Gender-responsive climate financing to upscale the production and use of affordable renewable energy

Description of the project: The Umbrella Cooperative, consisting of WECF and its Georgian partners, facilitate the development of gender-responsive energy cooperatives as a sustainable, inclusive and successful business model to ensure safe provision of renewable energy. Local energy cooperatives offer technical and financial advice, together with the installation of sustainable climate technologies (solar collectors, efficient cookstoves). The Umbrella Cooperative produces energy solutions, develops marketing support material and guaranties high quality products. An adapted financial mechanism, set-up with Georgian banks, enable rural women to access these technologies through affordable loans.

Climate impact: Georgia’s rural households depend on firewood for cooking and heating. Resulting in heavy deforestation: firewood consumption is approx. 3 times higher than the forests’ ability to regenerate. Households spend about 30% of their income on energy, yet they have little access to capital to invest in efficient technologies, even if these would write of rapidly. WECF’s project generates clean, affordable energy supply for rural households; while reducing CO2 emissions by 1t /year/hh and Georgia’s dependence on fossil fuels.

Gender impact: Georgia’s rural households depend on firewood for cooking and heating. Resulting in heavy deforestation: firewood consumption is approx. 3 times higher than the forests’ ability to regenerate. Households spend about 30% of their income on energy, yet they have little access to capital to invest in efficient technologies, even if these would write of rapidly. WECF’s project generates clean, affordable energy supply for rural households; while reducing CO2 emissions by 1t /year/hh and Georgia’s dependence on fossil fuels.

Scalability / replicability: This model enables households with very low revenues in Georgia, who are in great need of making energy savings, to access financing for efficient technologies. Households have three years to pay back the loans, and it has led to an increased local demand of solar solutions. The concept of an umbrella cooperative of local cooperatives can be applied to other technologies, like insulation and efficient stoves. The business model can be replicated in many countries.

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Empower Generation: combatting gender inequality and energy poverty through women-led social businesses

Description of the project: EG builds women-led clean energy distribution networks that deliver life improving  products (e.g. solar lanterns and home systems; efficient appliances) to energy poor rural communities. Targeting rural women who own and run their own business, or work as door-to-door sales agents, EG builds their capacity through training and business support. Women are trained on how to run successful businesses, distribute clean energy solutions, and become leaders in their communities. In 2012, their first woman-led energy business in Nepal was set up. Today, their network includes 20 women-led businesses, in 15 districts, with 270 sales agents. Since 2017 EG has also started a pilot project in Myanmar.

Climate impact: As of June, EG’s network has displaced 12,409 CO2 and provided cleaner, safer homes to 284,640 rural customers. EG’s model is a market-based, sustainable solution for human and environmental suffering caused by climate change. They provide affordable energy alternatives and sanitary water upgrades. The project mitigates climate change, as it shifts the rural households’ consumption of fossil fuels to sustainable energy.

Gender impact: EG works with marginalized women, such as indigenous and Dalit (untouchable) women, with limited education. 99% of CEOs and sales agents start off living below the poverty line; just one year of working for EG brings them above it. Many women go back to school or start their own ventures afterwards. This year, because of their public leadership of social businesses, over half of the entrepreneurs in EG’s network were nominated in Nepal’s national elections and many won seats in local governments.

Scalability / replicability: Leveraging a woman-to-woman sales dynamic, by 2018 EG aims to have employed 1,100 women and provided energy access to 1,2 million people. The model’s educational part can be replicated and EG also provides ongoing support to the women-led distribution networks. Their model’s two prong approach (women’s social and economic empowerment; reduction of fossil fuels) to development can be implemented and scaled up for the estimated 1,2 billion people globally access to reliable electricity.

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Capacity building to engage young women in sustainable agriculture

Description of the project: This small scale project (70 beneficiaries) focuses on experiential learning, peer-to-peer mentorship and hands-on field visits, fostering curiosity and learning. It aims to support the inclusion of young women in higher training for agriculture and sustainable food value chains in South Africa. It provides information about study and entrepreneurship opportunities for lifelong careers in agriculture and sustainable livelihoods; strives to remove the negative image of agriculture among the youths; takes holistic approach by providing training in basic life skills, financial literacy, sexual and menstrual health, nutrition, well-being, awareness about abuse of drugs and alcohol.

Climate impact: The project focuses on participants from local community and low-carbon practices. Facilitators have strong community ties and an understanding of traditional farming practices. Topics include: enhancing knowledge of local food, key environmental-climate challenges, developing skills in organic food production, composting, backyard gardening, converting raw produce into commercial food products, nitty gritties of agriculture value chain, integration of commercial farming with conservation efforts.

Gender impact: The program to empower young rural women enables them to imagine a career in sustainable food systems, build their technical skills and ignite a passion for sustainability. It strengthens young women’s agency through experiential learning, peer-to-peer mentorship, exposure to female-role models and hands-on field visits to foster curiosity. Extra care goes into consulting partner organizations and parents to avoid impact on school work; ensure safety of girls; build and maintain trust.

Scalability / replicability: The project relies on facilitators being fluent in local languages. It can be upscaled by mentoring young entrepreneur farmers as facilitators and by identifying venues for training. The model can be adjusted for immediate replication in other areas of South Africa. By building basic skills in organic farming and raising interest in sustainable agriculture careers, issues of natural resource management, food security, inter-linkages between health, wellbeing, domestic harmony, and food are addressed.

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Biodiversity preservation: women‘s role in mangrove restoration

Description of the project: In Aceh, in a poor coastal village, men go out to sea for days to catch fish, while women add to the family income by collecting oysters around the village. Through training and awareness raising of local women on the importance of restoring mangrove forests, the project manages to secure increased household income and mitigate climate change. With a long-term focus, the practical training looks at seedling techniques, planting and sustaining ecosystems. Through community participation, the project contributes to food security and nutrition, improving the lives of 1270 inhabitants. Situated in a conflict prone area, economic resilience can reduce the possibility of future conflicts.

Climate impact: Continuous exploitation and external impacts are affecting oyster habitat; thus affecting the income of those dependent on their availability. Mangrove ecosystems have a potential to reduce carbon emissions by sinking it to the ocean floor. Planting mangroves improves air and water quality, enhances biodiversity, and reduces local temperature. With right restoration method and cheap mangrove tree (€0.15-0.20 each), the community can benefit in long-term, environmentally and economically.

Gender impact: Almost 90% of the rural women in Aceh are oyster farmers. The work is strenuous and affects their health. The project trains the women in sustainable mangrove restoration. To avoid adding to the women’s workload, they are given a daily allowance during the training period. Women in Aceh struggle to be included in community decision-making, however, the project provides the women space to participate in local decision-making on environmental issues, which affect their lives adversely.

Scalability / replicability: By cooperating and setting targets with the local community, this project could be a reference for replicability for the Aceh government. It can also be replicated in other poor coastal areas where income is dependent on coastal resources. If mangrove ecosystems are restored, the availability of fishes and other aquatic animals will increase in the future. This contributes to food security and nutrition as well as generating income and mitigating climate change.

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Resolve trash to cash: providing social and economic security to ostracised women

Description of the project: This project ensures a dignified livelihood for women who are scavenging landfills, i.e. recycling municipal solid waste (MSW), in Kolkata by institutionalising their unofficial work and developing women-led microenterprises on waste recycling. Transforming them to “climate entrepreneurs”; leading to social and economic security, as they would otherwise often be exposed to sexual harassment and economical deprivation. The project targets 45,000 poor urban women in Kolkata. It also holds awareness campaigns, and has covered 15,000 households and 500 institutions on sustainable lifestyle and segregation of waste.

Climate impact: Paper, plastic, textile and wet-wastes in MSW are recycled using non water-intensive, low energy technology that needs minimal capital investments and nominal recurring costs. As a climate adaptation project, it works to diminish carbon emission footprints, as well as alleviating urban poverty. Since 2012, the intervention mitigated above 2,500 m tons of MSW (avoiding 7,250 m tons of CO2); generated 1,800 kg of eco-clean biogas; produced 3,700 kg of recycled paper; arrested 4,360 kg plastic in reuse.

Gender impact: 650 women have been identified through a needs assessment, and given extensive training in recycling and infrastructure. 380 women are currently working in small scale MSW enterprises and have access to professional benefits like: insurance, health safety, emergency helplines, paid leave, etc. (following India’s labor law framework). The project protects women’s human rights by preventing sexual and societal abuse; ensures a right to decent work and economic growth (SDG8); reduces inequalities (SDG10).

Scalability / replicability: This innovative program, with its abatement of landfill emissions and pollution, benefits the citizens of Kolkata. It provides an easy-cost, climate-smart solution. Scaling up has been ensured by the support of 7 local municipal bodies, 28 corporate houses and over 4000 housing societies as partners, donors and practitioners of sustainable lifestyle. Waste management is a common issue in Asia, thus the project has been replicated in: Bhutan, Bangladesh, and transborder Nepal-India.

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Advocacy for women’s right to land ownership through DRC’s land

Description of the project: This project advocates in 4 regions of DRC for national authorities and customary leaders to acknowledge the rights of women on lands and forests and strengthen their participation in climate action. Based on an assessment of women’s legal land tenure rights and local practices, an advocacy tool was created and used for meetings organized between women in these provinces and ministerial authorities or local decision-makers. This led to the recognition of women’s role in forest management and community development, and the allocation of land for agroforestry projects.

Climate impact: Women are the primary users of forest resources for family and economic needs. Their utilization is central for climate issues (mitigation and adaptation). In DRC, the 2015 national law upholds gender equity in all sectors, which is what CFLEDD relies on. The project allowed an increased participation of women in climate actions in the targeted regions: Central Congo, Bandundu, Equator and South Kivu.

Gender impact: The acknowledgement of women’s role in forest management and economic development, resulting in the allocation of land for agroforestry, allowed them to be received by customary leaders and progress towards a change in gender relationships in access to land ownership. This project is now taken as a best practice example of how to involve women in public management. CFLEDD obtained the publication of a national regulation requesting all Ministries to establish a Gender Focal Point.

Scalability / replicability: CFLEDD intends on sharing the project’s results in all DRC provinces through public administration offices, provincial ministries, local NGOs, customary leaders and the private sector. It intends to integrate gender equality and women’s rights in the country’s land reform and implementation of REDD+ programmes. The chosen methodology can be replicated in a number of countries facing similar land and climate issues.

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Restoring biodiversity in community forest by planting caterpillar trees

Description of the project: The Batwa Pygmies are discriminated against in DRC, particularly in their access to traditional forests, often overexploited. This project aims at restoring forest ownership by Pygmy populations (1,600 beneficiaries) and biodiversity in the Equator province by planting trees that host edible caterpillars in two forest areas of 100 ha each. Caterpillars used as food produce can mitigate food insecurity due to the loss of crops and generate a source of income for indigenous women. They are trained to rehabilitate damaged ecosystems and manage forests rationally and sustainably.

Climate impact: The Batwas’s community forests suffer from increasing deforestation due to industrial overexploitation and soil impoverishment through unsustainable agricultural practices. The project aims at fighting deforestation by rehabilitating local plants: planting trees that host edible caterpillars allows for successful restoration of the forest biodiversity. The project aims at a total annual production of 25,000 tons of caterpillars which could yield an annual income of up to $3,750,000.

Gender impact: The project is led by FECOFFA, an indigenous women’s organization, ensuring them total integration in the decisional process. Furthermore, FECOFFA trains indigenous families – women and girls primarily – to plant trees that host edible caterpillars, reinforcing their knowledge competencies. The income generated by the project also aims at improving the autonomy of the Batwa women involved.

Scalability / replicability: The project aims to limit discriminations suffered by the Batwas in the decisional processes related to forest exploitation in Congo and, in a broader scope, to reinforce the respect of specific indigenous peoples rights in policies linked to REDD+. The project was implemented in 4 villages: Bowele, Bolama, Bokenge and Boala Ngombe. Its economic model is simple and replicable.

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Gender assessment of non-timber forest production and capacity building in northern uplands Lao PDR

WINNER

Description of the project: GDA assessed gender roles in the northern rural uplands of Lao PDR, focusing on Non-Timber Forest Production (NTFP). The project used a women’s empowerment lens to bridge traditional harvesting practices with sustainable livelihood initiatives in the target communities. The 4,500 project beneficiaries were women, their families and fellow community members; many of whom belong to the Hmong and Khmu ethnic groups who have been systematically marginalized in Lao PDR. The project identified key areas and documented policies for improving sustainability. Women leaders in the community participated in the Training of Trainer workshops with the goal to enhance their capacity and their knowledge sharing.

Climate impact: The villages selected for the assessment were located in high risk landslide regions. The risk has increased in past years due to deforestation from overharvesting. By supporting alternative economies and NTFPs, GDA works towards mitigating the risk of natural disaster. They are also preserving natural resources through training and advocacy on sustainable harvesting practices, especially advocating for policy reform in the area of unsustainable harvesting of fish, cardamom, and wild mushrooms.

Gender impact: In addition to the familial and household duties, women in the targeted villages are also primarily responsible for NTFP. Using a rights based gender framework, the project conducted awareness raising and training on financial management to promote financial independence. By building the capacity of the women to become knowledge bearers in the field of agriculture and income generation, the project aimed to increase their inclusion and impact on community decisions.

Scalability / replicability: NTFP harvesting has been the mainstay of village livelihood long before external involvement. However, there is an urgent need for policy intervention and good practices to ensure its sustainability. The framework and needs assessment of this project could be replicated in other communities affected by deforestation, forced migration, and food insecurity as a women’s empowerment initiative as well as a climate risk reduction strategy.

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Community Conservation Resilience Initiative (CCRI): adaptable to different nations and contexts

Description of the project: The Community Conservation Resilience Initiative (CCRI) aims to assess the legal, political, moral, socio-economic, financial, technical and capacity-building support that is required to sustain and strengthen the resilience of community conservation and restoration initiatives in different communities around the world. The methodology is a simple guiding framework meant to be adapted to specific nation and local contexts. It includes a gender toolkit to identify and address potential forms of marginalization of women through dialogue within communities about women’s unique rights, roles, needs and aspirations.

Climate impact: Many of the different communities at the study sites are going through severe weather changes; some have managed to successfully adapt – or are adapting – to such changes by using their traditional knowledge and practices. Women are key knowledge-holders, allowing entire communities to overcome the different challenges. For instance, in Samoa, strong self-organized women groups have established mangrove recovery programs by planting up to 2 acres of mangrove trees, which help the community face tidal waves, sea rising and ultimately help restore the rich biodiversity providing food, medicine, and income to the local populations.

Gender impact: In many areas, patriarchal societies settled after colonization and the key role of women in community conservation is now invisible. For instance, in Ethiopia, women have lost most of their inheritance rights; but some traditions remain, bringing women’s key role back: i.e., In Mount Bale women inherit from their mothers a “Singe”- stick as a symbol of respect. This community observes strict non-violence rules for women. The CCRI intends to visualize the gender aspects of community conservation and is paving the pathways to empower women to take on leadership roles.

Scalability/replicability: The CCRI is conducted in 22 countries around the world. The results of this experiment will contribute to the implementation of the Convention on Biodiversity’s 2011–2020 Strategic Plan, and also to Aichi Targets and the proposed SDGs related to forests and climate change. It will provide policy advice on transformative, effective and appropriate forms of support for community conservation to foster climate change mitigation and resilience.

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Gender and territorial governance for a fair climate response: cases from Morocco

Description of the project: Aware of climate change challenges and concerned about fair climate justice, ADFM works for an effective participation of women in the development and implementation of efficient policies to strengthen women environmental and socio-economic rights at national and territorial levels. ADFM accompanied 11 local municipalities for the creation of an “Equality, Equal Opportunities and Gender Approach” advisory body in four provinces (Ouarzazate, Zagora, Midelt and Tinghir). This project was conducted in collaboration with local civil society and elected deputies, as territorial authorities are responsible for local services and territorial development plans that can mitigate the impact of climate change on women.

Climate impact: Introducing a more environmentally friendly approach in territorial action plans in the water, agriculture, energy and waste sectors at local and regional levels contributes towards climate mitigation and adaptation. The involvement of women via this participative approach has enabled a stronger introduction of local knowledge into local sectoral programs reducing GHG emissions in energy consumption (ie. heating, insulation), and increasing climate adaptation capacities (ie. agriculture techniques).

Gender impact: ADFM promotes the gender approach in local and regional policies by: 1) building women’s capacity to participate in decision-making processes at local levels; 2) making women more resilient to climate change; 3) strengthening territorial resilience by bridging local decision-makers with women’s local knowledge in agriculture, home heating, water and waste; 4) disseminating a culture of gender equality and participatory approach.

Scalability / replicability: In Morocco, over 1500 municipalities belonging to 75 provinces and 12 regions will have to set-up an “Equity, equal opportunities and gender approach advisory body” in the next years, as enshrined in the new territorial Law 111-14, 112-14 and 113-14. ADFM’ first experiment in 11 municipalities can be extended to many other regions, based on results evaluation and follow-up activities.

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Integrating Gender into Urban Climate Change Initiatives (GUCCI)

Description of the project: This pioneering project explores options for integrating gender and social aspects into urban climate policies in six pilot cities. It seeks to build capacity at local level and develop gender-responsive policy recommendations, in order to strengthen citizens’ ability to become involved in urban planning processes and implementation, and to enhance the effectiveness, inclusiveness and acceptance of mitigation and adaptation policies. It was launched in 2015, in partnership with All India Women’s Conference, GenderCC Southern Africa, Aksi! for gender, social & ecological justice and Solidaritas Perempuan (Indonesia), and is part of the International Climate Initiative (IKI).

Climate impact: The project helps local governments to enhance their climate responses by integrating social issues, e.g. poverty alleviation and gender equality, to make adaptation and mitigation more effective and viable, and create social and environmental co-benefits. Key issues and priorities are identified for each pilot city and strategies are developed to ensure that climate policies are more effective and respond to the needs and capacities of citizens, women and men, poor and marginalised groups.

Gender impact: The project partners have developed and apply GenderCC’s Gender Assessment & Monitoring of Mitigation and Adaptation (GAMMA) methodology. The assessment involves several steps, covering institutional setting and procedures, the range of a city’s climate policies and an in depth analysis of the gender impacts of selected measures. The partners will develop policy recommendations based on the results of GAMMA and implement concrete genderresponsive campaigns and projects in the pilot cities.

Scalability / replicability: The project is conducted in six pilot cities in countries of the Global South. It is replicable in urban areas in the Global South and, with minor modifications, applicable to cities in the Global North. The Gender Assessment & Monitoring of Mitigation and Adaptation (GAMMA) methodology can be applied by policy-makers, NGOs and community-based groups with the guidance of gender experts.

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Women managing organic seed banks: improving access to information and preserving diversity of local environment

Description of the project: Grainothèque, set up in the Western part of Côte d’Ivoire, works on preserving and exploring the genetic diversity and reproduction of local feeding plants through organic seed banks as well as improving access to information. Tools and technical notes explaining production techniques, pollination, botanical classification, isolation, harvesting, seed stocking and feeding properties are made available to women. An android application provides technical help to producers in case of plant diseases.

Climate impact: Grainothèque developed a production, distribution and sales service for organic inputs (biofertilizers and biopesticides) to reduce the impact of chemical fertilizers on soil, water and the environment. The distribution of free seeds contributes to protecting botanical species that have become scarce and to restoring biodiversity. In addition, reproduction protocols document seeds, improving their resilience to diseases and drought.

Gender impact: This project gives women a new role in their community. They contribute to safeguarding the genetic diversity of feeding plants and to food security. Women’s leadership of the seed sector, training on permaculture techniques, polyculture and jobs related to food allow them to be included in decisionmaking processes. A mobile app producing gender-disaggregated data on agriculture highlights women’s competencies.

Scalability / replicability: Grainothèque publicizes a farming agricultural model based on eco-friendly practices, solidarity and supports the local economic system. Over 1,000 women have already been trained and received over 500 kg of seeds. Furthermore, the innovative mobile app “yiri drôtô” makes it possible to identify pests and diseases affecting plants and contributes to democratizing access to information, putting technology in the service of a durable and sustainable agriculture.

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Claiming back the streets of São Paulo – a biking collective training for women

Description of the project: Bike Anjo is an online platform promoting safe and secure riders who can teach and bike alongside beginners. Bike Anja is one of its projects, focusing on women learning to bike in São Paulo. The city road planning (intense flow of cars and reckless drivers) impose several barriers to beginner cyclists, especially women who also experience street harassment. Volunteers, through monthly workshops, teach beginners to pedal, traffic rules, signalling and precautions. Ninety percent of the participants are women. There are also 2 comfort workshops encouraging women to use bicycles as their main mode of transportation; training them on basic mechanics, intimate hygiene and dressing tips, etc.

Climate impact: According to the Institute of Energy and Environment, automobiles account for 72.6% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in São Paulo. The average car in São Paulo produces 261,36 kg of CO2 monthly. Bike Anja hopes that the biking women will become multiplying agents by encouraging other women to start cycling, reducing the amount of cars on the streets, thus reducing GHGs in the city. They also hope that the project will push the local authorities to prioritize bicycle infrastructure.

Gender impact: The project supports the autonomy of women by contributing to their daily economy (reducing their transportation costs), health and agility, as well as security in the city’ streets. This action also promotes women cyclists’ active contribution to climate mitigation. The events are promoted on social networks and at different city locations to make it more available to other women. Meeting venues are close to subway or train stations, to guarantee accessibility.

Scalability / replicability: Bike Anjo is active in several Brazilian cities. The communication platform is well- known and very effective. It’s model (with workshops and bike tours) enables other cities to easily add women focused groups (Bike Anjas). Bike Anja has already seen great results although it was implemented without any funding. On their blog, they posted several topics related to biking to encourage more beginners to join the workshops. The blog has an increasing number of readers and enthusiasts.

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Innovative business model: local female vendors phasing out kerosene lights in energy poor communities

Description of the project: The main objective of this project is to combat light poverty by providing affordable quality solar lights to rural and peri-urban households relying on increasingly expensive kerosene. Five local women have been trained to raise awareness and sell solar lights. They offer flexible payment models to ensure everyone’s access to the lights, including the poorest households in the villages. 650 households in 10 villages (approx. 3250 people) have been reached so far; the majority of the customers have been women. The solar lights provide clearer light, increase the villagers’ productive hours, reduce carbon emissions and the exposure to harmful smoke/air pollution.

Climate impact: This is a climate change mitigation project striving to reduce carbon emissions from kerosene lamps. The burning of 1 liter of kerosene produces 2.5 kg of CO2. Each household in the target communities uses an average of 50 liters/year. Jiro Solèra estimates that so far they have managed to reduce 81,250 kg of CO2 a year. Their goal is to reach 10,000 households, thus reducing 1,250,000 kg of CO2 yearly.

Gender impact: Jiro Solèra works to improve the economic opportunities of local women through a women-led enterprise. The target communities are sceptical to the new sustainable energy source. To date, 7 local women have been trained on raising awareness on the benefits of switching to quality solar lights. They teach women, children and men about the disproportionate effect indoor air pollution and kerosene has on women’s health. They then sell the lights and become role models within their communities.

Scalability / replicability: This project is suitable for energy poor communities; there are still many villages in Madagascar that can be reached. The Roddenberry Foundation provides the project with a catalyst grant and the solar lights are sold at full market price with a small profit margin. The profit is reinvested in new lights, and pooled into salaries. Only solar lights, with 2-year warranty, meeting the Global Lighting Quality Standard are distributed. The team teach the community how to use the warranty.

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Housing and sanitation improvement: solidarity microcredit funds with a gender perspective

Description of the project: Madre Tierra supports the creation of Solidarity Microcredit Funds between women to improve their housing and access to drinking water. The first phase of the project presents housing improvement processes (like access to tap water and internal electricity), representing an improvement in the living conditions and tasks performed by women such as care and domestic work. The habitat improvement is expected to empower women to identify gender inequities and, through gender-specific workshops, incorporate discussions on stereotypes, violence and feminism. The project benefits 300 people, including women and their families.

Climate impact: The project represents a tangential adaptation measure to climate impact, with water saving actions. House improvements include: installation of home water connections and rain water tanks. Promoting a more efficient use of the water network and collecting rain water as enable substantial watersavings. The improvements in the housing conditions allowed for a more adequate thermal protection and a better access to sanitary conditions to the families.

Gender impact: The project ensures safer homes : access to drinking water inside the home means that women do not have to go outside to get the resource, and indoor electricity generates more safety; it also improves women’s and families’ living condition, especially as it reduces the time spent on cooking and cleaning. Women’s participation in the decisions was sought during each stage of the project, making their opinions more visible to their partners and communities.

Scalability / replicability: The project reflects the feasibility of articulated work between grassroot women’s organizations, NGOs and the state in which social investment takes into account the opinion and vision of the people affected. The systematization of the results found at each stage allows this project to be taken as a good practice that highlights the importance of including a gender perspective to avoid perpetuating inequities within families.

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Acacias For All: women fighting desertification

Description of the project: Acacias For All is a social enterprise involved in the restoration of degraded ecosystems through reforestation and sustainable agriculture. The objective is to plant 2 green barriers of acacias through the country, protected by an agreement signed by the Ministry of Agriculture. The project implements alternatives to intensive agricultural techniques (e.g. organic agriculture, permaculture, agroforestry) and stimulates the start-up of cooperatives which generates employment and revenues. A think-tank has been created, Tunisia Climate Lab, to rethink environmental and social challenges in the country in view of climate change, and create a space for dialogue between stakeholders of diverse interests.

Climate impact: Desertification and water scarcity are the main consequences of climate change in Tunisia. Acacias act as a wall against sand, stop desertification and establish a protective perimeter favourable to agriculture and biodiversity. They also protect surrounding trees, especially olive trees. Training offered to farmers by the think-tank raise the population’s awareness of a resilient path to development.

Gender impact: Acacias for All now works with 26 female farmers from 2 cooperatives and with farmers from several regions in Tunisia. These women, who are leaders in their communities, are trained on eco-friendly agricultural techniques and knowledge transfer. They organize cooperatives to transform and value their products according to principles of equitable business. The revenue generated through the sales allow financial autonomy.

Scalability / replicability: Launched in 2012 in a village in the South, and as of 2017 active in 14, this economic model combatting desertification provides stable income and economic empowerment for women. An agreement with the Ministry of Agriculture allowing young graduates to launch their projects on state-owned lands ensures the sustainability of the project. The think-tank and network of diverse partners (research institutions, public and private stakeholders, foundations, NGOs) also support the project’s longevity.

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When circular economy works hand in hand with social inclusion

Description of the project: Rue Rangoli highlights solidarity upcycling initiatives throughout the world to promote sustainable consumption of eco-friendly products, useful and accessible to all, as well as economic integration. The organization launches partnerships with craftsmen who create innovative solutions for the environment and supports the emergence of green production sectors based on waste materials. It supports the creation of sustainable jobs for populations that are discriminated against (particularly women) and highlights craftsmen’s knowledge through salons and equitable markets. Beneficiaries: 12 organisations representing approximately 100 craftsmen and women.

Climate impact: Rue Rangoli’s products are all made with materials recycled from waste or materials meant to become waste (bags made by leather scraps, lamps made by printed paper scraps etc.) allowing the preservation of resources. The Rue Rangoli network contributes to recycling 350 bottles of soda a day, 15 tons of plastic in Italy, 25 tons of tires etc. All the products are handmade and use no (or little) energy.

Gender impact: Rue Rangoli established a partnership in South Africa with single mothers who are marginalized and supports their training to allow them to evolve in their work, gain competencies and develop their environmental awareness. The revenues generated are a source of empowerment and social inclusion for women, and the network helps them take responsibilities.

Scalability / replicability: Countries of the South have developed a true expertise in upcycling. Rue Rangoli wishes to use their knowledge in countries of the North and bring together all the stakeholders that work in that area. First in France and Europe, then later in the rest of the world, through the setting up of a marketplace. The aim is to make solidarity upcycling tomorrow’s way of consuming. Lastly, it seeks to raise the awareness of companies on circular economy.

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Promoting climate resilience for women through biodynamic farming and water-retaining vegetables

Description of the project: This Aabash Memorial Foundation (AMF) project empowers marginalized women facing climate change and water scarcity in the Khokana community, Nepal, through practical assessments and trainings on environmental resilience. Actions are put in place through knowledge dissemination on climate impacts; along with practical assessments. Women are empowered to be self-reliant in terms of decision-making concerning water-retaining vegetables for improved cropping, knowledge of biodynamic farming systems, climate change impacts, and sustainable measures that would help to build adaptive capacity during water scarcity on their farm lands.

Climate impact: This project focuses on food security and water availability, through biodynamic farming, water-retaining vegetables, and rainwater harvesting. Activities include awareness programs in schools/colleges/women’s groups, group technique discussions, and solar demonstration. Key indicators of affordability and sustainability include increased food supply with water-retaining crops; reduced working hours and time spent to fetch water; less conflicts, and revenue from vermicomposting fertilisers.

Gender impact: The most crucial part of this project is to empower women and girls living in a community with low literacy rate. The project also aims to empower them by teaching about climate change impacts, sustainable solutions, solar demonstration training, rainwater harvesting system, etc. Besides that, women and girls also learn vermicomposting with solid waste and they would sell the compost to generate revenue.

Scalability / replicability: The vermicomposting component of this project could be scaled-up through training. This would reduce solid waste and produce cleaner environment, thus contributing to climate change mitigation. The biodynamic farming system using water-retaining crops could also be widely replicated. It takes less time as well as addresses issues such as natural resource management and building higher adaptive capacity among women to mitigate water scarcity.

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Women as seed conservation and agro-ecology experts helping their communities resist climate change

WINNER

Description of the project: The project “Seeds for Hope” improves the climate resilience, food sovereignty and economic autonomy of farming communities (20,000 people) in the valley of Derhadun, in Northern India, relying on women’s knowledge and action. They are trained to reproduce and conserve local seeds, learn agro-ecological techniques and food transformation, which reinforces their power to make decisions. The project is led in partnership with the association Navdanya, created by Vandana Shiva. Direct beneficiaries: 745 farmers and their families in 31 villages.

Climate impact: The project addresses both mitigation and adaptation: agro-ecology reinforces soil fertility and moisture (organic matter contents increased by 25% between 2011 and 2015), seeds conservation and reproduction ensure biodiversity rehabilitation and food sovereignty: yields have improved by 20%, dependence on the purchase of seeds lowered by 50% and the quality and quantity of food supply are progressing. The Uttarakhand intends to become a 100% organic State.

Gender impact: The project promotes the key role that women play in subsistence farming and family nutrition in rural India. As owners of knowledge, conservation actors and distributors of seeds, as well as trainers in agro-ecology and micro-savings, women have gained a local political role, their living conditions and financial autonomy are improved. The project ensures their increased involvement in the good management of natural resources at all levels.

Scalability / replicability: The project’s durability is ensured by a 10-year partnership between SOL and Navdanya. Its model builds on the communities’ autonomy, from seeds reproduction to short circuit sale, and is easily replicable: it was extended to 16 new villages and 250 vegetable gardens managed by women will soon be set up. The project touches on other cross-cutting themes: sustainable water management, sanitary food, solidarity through support groups, multiplying indirect beneficiaries.

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Togolese women farmers facing increased drought invest in resilient agroforestry

Description of the project: In Togo, land degradation has increased in the past few years due to extreme climate events that dramatically affect the lives of rural women. WEP-TOGO offers technical and financial support to 4 groups of women farmers in the Vo district in order to build their resilience. The project led to an improvement in the economic conditions of the beneficiaries and in their knowledge of good agricultural practices to increase soil humidity and fertility and adapt to climate change: 120 women farmers were trained and supported to produce mushrooms and irrigated market gardening.

Climate impact: Thanks to conducted activities, the 120 women farmers were able to face times of drought with irrigated agriculture. The use of organic fertilizers based on mushroom substrate allowed crops to resist the impact of climate such as irregular rainfalls or times of drought. Women farmers were therefore able to exploit 4 ha of agricultural land and greatly improve their production, according to their own testimonies.

Gender impact: The women who were trained acquired essential agronomic competencies they can transmit to other men and women farmers. The men and the young people in the beneficiary villages have been trained as well on gender and how to contribute to women’s success; thus men and young people supported women in several important areas, like building roofs for sheds, setting up the market gardening site, men and traditional leaders donating land to women for their crops.

Scalability / replicability: This project could be reproduced in other areas of the region, as well as other West African countries. Work has already started with other groups of women farmers in other villages in this district, with the support of the French Embassy. The local demand for support by WEP-Togo is strong. Beneficiaries have become transmitters of these good practices and are now involved in supporting other women in their area and sharing their knowledge.

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