Our experiences as Online IFSA Delegates at the Forestry in Women’s Hands 2021

On 9 April 2021, 29 students from 17 countries met online to attend a Pre-Conference Day in view of the Forests in Women’s Hands Conference 2021. Following this first exchange, they attended the FiWH conference and a Delegation Session after to discuss their learnings and possible next steps to further gender equality and raise awareness on the topic in IFSA.

It was the first time in IFSA’s history that an Online IFSA Delegation was put together. Read some of their experiences below:

Ali Baluee’s experience:

Being an IFSA delegate was a new and exciting experience, as I was able to establish new ties and make new connections. The IFSA Pre-Conference Day was very effective since it gave me a perspective for the main conference and I learned a lot before the main conference began. Becoming an IFSA delegate was my first interaction with IFSA and I am a hundred percent sure that it has made me love IFSA eternally.

Samuel Japheth’s experience:

Being an IFSA delegate at FiWH was educational, inspiring and challenging. It was educational because I was able to learn much about gender and how to navigate it. Also, the conference was inspiring, seeing how women in many parts of the world are fully engaged and capable of working in any section of the forestry field that is usually seen as masculine. This is really an indication that when we are fully inclusive, the sector can reach its full potential. One challenge is that people in some parts of the world are not even aware that all genders should have the same rights and opportunities and that they deserve to break from that sociocultural system that limits them to a certain way of life. I also had the opportunity to network with students and get to know initiatives within the forestry field.

Alice Cosatti’s experience:

The FiWH conference was a good start to connect among women in forestry on an international level. I got to know a dozen new people with different backgrounds and perspectives on forests, and it was great to participate. Still, there is a lot to do and a need for an intersectional and radical feminist discourse in the forest sector.

Haron Ferreira’s experience:

When I registered for the FiWH Conference, I was already expecting it to be a great learning opportunity, with IFSA being a world-renowned association. When I was informed that I had been selected to be part of the Online IFSA Delegation, I experienced a mixed feeling of joy and euphoria as it was my first time attending an IFSA delegation. From the first contact, I have been extremely well-received by the IFSA team ahead of the FiWH Conference, as well as by the other members of the delegation, who were always ready to help whenever needed. Besides that, I had the opportunity to meet amazing people from different parts of the world, and know a little more about their inspirations, goals and backgrounds in relation to the subjects discussed. It has without a doubt been a very enriching experience to create virtual contact with people from different parts of the world, united together for an extremely important cause. Helping with different tasks that further strengthened everything we had learned from each other has also been rewarding. Each reported experience made us question our own lives a bit more. Indeed, every idea and solution proposed just made me grateful for having the privilege to be part of this team that contributed to improving my vision of Forests in Women’s Hands.

Author: Ali Baluee