Spotless Dame – combating menstrual hygienic poverty while reducing plastic waste

Description of the project: This project addresses the interconnected challenges of plastic waste, extreme poverty, unhygienic practices during menstruation, and sustainable livelihoods. It enables adolescent girls and community women to lead healthy lives by breaking myths and taboos surrounding menstruation and creating awareness about healthy practices. More than 6,500 Mera Pads -reusable cloth pads made from bamboo- have been distributed. Their production and sales have created new jobs for 25 women, improving the livelihoods of their families. Over 7,500 women and girls have been trained in menstrual hygiene through 92 Workshops in 30 villages across 8 districts of Rajasthan. Awareness raising programs were also organised for boys and men to break the cycle of menstrual discrimination.

Climate impact: Disposable sanitary pads result in the unsustainable discharge of millions of tonnes of plastic waste all over the world, which are nearly non biodegradable. One woman using disposable pads and tampons for menstrual hygiene will generate around 150 kg of plastic waste during her entire life, with an estimated carbon footprint of 900 kg CO2. This project has thus far supported 1,626 women with 6,504 reusable cloth pads, saving 31,219 kg of plastic waste and substantially reducing carbon emissions.

Gender impact: Access to safe menstrual hygiene can be a matter of life and death. Patriarchal discrimination of menstruating women still prevails in India. With affordable, sustainable alternative pads, this project has created jobs, improved the life of 1,626 women and raised the capacity of 7,500 girls and women on menstrual hygiene management. Programs to sensitise boys and men break gender taboos. Pragati Sakhis -environmental ambassadors- are selected to educate and empower women in their communities on environment and health.

Scalability: Started in one village in 2015, Spotless Dame has already been replicated in 30 locations from 8 districts. Pragati Sakhis -environmental ambassadors- endorse the role of multiplicators and ensure up-scaling. The business model based on a sustainable production with local materials and local people is easy to replicate. By 2030, the non-profit organisation aims to provide 1 million women with Mera Pads, creating sustainable jobs for at least 1,000 women.

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Women waste pickers and community organisations of Bogota building a sustainable and inclusive city

Description of the Project: Started in 2012, this initiative shows the way for a sustainable and gender-responsive city, based on formalizing the activities of 26 women waste pickers as recyclers in Suba, in the south suburbs of Bogota. On this basis, ENDA involved 9 community organisations -3520 citizens- to elaborate a holistic urban concept, including participatory territorial planning, urban gardening, cultural and artistic activities and the creation of ‘Bankomunal’ – a community savings and credit initiative for women who do not have access to formal banking. Training in environmental management, gender inequalities and masculinities, local public policies and citizen’s initiatives, allows beneficiaries to exercise their democratic rights to protect their environment and cultural heritage, contributing to the Peace Process in Colombia.

Climate Impact: Thanks to the project 30 tons of paper and 12 tons of plastic are recycled annually, saving 120,000kwh of electricity, avoiding the deforestation of 600 trees and the accumulation of 4,000 kilos of garbage in the sanitary landfill. Paper and plastic are reused in the production of handicrafts for economic empowerment. Through the strengthening of community relations, productive organic terraces have been built, established as training centers for composting, seed banks, waste management and urban agriculture for self-consumption leading to significant climate mitigation results.

Gender Impact: Women recyclers have become environmental agents and providers of a public service with equal pay compared to men. Community women are recognized in their role as leaders for the transformation of urban practices having social, cultural and climate benefits. Participation empowers women and youth, as they are elected in the Community Action Board and in inter-institutional working groups. In this way they contribute to citizen’s monitored municipal budgeting and the implementation of public policies for the improvement of their neighbourhoods.

Scalability: The project indirectly benefits 9000 citizens and will be scaled up through partnerships with women and organisations from other suburbs. The urban gardening terraces are being multiplied via trainings of women leaders with the aim of creating a market for the commercialization of the vegetables and handicrafts. Establishing citizen monitoring of public policies has led to the nomination of a female community leader in the district council. This is key to reducing violence against women and to contribute to the peace building process in Colombia.

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Rural woman in Yucatan committed to healthy harvests and smoke-free cooking

Project Desciption: In rural areas of Yucatán, the main economic activity is agriculture, a sector where women account for 70% of the workforce. They perform their daily work without any basic training, technology, financing and without the rights over the land they cultivate. Climate change has made this problem even worse, making it more difficult to break the cycle of poverty. The goal of this project is to empower women by giving them access to natural resources in their homes through biodigesters, developing skills that improve their farming practices and reduce the risks of respiratory diseases and the time needed for gathering firewood, protecting the forests and stopping the use of chemical fertilisers. For this, 599 biodigesters have been installed in Yucatán’s indigenous communities.

Climate Impact: In 5 years, 432,897 m3 of biogas have been produced, reducing the use of firewood by 88%. Experience showed that manure transformed into energy eliminates a significant amount of CO2. The biodigesters have reduced 7,892 metric tons of animal waste that would have ended up in the aquifer. They produce 37 million litres of biofertiliser a year, for a fertilisation potential of approximately 567 ha/year, the equivalent of replacing 170,000 kg of synthetic fertilisers a year. This figure implies that the use of biofertiliser replaces the use of chemical fertilisers, as well as pesticides.

Gender Impact: Biodigesters, mainly managed by women, provide self-produced inputs that improve harvests and nutrition, breaking the cycle of extreme poverty and malnutrition in a period of climate change. Women participated in trainings and their voices were integrated into the generation of knowledge on climate change, rights and the use of clean energy. The systems adopted reduce the women’s health risks and financial stress and have an impact on energy and food safety, as well as on the diversification of productive farming activities.

Scalibility: The biodigesters can be replicated and are designed for small producers. They are mainly supplied with animal waste and require very little maintenance, helping the women and girls to save time to engage in other activities. The aim is to replicate knowledge through the creation of the first storage and treatment centre, called U ́Ka Muuk’ Lu’um, since 2017. The consolidation of this centre provides knowledge and space for these producers to find the tools for reproducing sustainable agricultural practices.

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Women cooperatives of Ireli fight desertification in Mali

Description of the Project: This project, initiated in Mali by ADESAF and co-constructed with the local population, contributes to the fight against the silting up of arable land in an area threatened by desertification. This initiative guarantees access to land for 276 women farmers who have received arable land plots, and been trained in agro-ecological techniques. It has contributed to the creation of cooperatives that generate new income, while ensuring greater food security and climate resilience for the 4,280 inhabitants of Ireli village. The cooperatives and all project activities improve women’s participation in local, resilient development through capacity building and empowerment.

Climate Impact: Ireli is located more than 100 km from the Niger River, in an arid area. The Village Development Committee succeeded in setting 10 hectares of dunes by forming 4 dedicated teams of women and men. 80 people were trained in planting and conserving local plants fixing the dune, and 276 in agroecology, preserving water and the ecosystem, to maximize nature’s regenerative capacities. 2 hectares of vegetable plots are cultivated according to these methods, ensuring the population’s resilience to climate impacts.

Gender Impact: The 276 women farmers have formed 8 groups that benefit from arable plots and training in arboriculture and agro-ecological gardening, as well as marketing, accounting skills and cooperative management. A part of the sales of the cooperative’s production is reinvested, while the rest improves the farmers’ incomes. Training courses strengthen women’s participation and role in decision-making instances. They elect their own presidents and managers independently. Their legitimacy is recognized by all villagers.

Scalibility: The collaboration with a local association and the support of the Sangha Town Hall ensure a good territorial anchoring. An appropriate economic model and good governance strengthens the autonomy of the inhabitants in managing the actions. Capitalization work was carried out through interviews and studies. The women also benefited from the experience of Tireli’s women farmers, who conducted a similar program. The community intends to scale-up by involving unemployed youth in Sangha and improving the incomes of cooperatives.

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Game changing rice culture empowers rural women to ensure food security in South Odisha

Description of the project: Pragati Koraput works with over 8000 ethnic women farmers in Koraput District, India, to ensure climate resilient nutritional food security. Activities include training on water saving System of Rice Intensification (SRI) for rice and millets, organic crop diversification with access to indigenous stress tolerant seeds, farm mechanization, and organized collectives for market access. The project has enhanced women’s position as change agents in the family and community. It has also increased the communities’ understanding of climate impacts on agriculture and the importance of proper conservation and use of resources for climate resilience.

Climate impact: System of Rice Intensification (SRI) creates aerobic soil conditions through shallow and intermittent irrigation, which contributes to better crop yield and food security, drop in production costs, and reduced freshwater consumption (-40%). This remarkable water management system in rice paddies, as well as reduced use of chemical fertilizer have resulted in substantial methane reduction, with significant mitigation and adaptation impact.

Gender impact: Thanks to the training and mentoring activities, confidence and self-esteem have risen in the mind of 8,200 women beneficiaries from 315 villages. The initiative has created space for the women to participate in local, state and national forums. They take leadership roles in communities to discuss and act on climate issues impacting their lives. They motivate peers to adopt innovative technologies for resilient agriculture. Men in the villages acknowledge their significant contribution, which is transforming the gendered power relations.

Scalability: SRI has the potential to involve many more farmers across the region as it is a methodology with proven results. Replicating SRI organic practices can have far-reaching positive impacts on a large scale, such as increase in food production, releasing the financial burden on farmers and promoting a more sustainable economy, with improved nutritional food security. Applying the principles of SRI in other crops and crop diversification will revive biodiversity and protect soil and water quality.

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Light Every Birth: solar suitcases for maternal health care

Description of the project: We Care Solar addresses global maternal-newborn health by providing reliable and renewable electricity to power the lighting, communication, and medical devices essential for obstetric care. Around the world, clinicians struggle in near-darkness to provide lifesaving care in facilities lacking electricity. The “Light Every Birth” initiative has brought solar suitcases to public health facilities throughout five African countries, equipping over 4,000 maternal health centers. The 12-volt DC solar electric system includes medical lights, headlamps, a fetal heart-rate monitor and installation hardware. This initiative facilitates timely, quality care for women and newborns in last-mile health centers; it is a model for gender-sensitive energy transition.

Climate impact: We Care Solar suitcases replace fossil fuel sources of lighting, such as candles,
kerosene lanterns, oil wick lamps, and diesel fuel generators, reducing carbon
dioxide formation, improving air quality, and removing the risk of fire. After deploying more than 4,000 solar suitcases in partnership with NGOs and UN agencies, about 40,000 tons of CO2 emissions could be reduced. By providing solar energy, the initiative is making rural health centers a model of renewable energy for communities.

Gender impact:
Foremost, the initiative improves life chances for women and newborns in regions with persistently high maternal and neonatal mortality rates and low rates of energy access.
Due to the lack of female solar installers, a “Women Solar Ambassador” program was launched to develop training materials showcasing women as installers and to promote women trainers for capacity-building on solar installation and maintenance. An educational program encourages more girls to enter STEM fields.

Scalability: The solar suitcases as well as educational and capacity-building programs can be rolled-out in more areas. A best practice guide for scale-up has been developed in this regard. A replicable model includes sharing decision-making with local agencies, creating steering committees with key stakeholders, training local technicians and healthcare workers in solar maintenance, providing ongoing technical support, and ensuring eventual handover of the programs into local and national governments.

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Empowered women ensure community-based forest preservation

Description of the project: Three organizations in the central districts of Nepal -Kathmandu, Makwanpur, and Sarlah- are promoting aromatic herb plantation and essential oil production, ecotourism, and handicraft development in 13 community forests over 1,375 hectares. More than 4000 households benefit from the project, contributing to surveying the trees, revising forest management plans, and establishing plant nurseries in conjunction with economic activities. Community based ecotourism policies were strengthened, and three women-led forestry enterprises were successfully registered and operated, producing market-recognized forest products to improve local livelihoods.

Climate impact: These nepalese districts suffer from deforestation due to rapid population growth, overuse of fuelwood, and clear felling under electric lines. Participatory development of new plans demonstrating sustainable forest management (SFM) practices, alongside capacity-building through SFM training, effectively counters the deforestation. Nurseries have supported the planting of 175,000 trees, and the distribution of improved cookstoves, including biogas units, reduces future fuelwood demand. Ecotourism policy-strengthening has also provided a foundation for SFM to continue.

Gender impact: 551 women have directly benefited from trainings, economic opportunities, and received appliances. Basic and advanced handicraft training led to two profitable enterprises. Along with an aromatic herb plantation, these enterprises are generating income and giving women greater autonomy over their daily spending. SFM training has supported the equal involvement of women in community forest monitoring and management. The additional distribution of solar panels for lighting and improved cookstoves has enabled more time flexibility, reduced fuel-gathering labor, and improved health.

Scalability: This work is able to be replicated to support women’s economic upliftment in Nepal. The plantation of aromatic herbs is particularly identified as a model for replication. The Government of Nepal’s emphasis on eco-tourism promotion, forest based enterprises and SFM will contribute to the sustainability and scalability of this approach. To reach policy makers and other audiences in Nepal, a wide range of communication tools were employed, including local media coverage, brochures and documentary filmmaking.

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Safeguarding Endorois people’s knowledge and ecosystems via an inclusive and autonomous governance protocol

Description of the project: This project supports the discriminated Endorois people around Lake Bogoria to articulate their own priorities and procedures for the conservation of their natural resources by developing a Biocultural Community Protocol (BCP). It documents the ancestral knowledge of Endorois women and men on their ecosystems and provides proactive responses to climate impacts, among other threats. It guides the community on collective engagement with external stakeholders on access, use and management of their endogenous resources, based on the legal framework of the Nagoya Protocol. The elected Endorois Welfare Council, representing all 17 target communities (up to 60 000 people), and respecting gender balance, contributes to the protection of genetic and biological resources, including the neighboring ecosystems due to the transboundary nature of ecological effects.

Climate impact: The BCP ensures the use of Indigenous knowledge to launch initiatives to adapt to climate impacts – droughts, loss of biodiversity, invasive species – and unlock multiple socio-economic benefits. The community has documented their traditional beliefs and indigenous knowledge and thus, the BCP is an intergenerational negotiation tool to address collaboration with external actors and provide solutions that safeguard and complement traditional knowledge for climate resilience and other key environmental issues.

Gender impact: The BCP adopts an inclusive strategy where women were included in leading positions in the governance structures and have become active agents in environmental conservation. Women actively participated in the negotiations and articulation of their rights, culture and traditions for natural resource management. The BCP clearly maps out women’s age-set, with separate representation of female youth and elderly, and recognizes their roles and rights with regards to conservation. Capacity-building also enhanced their understanding of policy, legal and institutional frameworks.

Scalability: The BCP strengthens the community’s capacity to use traditional knowledge to achieve sustainable natural resource management, and it aims to influence other Indigenous communities in similar circumstances, having positive impacts on neighboring territories. Such methodology can be replicated in many endangered ecosystems. The Endorois people are able to protect their rights and knowledge via collective engagement with external stakeholders. As a result, with a more cohesive society, they can avert possible conflict situations among members of the community arising from declining natural resources.

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Sexual and reproductive health and rights as a basis for conservation action

Description of the project: FUNDAECO breaks traditional cultural barriers to ensure the SRH rights of adolescent girls in more than 100 isolated Mayan and Q’echqi communities of Guatemala, as a fundament for their involvement in forest conservation. 22 health clinics, established in Protected Areas of Izabal, have provided regular care and counseling to 50,000 patients (2/3 women), significantly reducing teenage pregnancies, and strengthening women’s leadership. Support provided in maternal and infant feeding, control of malnutrition and hygiene are linked to environmental protection activities, i.e good eating habits using natural resources, or sustainable waste management. A scholarship and youth leadership program contributes to end discrimination of women with formal and informal education.

Climate impact: FUNDAECO integrated SRHR in it’s approach to sustainable community development and conservation efforts of the Caribbean Guatemala Protected Areas. Trainings in managing and processing non-timber forest products are offered within a programme supporting more than 500 families of indigenous communities for the creation of 4,000 hectares of agroforestry systems. It includes planting rubber and fruit trees, black pepper, shade trees, and creating live wind barriers to increase the forest cover in agricultural and livestock systems, regenerating the forest’s biodiversity.

Gender impact: The 22 clinics have become a vehicle for women’s empowerment, and mobilised the communities around family planning issues, violence against women and sexually transmitted diseases. 10 communitarian first aid kits were developed. FUNDAECO worked with the Movement for Equity in Guatemala Association (AME), to develop training processes about human rights, SRHR and gender based violence. Scholarship support for 48 teenage girls enabled 15 of them to graduate and access new study opportunities. Women’s groups initiated new income generating activities contributing to improved livelihoods and enhanced status in their communities.

Scalability: From a pilot started in 2014 with 3 clinics, the project expanded to a network of 22 community-based clinics and 3 mobile ones. The success for up-scaling lies in the ability to integrate health care services, human rights and SRHR education into environmental protection activities and policies, taking into account cultural relevance for the Mayan groups – Q’eqchi, Mam, Chuj, Q’anjobal people. The scholarship program in particular has progressively become a multiplier among communities, with empowered young girls actively promoting new models of development.

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Indigenous women designing climate policies in Oaxaca, Mexico.

Desription of project: The Ikoots, Mixe, Mixteca and Zapoteca indigenous communities of Oaxaca State suffer from marginalization. Since 2011, EECO has been working with women in 28 communities to improve their climate resilience, strengthening their participation in local and State policy processes and their leadership on adaptation and mitigation actions. Community centers for refugees and committees involving 3,330 indigenous women have developed self-built eco-technologies for energy, water and sanitation based on ancestral know-how. They provide input in territorial public policies designed by communities, with a gender responsive, intercultural and rights-based approach. This project, already replicated in other states, contributes to tackling climate challenges with an exemplary governance scheme of co-responsibility between government and civil society.

Climate Impact: Women participate in public policy design in Oaxaca, defining specific actions for the State Law and State Climate Change Program initiative. With 1850 self constructed eco-techniques, i.e. fog condensers, water canals and tanks, they rehabilitate ancestral know-how, capture 54 M liters of rainwater per semester, efficiently responding to droughts and frosts that threaten cultures and saving 85% of the crops. 667 dry toilets, 143 biodigesters and 511 efficient stoves have saved 5,903 tons of CO2 and reduced deforestation.

Gender Impact: EECO uses a gender-based approach with risk and vulnerabilities evaluation. They help transforming marginalized indigenous women in grassroots leaders within the spaces of decision-making and local development. The technologies have been adapted to women’s needs and resolve most problems of health, excessive workloads and economic constraints. More than 3,000 women have been trained directly, creating 3 committees for community management and 9 for risk management; today 357 women have endorsed a leading role in their community.

Scalibility: This holistic project started in 8 communities, rapidly expanding to 28, indirectly benefiting 2000 villages in Oaxaca State. Training women leaders gives the knowledge a greater outreach at municipal and state levels. A monitoring and evaluation process ensures steady improvements, leading to references in international forums and attracting the academic world. Pedagogical materials and games have been translated into several languages and creative communication campaigns on social media and radio allow for wide, international  knowledge dissemination.

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Transforming gender relations and turning to sustainable resource use in the Kilum-Ijim Forests of Cameroon

Description of the project: CAMGEW engages local and ethnic women in sustainable forest management, while enhancing their human and socio-economic rights and transforming patriarchal gender relations in the forest communities. Cooperating with Oku local authorities and the government of Cameroon, CAMGEW gives women the opportunity to assume leadership positions of forest institutions and stakeholder platforms. They provide a broad range of trainings to over 2000 people : environmental education for schools and adults, bee farming, agroforestry and organic farming, small livestock breeding and biogas production, entrepreneurship skills with financial assistance. This initiative helps 800 young women fight domestic violence through counseling on their rights, business opportunities and community sensitization to counter early marriages.

Climate impact: Training in agroforestry for 772 community members, two-thirds women, prevents soil erosion and deforestation, while responding to domestic food and firewood needs. Three plant nurseries provided farms at the forest periphery with 150,000 saplings. Forest education was imparted in schools, through social media, radio, social gatherings, men’s clubs. 240 Mbororo women gained skills on organic farming to improve fodder for their cattle and sheep, reducing farmer-grazer conflicts. 900 bee hives donated to farmers guard health of the forest.

Gender impact: CAMGEW has applied gender mainstreaming across all it’s activities: agroforestry and organic farming with cattle breeding, plant nurseries, beekeeping, business skills trainings for 1580 women, incl dressmaking & hairdressing for 20 girls; giving loans to 1325 of them. Counseling 800 victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse -including teenage mothers and HIV/AIDS infected- on their social rights, and empowering them with business skills and advice on nutrition and health, working on legalization of mariages, CAMGEW transforms the gender relations in patriarchal Mbororo communities.

Scalability: The project is a model of constructive cooperation and knowledge sharing with local and national public authorities and a broad range of stakeholders – research institutes, fondations, NGOs- making it replicable and scalable. Train the trainer scheme with use of local experts, enhances continuous learning and sustainability of this model. There are, for example, exchange visits between honey cooperatives, bee farmers and bee farmer groups. The Honeyshop is a demonstration centre for research, learning and marketing.

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Seed balls bombing connect urban with rural women to restore biodiversity in Tamil Nadu

Description of the project: The Seed Ball Project, launched by a women’s welfare association in Chennai, India, is a creative nature-based and social approach to stop deforestation. Trained rural women earn an income in producing seed balls out of gathered seeds and organic compost. Then “seed bombing” actions are carried out in 8 districts by 100 urban girls and women, in carefully selected areas with ideal growing conditions, so the seeds can flourish. Pupils join in throwing seed balls near their school and home during awareness campaigns. The broad public responds very positively to the project and helps to nurture the growing plants.

Climate impact: With a good growth rate the bombed seeds can curtail the effects of deforestation, reducing the carbon footprint, improving the water table and preserving biodiversity. The plant and tree seeds and the types of land and soil are carefully chosen to optimize results in different ecosystems. A tree is estimated to absorb about 22 kg of CO2 in one year. With 1500 seed balls dispersed since 2017, the association calculates that up to 33 tons of CO2 could be absorbed in one year by the grown trees. One variety of selected plants, Tulsi, are fully grown and release oxygen for 20 hours per day. They also have medicinal properties.

Gender impact: This pilot project generated sustainable income sources for 10 rural and 50 urban women. In rural areas, women gain skills in manufacturing and selling organic compost, and in urban settlements, women have learned how to produce wide varieties of seed balls, according to season and soil type, as well as to select adapted ecosystems for seed ball bombing. The beneficiaries have access to jobs and have become economic contributors to their families. These socially active and responsible women have inspired many others to reconstruct a livable space in their community.

Scalability: This project is easy to replicate and upscale, since it is based on a very simple technique with local natural materials, and with minimum human intervention for the seed balls to grow. Sanju Women’s Welfare Association has mobilized school institutions and the general public. The project is currently running at state-level in Tamil Nadu and could be extended in other states, with proper planning and mobilization. A team has been established to follow up on the growing seeds, monitor and report on the impact.

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Miticash- Citizen science

Description of the project: Miticash is a participatory science project which helps women smallholder farmers become citizen agronomists and contribute to climate resilience in drought prone Kenya, using conservation agriculture techniques. 630 women farmers from the arid lands of northeastern Kenya and Boni forest were trained on selecting and growing drought resistant crops, ensuring food security throughout the year for their communities. The project involves men, women, persons with disabilities and children equally in policy planning and implementation. Women assume leadership roles thanks to a train of trainers model, and take part in decision making processes to address the hunger challenges they face due to climate change. Miticash has provided green scholarship to 23 young girls.

Climate impact: With climate adapted crops and sustainable farming, vegetables and fruits grown in their gardens, women farmers reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Farmers also have stopped unsustainable practices like bush clearance or charcoal burning, which contributes to deforestation and environmental degradation. Over 300,000 trees seedlings have been planted in social institutions to encourage children to be nature enthusiasts. 40,000 tree species in the project’s seed bed will be planted to rehabilitate degraded ecosystems.

Gender impact: This initiative has empowered women smallholders, living in patriarchal communities, to be part of climate negotiations at the local or national level. The women are able to grow drought tolerant crops and have food security throughout the year for their family as well as manage all their farm affairs. This project has also given them a chance to own land and understand their rights. Miticash supports the goal of equal access to education by financing tuition fees to 23 vulnerable girls with a green scholarship.

Scalability: Women in the project area take part in 90% of the agricultural production activity but they practice unsustainable agriculture such as shifting cultivation and bush clearing, which contributes to deforestation. Using an approach called train the trainer, women smallholders are divided into groups and they will then choose their group leaders. The group leaders would undergo training and after that they will go back to their own group to train their members. This approach has ensured wider coverage and the same approach could be used to scale up and replicate this project.

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Women lead community actions to restore endangered coast ecosystems on the pacific island Palau

Description of the project : On small islands like Palau ecosystems are connected from ridge to reef, and inland degradation can become a significant threat to freshwater and coastal waters, diminishing the ability of mangroves and coral reefs to protect coasts. The project targets the states of Ngaremlengui and Ngiual in the Babeldaob watershed. Afforestation activities contribute since 2014 to climate change mitigation and adaptation. This is restoring bare land, ensuring water and food security, and guaranteeing mitigation measures for new housing through enhanced services from forest and mangrove ecosystems. This community led project has involved local women’s groups, youth groups, schools and households – over 550 people- for planting 1,117 native trees, 1084 vegetative strips (e.g. lemongrass strip) and ethnobotany trainings.

Climate impact: Ebiil Society’s project creates multiple benefits, increasing ecosystems’ and communities’ resilience to climate change impacts. These benefits include regulation of soil erosion and fertility loss, carbon sequestration, improved local climate, provision of freshwater resources, and restored habitat for various species. Over 2,600 trees and lemongrass were planted to resist floods and sediment runoff. Plants are grown in Ebiil’s plant nursery and distributed to households or bare soil areas at no cost to the community.

Gender impact: 12 women from the community were identified to lead the implementation of watershed restoration plans, promoting the decision making role of women on land and the matrilineal tradition of Palauan society. Access to trainings was guaranteed to women, men, boys and girls, while elderly women were encouraged to participate as carriers and trainers of traditional knowledge. The women’s groups benefited from capacity development programs in ethnobotany, plant collection and propagation, endangered species, sustainable home gardening, soil treatment and tree planting, and erosion control.

Scalability: Tree growth monitoring conducted in collaboration with Oregon State University informs best practices for planting, depending on species, soil and other environmental variables at restoration sites. This helps in scaling up efforts across the watershed. Methods have been refined over time to ensure resilience in poor soil conditions, bird propagation, social and economic value, as well as minimum maintenance. Afforestation and restoration of degraded land can be replicated in other States, as best practices and collected data can inform housing and construction management policies.

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Mayombe’s mamas produce banana chips to fight against deforestation

Project description: ESI Congo works on improving women’s livelihoods in the villages of Loaka and Magne in southwestern Congo while preserving the Mayombe forest. An agroforestry platform was created and is managed by a women’s group; the processing of plantains into banana chips and their sales provide new income to the wives of former hunters, offering a sustainable alternative to poaching. Plantains are provided by former hunters converted to agroforestry in order to curb traditional slash-and-burn farming practices in the forest. The responsible and ethical banana chips’ manufacturing provides a new value chain for plantains that are cultivated by 90% of the households of this area.

Climate Impact: The project is promoting products from local agroforestry in order to avoid felling trees over large areas (25 ha since 2017) for other agricultural purposes. Preserving the forest ensures a reduction in CO2 emissions and protects vital ecological niches, natural home of the great apes. The chip’s manufacturing process follows a comprehensive and environmentally friendly approach including low water consumption ( 50 l. of water for 15 kg of chips) and efficient firewood use of bamboo, an invasive species in this area.

Gender Impact: Women are given the opportunity to access jobs, which are rare for them in this region. They gain financial independence and a place in the local economy. This brings social, economic and environmental benefits for the whole community. Eleven women have received technical and entrepreneurship training; they are consulted in all strategic orientations thanks to horizontal decision-making processes. Their self confidence is being raised and they are encouraged to make active proposals so they can eventually manage the production unit independently.

Scalibility: Local authorities provided political support for this new economic activity, as well as logistical assistance through the donation of land for the chips production unit. The villagers want to increase the production rate in order to integrate more women. This local economic development model, based on ecosystem protection, is replicable in all countries where banana trees are grown and where the socio-cultural context allows to upgrade plantains products.

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