Getting to work on climate – CHANGE

Description of the project: CHANGE trains women with degrees from non-German universities to become climate advocates. The project enables highly qualified women with a migration background to be integrated into future-oriented careers and strengthens their influence in dealing with the impacts of climate change. They get to know the affected sectors, become aware of their professional and personal resources, and learn how to use them in their future professional field. Integrated technical and language learning improves their communication at work. Workshops on self-presentation, conflict management, and reconciling family and career prepare them for their roles as force multipliers in companies and communities.

Climate impact: Women from diverse cultural backgrounds are qualified to take responsibility for the future, to comprehend social, economic, and ecological developments, and to shape their professional activities accordingly. They are empowered to develop visions to face the changes caused by climate change. They bring with them indispensable experiences and perspectives from their countries of origin, which serve as important contributions to interdisciplinary solutions for climate adaptation and protection.

Gender impact: For LIFE, gender equality and equal opportunity mean the empowerment of women and girls as outlined in the SDG 5. We support women from all cultures in their professional development and offer customized information relevant to the labor market, career counseling, and integrated language support. In the CHANGE project, these principles are placed in the context of climate change in order to qualify women as mentors for climate change adaptation and to promote gender equality.

Scalability / replicability: The project represents a synergy of the local requirements for climate adaptation in the city of Berlin with the resources and experiences from the participants’ countries of origin, where climate change sometimes presents completely different challenges. This model is promising for the future due to its global approach, by countering climate change impacts through local measures that have grown out of experiences in diverse cultural contexts. In this way, learning outcomes from the global South and the global North intertwine.

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Not without us! Climate and gender justice in international climate politics

Description of the project: “Not without us” was launched in 2017 to promote the integration of gender justice in international climate policies and within the global climate justice movement. The aim is to support selected activists and gender experts from environmental groups and women’s organizations from Ecuador, South Africa and Indonesia in their attempts to connect local struggles for climate and gender justice with the UNFCCC process, enabling networking with other actors. As ‘multipliers’ they will also be able to translate the international climate discourse back into their own organizations and local contexts.

Climate impact: National and international climate policies have proven to be more effective when gender is taken into account. In their respective communities, the participants are dedicated to different topics such as forest, agriculture, etc. On the international level, they have identified the corresponding focal topics where their local issues are negotiated. By participating in events and discussions, the women advocate for gender just climate solutions and showcase local examples of best practice.

Gender impact: Selected female activists are empowered to advocate for gender justice in their local contexts, as well as in national and international spheres. Additionally, the project aims at identifying the impacts of international climate policies on gender relations at local level. It addresses the lack of data on gender and climate change. Local stakeholder workshops, networking and exchange within and among organisations have increased awareness and knowledge about gender, climate change and UNFCCC.

Scalability / replicability: The project can increase outreach to a wider range of stakeholders within the target countries and their communities, thus, potentializing inter-organisational learning. It can also be scaled up to cover more participants from other countries. Both developing and developed countries should be taken into account, as skill-sharing within the global South and between global South and global North is a co-benefit. Webinars and trainings can be replicated globally.

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More than just green – towards a low-carbon and just economy

Description of the project: A sustainable economy respecting the planetary boundaries, based on human needs, global justice and gender equality must be part of the solutions to combat the climate crisis. Women’s business and start-ups play a progressive role in dealing with these problems. Most of them are small or micro-enterprises, like 96% of all enterprises in Germany are. Yet, while many want to manage their enterprises in a sustainable, fair and caring way, they often don’t know how, particularly given the often limited time and financial resources available in their small business. The project supports these women entrepreneurs in becoming pioneers for an economy that cares for the people and the planet.

Climate Impact: In order to combat climate change it is fundamental to change our current production and consumption patterns. Sustainable economy is more than an ecological modernisation of production, resource efficiency or new technologies. It has to acknowledge care-work as such and the principles of care as the basis for all our economic activities. And it has to address the issue of sufficiency. In this understanding, the economy is part of a far-reaching socio-ecological transformation. Entrepreneurs and start-ups have substantial responsibility as well as opportunities to actively contribute to a just, fair and sustainable future. They are crucial for a transition towards a zero carbon society by reducing drastically the carbon footprints of their enterprises itself and by offering real alternatives for consumers.

Gender Impact: The project supports women entrepreneurs in contributing to a sustainable, fair and in particular a caring economy. Given the situation that it is still mainly women caring for children, elderly or sick persons it provides information, guidance and good practices on how to manage an enterprise in a way that helps to reduce these double burdens for the women entrepreneurs themselves as well as for their employees. By advocating for a business model that is based on caring for others, for nature and for future generations a good life for all is envisioned. The project is implemented in cooperation with the women’s entrepreneur centre WeiberWirtschaft eG., who are nominated for the “startup4climate”-award for their consultancy-activities for women startups concerning both, resource-efficiency and social aspects and fairness.

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Windfang: A women‘s cooperative that projects, builds and runs wind turbines

Description of the project: We are the first (and only) women run and operated energy cooperative in Germany. In 1991, a group of women studying engineering and natural sciences decided they wanted to contribute more to the energy transition than just protesting and discussions. They decided to build their own wind turbine on a family property in stormy Dithmarschen. And, they wanted to do it themselves, without men. Twenty-four years later, Windfang owns eleven wind turbines and three solar plants. In 2014, Windfang’s first 2.5 MW turbine was installed, increasing Windfang’s renewable electricity generation to more than 11 000 MW hours/year and, as a result enabled our cooperative to pay more than a 4%return on investment to our associates.

Climate Impact: The goal of our cooperative is the production of environmentally friendly, sustainable energy. Every woman who buys a share therefore supports an ecologically just project. Altogether, our decentralized power stations supply approximately 3,140 households with renewable energy, thereby avoiding 8,280 tonnes of CO2 emissions. Due to our local contacts and our lean organization, we work highly efficiently with a low input of resources. When starting a new project, environmental integrity is ensured – e.g. by avifaunistical (bird and mammal) impact assessment studies and by ecological compensatory measures. Additionally, a renewable energy plant can be fully dismantled at the end of its life cycle, in contrast to coal fired or nuclear power plants.

Gender Impact: Our cooperative enables women to participate in technical and strategic fields which are – even in the alternative sector – usually led by men. All bodies of our cooperative are occupied by women who are responsible for the technical management, the commercial management and the finances of our power plants. In our general assembly, all 300 associates decide on the further development of the cooperative and the usage of the profit democratically. With a return on our investment, the work does not add additional burden to our board members‘ workload, since they are no longer working voluntarily. Being associates, women use the opportunity to make their own investments; and through them they influence the energy market. We find our own women-specific solutions to climate change and bring in our creativity and multi-dimensional skills.

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