Rural Tajik women implementing the Sustainable Development Goals of Agenda2030

Description of the project
WECF and Youth Ecological Center (YEC) empower Tajik rural women groups to boost the energy transition and agro-ecology in their villages. 155 women and 11 men from 4 rural organizations participated in technical trainings on sustainable water and sanitation, organic agriculture, homemade efficient stoves and solar technologies. Greenhouses allow farmers to grow vegetables and fruit seedlings and protect crops from climate impacts. Thanks to WECF’s Women2030 training tools used by YEC, the women gained knowledge on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and contributed to writing a shadow report on SDG implementation in Tajikistan, making gender focused policy recommendations in national consultation meetings. YEC and WECF encourage the rural women to create their own enterprise for a sustainable local economy.

Climate impact
Tajikistan’s forest cover has been halved in 50 years, due to heavy use of fuel wood. Coal production is planned to increase tenfold by 2030. 90 % of the soil surface is degraded. Transition to safe renewable energy and food production lacks institutional and financial support. This project develops accessible and affordable renewable energy technologies and organic farming skills for rural populations. Improved stoves, ecological insulation and solar water heaters help reduce CO2 emissions by 1ton per household per year, while solar greenhouses contribute to energy transition.

Gender impact
Gender stereotypes and traditional gender roles still prevail in Tajikistan. Discrimination in the labor market is strong, with most women being informally employed in agriculture. The project empowers women via technical trainings in innovative energy and agricultural technologies. With the acquired skills they gain a greater social status and become role models for others. Furthermore, their new revenues improve their financial independence and allow them to participate in local and national governance.

Scalability
Linking practical trainings with policy processes and boosting the emergence of a sustainable local economy is a good basis for up-scaling. YEC and WECF enable women groups from different villages to exchange their experience and learn from each other, as well as to actively contribute to transition policies. Tutorial videos have been produced to disseminate the technologies further. The technical equipment is designed on site and materials are locally sourced, so that the women can easily pass on their skills and competences to others.

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Women smallholders mango farming enterprises as resilience strategy

Description of the project
This project strengthens the resilience of 6,000 smallholder farmers and rural communities through the sustainable production and transformation of high quality, drought resistant green mango varieties into mango achaar. Hebron Mango Tree Owner Primary and Vhembe Agro-Processing Cooperatives are building the capacity of women smallholder farmers to create their own enterprise and diversify their income sources outside the mango season. These enterprises will be developed with participatory methodologies to ensure a gender-responsive implementation of viable, culturally appropriate and marketable diversified activities.

Climate impact
The project improves the climate resilience of grassroots communities as they breed drought adapted fruit trees and develop local sustainable product transformation based on an inclusive business model. Furthermore, the creation of diversified enterprises ensures the use of a wide variety of crops, thus contributing to preserving the local biodiversity. Farmers are trained to use rainwater-harvesting techniques and to manage accurate weather monitoring systems, to adapt to severe climate impacts.

Gender impact
In order to close the gender gap in the communities, women are empowered to possess undisputed knowledge in organic farming methods, irrigation technologies and mango processing. They also gain strong leadership and entrepreneurship skills via trainings on basic financial management, governance and marketing strategy. They benefit from the cooperative model that facilitates access to markets and the value chain. The project brings women to the forefront in the fight against climate change, poverty and inequality.

Scalability
Provincial and local authorities are actively involved and the private sector as off-takers of the mango products plays a key role in ensuring scalability of this initiative, which can contribute to South Africa’s National Adaptation Strategy and Green Economy Strategy, especially in terms of innovation and job creation. The objective is to extend to other regions of the country and further strengthen the domestic mango value chains with a social and gender-responsive philosophy.

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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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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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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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Women cooperative preserving the Kinyara forest through bee farming and sustainable agriculture

Description of the project: The Budongo women bee cooperative generates income for 200 rural women affected by HIV living in the sugarcane area of Kinyara. The project develops organic honey production and sustainable agriculture as an alternative to sugarcane monoculture that deplete forests. Since 2012 the cooperative has produced over 1 ton of honey, trained more than 100 women and men in sustainable agriculture and modern bee farming practices, saved more than 15,000 ha of forest from monoculture encroachment, created jobs for over 50 women locally and in district authorities. The project is conducted in cooperation with the National Forest Authority.

Climate Impact: The project’s sustainable land and forest management has preserved 15000 ha of forest from depletion, and improved carbon sequestration through the plantation of 5000 indigenous trees. Additionally,the cooperative has developped energy saving cookstoves (2000 pieces locally contructed) which significantly reduces CO2 emissions. Enabling improved food production among the farmers provides a sustainable alternative to the dominant sugarcane monocultures in the Kinyara forest.

Gender Impact: Safeplan Uganda and Budongo cooperative have empowered over 400 women affected by HIV in 4 sub-districts, sharing skills on energy saving and sustainable agriculture. 80 women have received training on sustainable bee-farming and started sustainable honey production generating revenues of up to $400 yearly. Women, men and youths have worked together to support rural women’s empowerment through participatory approach.

Scalability /replicability: The project is scalable to other areas because the Bee Enterprise supports its members with inputs at a lower cost than the operational and production costs. The lead agency Safeplan Uganda assists women and communitiy leaders in re-organizing groups into self-management structures. All project partners also provide technical support with equipment and capacity building for staff or group leaders.

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Women agricultural cooperatives ensuring sustainable livelihoods in climate and armed conflict impacted territories

Description of the project: By promoting collective, sustainable models of agriculture, the project supports the climate-resilient livelihood of food insecure women who have been dependent on humanitarian aid. The project has been successful in improving the climate and overall resilience of over 18,900 individuals in 26 communities in Palestine. This has been achieved by enabling 35 CBOs, out of which 24 are women’s rural cooperatives, to better respond to their communities’ food and water needs while facing climate change under territorial occupation.

Climate Impact: Due to climate change and armed conflict, small-scale farmers in Palestine are in a vulnerable position in terms of resilience and subsistence. UAWC’s implements sustainable, climate resilient agriculture: the seed bank assists cooperatives in selecting drought resistant crops; they also implement water management and compost systems, green roofs, trainings on organic food production. By supporting CBOs to re-cultivate this land UAWC helps them adapt to climate change and protect their settlements.

Gender Impact: Women’s participation in the Palestinian labor force is 17%, the lowest in the Arab world. This project has drastically improved women’s influence in Palestine’s local economy and policymaking. With their food products, women have found an avenue for participating and voicing their opinions in their households, and also in the economic and public sphere. Empowerment is ensured by regular trainings and skill sharing. 24 of the 35 CBOs involved in the project are women’s CBOs.

Scalability /replicability: The project builds the capacity of local communities so they can maintain their operations beyond the duration of the project’s lifetime. This has been achieved through UAWC’s local partnerships and by putting the priorities of the CBOs at the centre of the project. CBOs have been supported in establishing field schools and demonstration plots to spread good practices and provide on-site training. The project could be replicated with expectedly positive results.

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Agro-ecological women cooperatives ensure food sovereignty in drought threatened areas

Description of the project: Facing increasing droughts and water scarcity, inland areas in Senegal need to preserve food sovereignty through climate resilient and sustainable agriculture. The Afrika Mandela Ranch is an ecological farm school which also hosts an elementary school. Through a cooperative of women from surrounding villages (Mbondy, Kalassan, Keer Saer), it implements agroecology and income generating food production for women. Focusing on local natural resources and preserving the ambient eco-system, the project fights erosion by planting trees and increasing soil fertility.

Climate Impact: The women agricultural cooperative supported by Mandela Ranch rebuilds the socio-environmental ecosystem with fruit plantations and agroforestry (planting trees around vegetable crops). The trees absorb CO2, reduce soil erosion and ecosystem degradation by regenerating and fertilizing unproductive soils. The crop diversification helps mitigating and adapting to climate change. This projects enables more sustainable returns with increased revenues for women and enhances sustainable development at local level.

Gender Impact: The creation of a women’s cooperative has led to sustainable economic development for women and the community. Women have been trained on agro-ecological skills and product transformation: processing of fruit, vegetables and plants with small production lines. The project includes literacy courses on income generating activities, thus fostering women’s economic autonomy and emancipation Through the positive results – well-being and better child nutrition – social cohesion in the community has improved.

Scalability /replicability: The Afrika Mandela Ranch runs an elementary school for children of the neighbouring villages, ensuring that pupils integrate and replicate climate-resilient behaviour in their daily life. This sustainable ranch model, combining children’s education, capacity building for women and ecological, healthy local food production, can be replicated in many countries.

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Empowering women’s groups in disaster prone areas through community based sustainable water management

Description of the project: The Gemawang, Kaloran & Temmangung districts in Central Java are threatened by water scarcity and landslides due to deforestation. This project empowers women’s groups to identify and implement adaptation strategies within their communities. The women conduct field assessment and feasibility studies with village authorities and water experts and select appropriate water management technologies to adapt to a changing environment. They use water saving solutions, water infiltration techniques and ecological sanitation, thus improving livelihoods in their communities.

Climate Impact: Massive deforestation in the Central Java area has significantly reduced groundwater supply and led to a severe drought. The changing function of the forest has also caused serious damage to the land and increased the risk of landslide. The women’s groups and people in the sub-villages have worked together to develop sustainable water management systems, preserve important old trees and re-plant young trees around the water sources to prevent landslide, as well as maintaining water supply through infiltration and preserving a balanced ecosystem. These measures are effective climate adaptation strategies.

Gender Impact: The project was initiated by women. The women’s groups are actively involved in decisions on water management technology and they do advocacy both at local and regional level. 10 members of the women’s group Muncar Lor’s were involved in the regional authority’s field assessment on water. Gender equality is also strengthened by income generating activities through the sale of water technology. This new income can be used for maintaining facilities, setting up social funds, and ensuring self-development.

Scalability /replicability: Replicability is ensured by the use of Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) in identifying capacity and vulnerability of the community. Scalability can be reached by an organized structure within the women’s groups, with three members acting as main coordinators (head, secretary, and treasurer). Capacity building is conducted via trainings.

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