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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