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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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/replicability: 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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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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