Climate Change at The Hunger Project
Climate change has emerged as one of the most pressing issues of the 21st century. Severe variations in temperature are being felt all around the world, the results of which are already having drastic effects on the lives of vulnerable members of at-risk communities. On the African continent, climate change is likely to increase food insecurity as a result of changing water levels and to endanger health more generally through the creation of conditions hospitable to both the spread of infectious diseases and climate-related illnesses, like heat stroke or skin cancer.
The FAO predicts that in 2080 it is likely that up to 75% of the African population will be at risk of hunger due to climate change, and that by 2030, the African continent will lose ⅔ of its arable land.
Women are likely to feel the effects of climate change and reduced supply even more profoundly than their male counterparts as social conditions force them to accept less of diminishing resources.
As the primary providers of food and water, (especially during the dry season when men leave to work in urban areas) rural women will be forced to walk further to collect supplies for their families as water becomes less and less accessible. UN agencies estimate that 80% of people displaced globally due to climate change are women, who have been forced to move due to inhospitable conditions, lack of resources, or conflict resulting from water and food shortages. However, with the proper adaptive techniques communities can learn to adjust to the new realities of their environments while working to lessen the impact of climate change.
Rural populations already have a low environmental impact as compared to urban ones, and small changes can go a long way in adjusting to new conditions. Women in Ethiopian villages, for example, have already started investing in more durable homes, utilising The Hunger Project epicentre credit savings programmes to build structures that can protect their families against both natural and man-made shocks. Similarly, The Hunger Project workshops in Uganda have focused on diversifying farming techniques, in order to adapt to traditional practices increasing infeasibility as the climate shifts. These communities have proven their resilience in the face of harsh conditions time and time again, and equipped with the right tools will continue to do so.
In the hopes of assisting this effort, The Hunger Project has added an additional goal to the Epicentre Strategy in Africa aimed specifically at combating climate change.
In eight countries of Africa, our Epicentre Strategy mobilises clusters of rural villages into “epicentres,” which band together 5,000-15,000 people to create a dynamic centre where communities are mobilized for action to meet their basic needs. This strategy is designed to partner with communities over a period of about eight years after which they graduate to a phase of “sustainable self-reliance,” which means that communities have shown the confidence, capacity and skills to act as agents of their own development.
Goal 9 seeks to “Improve Environmental and Climate Resilience in Rural Communities.” This goal was created with SDG 13, to “take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts” in mind, and it draws more specifically from the three goal targets:
- To strengthen resilience, improve adaptive capacity
- Climate change awareness and education
- Focus on marginalised populations.
Through the implementation of Goal 9, The Hunger Project seeks to provide tools to community partners; create partnerships that can serve as resources for local communities as well as provide technical expertise; provide educational workshops in order to improve awareness about climate change itself and possible solutions; and to create better tools in order to understand and track The Hunger Project impact in the fight against climate change.
The Hunger Project’s programme will focus on:
1) establishing a climate committee at the epicentre that includes women, men, youth, and farmers, who will take the lead on decision making on this topic
2) providing various workshops on adaptation, waste management, climate and agriculture and other relevant topics
3) support the community on doing a vulnerability assessment and prepare an action plan to determine what is needed to improve their resilience and reduce their impact.
All this work will be achieved through partnerships with local government, as well as other stakeholders who can provide the needed support to build a strong community
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