credited with creating earning opportunities for smallholders and landless workers, critics of export-driven shrimp aquaculture suggest that earnings for the mostly-female processing workforce are so low that the attainment of a decent livelihood, including access to sufficient quantities of nutritious food, is precluded. Katie will assess the state of well-being of shrimp and prawn processing workers and analyze the extent to which these workers share in the benefits of export-driven shrimp and prawn aquaculture.
Divya's research examines the emergent efforts to shift toward ecologically sustainable farming practices by farmers in the Malwa region of Punjab in India. Punjab has been the hub of state-driven modernization of agriculture through the adoption of high-yield seed varieties, chemical inputs, and machinery known as the "Green Revolution" since the 1960s. While food grain production increased significantly, small and medium cultivators are in the midst of a socio-ecological crisis, faced with rising indebtedness and increasing costs of inputs, as well as ecological degradation in the form of falling ground-water tables and poor human and soil health.
Divya investigates whether ecologically sustainable farming practices that are being developed through active collaborations among farmers can be a critical pathway for improving wellbeing and secure livelihoods. In particular, she focuses on women’s efforts to grow vegetables organically on homestead plots for household consumption among landed and landless households and how they are becoming a strategic resource to initiate restructuring of farming practices on a wider scale. This is significant, as "Green Revolution" practices initiated by state extension agencies excluded women from the labor process on the farms and reinforced gendered inequities in access to resources and decision-making.