Posts Tagged :

climate change

Meet Kaushalya Bisht

530 300 The Hunger Project Australia

Sustainability, Interconnectedness, Decentralisation.

Kaushalya Bisht is an Elected Women Representative from Uttarakhand, India, a remote region at the foothills of the Himalayas. The Hunger Project worked with her to develop the skills she needs to make change for her community as a representative through our SWEEP program (Strengthening Women’s Empowerment through Electoral Processes). As part of this program, The Hunger Project trains Elected Women to read, write, speak and lead the political agenda to improve education, health, and nutrition in their villages.

Uttarakhand is the only state in India where village communities come together to protect and nurture their forests by forming forest councils. The forests are a lifeline for women. They provide wood for them to build their houses, dry wood for fires and fodder for their cattle. Ensuring the sustainability of the forests is crucial for survival in the village.

However, in Kaushalya’s village, they hadn’t held elections for the forest council in 15 years.

“We formed a collective of 30 women and decided to revive the forest elections,” Kaushalya said.

“My team of women patrolled the forests. We didn’t allow anyone to cut down the trees. Together, we planted 100,000 trees. We take care of the forests like we do our own children.”

During her term as an Elected Women Representative, Kaushalya made 45,000 kg of paddy seeds available to the farmers and distributed 300 tree samplings to encourage the people in her village to grow trees. For the women in her village, 80% of their farms are across the other side of the river, which means the women have to walk a long distance to their farms. Kaushalya secured the building of a bridge by taking the matter to her village council. She also took action to prevent soil erosion by building 11 check dams (small dams built to reduce water flow velocity) by the river.

“I want my village to continue thriving.”

Kaushalya continues to shape a legacy of protecting the environment and ensuring sustainable change for future generations in her community.

Invest in women like Kaushalya to bring transformation to villages in India here.

 

Empowering women is more important than ever in the face of climate change

530 300 The Hunger Project Australia

We know that climate change has caused levels of people living in chronic hunger to rise since 2015.

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 accessible.

UN agencies estimate that 80% of people displaced globally due to climate change are women. They have been forced to move due to inhospitable conditions, lack of resources, or conflict resulting from water and food shortages.

Often we can overlook social solutions, such as gender equality, in response to climate change and focus majorly on technological and scientific solutions, such as electric cars. A combination of addressing and utilising both are essential to solving climate change.

Project Drawdown, a global research project which identifies and assesses solutions to climate change, has identified three solutions that stem from improving the rights and wellbeing of women and girls. According to Project Drawdown, addressing the following factors simultaneously has the potential to reduce greenhouse gases pollution by over 100 gigatonnes by 2050. This is equivalent to what the world has produced over the last three years.

Family planning

Ensuring every woman in developing countries has access to family planning not only improves the lives of women and children but also helps tackle climate change. To attain the UN’s population recommendation of 9.7 billion by 2050, family planning is necessary to slow population growth, which will therefore decrease the burden on natural resources.

Education

Educated women have more choices open to them. In developing countries, however, girls face many barriers that stop them from going to school including child marriage, harassment or a lack of facilities at school. When girls are educated they are empowered, this will curb population growth. Education also builds resilience and equips girls with skills to face the challenges that climate change presents.

Agriculture

Women in agriculture face a variety of obstacles and constraints that their male counterparts do not, such as lack of access to training, machinery, and new technology. In developing countries, women in agriculture commonly lack the economic resources and income to invest in agricultural technologies and the knowledge to improve their practices. Providing women in developing countries with greater access to resources and land could produce greater crop and livestock yields, producing more food from the land and reducing pressure for deforestation.

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, invest in more durable homes, utilising The Hunger Project’s Epicentre credit savings programs to build structures that can protect their families against both natural and man-made changes. 

It is more important than ever that we all continue to empower women around the world.

Taking action towards the global goals

530 300 The Hunger Project Australia

Five years ago, world leaders agreed on 17 global goals to be achieved by 2o3o.

Now that it’s 2020, we have one decade left to take action as a collective and achieve the global goals to end poverty, fix inequality and fight climate change.

We will continue focusing on making an impact on hunger and poverty through empowering women, mobilising communities and fostering effective partnerships.

These are just a few examples of how we are working towards the global goals:

  • Zero Hunger — Every program we run with our village partners in Africa, India and Bangladesh is working towards the ultimate goal of ending chronic hunger by 2030. We see people living in hunger as the solution, not the problem, and empower them with the skills, resources and knowledge they need to break the cycle of hunger and poverty themselves through a number of various programs. Find out more about the programs we run here.
  • Gender Equality — One fundamental pillar to our work is empowering women. Studies show that when women are empowered, all of society benefits. When women earn an income, they invest this on their families on things like health, education and food, therefore lifting themselves and their families out of hunger and breaking the cycle for generations to come.
  • Clean Water and Sanitation — Many communities that we work in have limited/no access to fresh water sources or basic sanitation and hygiene facilities. Through our program called WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene), The Hunger Project promote the use of hygiene and sanitation services and are establishing safe water sources across communities and in schools.
  • Quality Education — Education is crucial to create opportunities for everyone. By empowering people with an education, they are mobilised to take action towards creating communities that will one day be self-reliant.The Hunger Project conducts various activities that promote education such as running literacy workshops or conducting workshops about various topics such as finance or nutrition in Africa, training Elected Women Representatives in India so they can create change in their communities, and improving facilities at schools, the negative impact of child marriage and empowering girls to go to school in Bangladesh.
  • Good Health and Wellbeing — All Epicentre buildings in the African communities we work in include a health clinic that provides crucial services to the community. The Hunger Project also runs multiple workshops to promote and improve the health and wellbeing of people, such as nutrition, sex education and HIV/AIDS workshops.

Guided by the goals, it is up to all of us to create a better future for the world.

 

How The Hunger Project is working to combat climate change.

530 300 The Hunger Project Australia

The Hunger Project’s mission is to end hunger by 2030 through sustainable, holistic solutions. Due to climate change, levels of people living in hunger have been on the rise since 2015. Understanding how climate change affects the communities where we work is critical to provide the resources and capacity-building needed to better prepare the communities to respond to climate risks.

Climate change and poverty reduction are intertwined. The vast majority of people in hunger live in rural regions. They rely heavily on agriculture and their well-being closely tied to the natural environment. They are especially vulnerable to extreme weather events like droughts and flooding, which are often exacerbated by climate change. Weather-related events linked to climate change affect food availability in many countries and contribute to the rise in food insecurity. Climate-related events can limit food accessibility and availability through a number of channels. Drought is especially dangerous to communities as it diminishes livestock and agricultural productivity, thus instigating more broadly held grievances.

Improving environmental and climate resilience in rural communities is crucial to our work. We empower the communities we work in with the tools, skills and resources they need to adapt to climate risks and protect their future through our Climate Resilience program. This includes working on environmental sustainability, sustainable agriculture, climate adaption and risk management. These are some of the initiatives that we work on with our village partners.

Promote sustainable farming practices

At our epicentres in Africa, partners create community farms where villagers learn composting, intercropping and other methods to improve crop yields, restore soil fertility and make the best use of scarce resources.

Increase access to sustainable agriculture technology

The Hunger Project provides training and credit, mobilising people to adopt sustainable agricultural technology and practices, and encouraging them to demand agricultural extension services from their government.

Raise awareness of and build capacity to adapt to climate change

In India, The Hunger Project and its partners hold workshops to build our partners’ capacity to exercise leadership, take steps to reduce their vulnerability and formulate strategies to mitigate climate change risks. At the regional and international level, we also advocate for the conservation of natural resources, the mitigation of the harmful effects of extractive industries, and the recovery and promotion of traditional knowledge and technology that is highly adaptable to changing climate conditions.

Facilitate reforestation and tree-planting campaigns

Throughout our program countries, trained village partners establish tree nurseries to reforest their communities and control soil erosion. These can also become entrepreneurial village businesses, supplying families with fruit trees that not only capture carbon but also provide nutrition and income.

Form Climate Committees

Along with training all of our Animators (local volunteer leaders) on climate change in their communities, Climate Committees are formed across our epicentres in Africa. These committees are made up of at least 50% women as well as youth participants who lead activities, promote and create partnerships, support farmers to adapt to changes and help produce and review the communities action plan against climate change.

The communities we work with 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. 

 

How Climate Change is Causing Levels of Hunger to Rise

530 300 The Hunger Project Australia

Despite increased efforts to end hunger by 2030, the amount of people living in chronic hunger has risen since 2015. The number of people living in hunger is now 821 million people, which corresponds to roughly one in nine people. One of the main culprits? Climate change.

When you think about climate change, it brings about images of melting ice caps and barren land. You may not associate it with world hunger.

However, as global warming increases, levels of hunger become more prevalent. Vulnerable communities are the most likely to suffer the effects of climate change. They lack the appropriate resources and skills to adapt and find solutions to its ever-changing effects. Furthermore, as the effects of climate change build, they cause entrenched issues that contribute to chronic hunger and will take sustained effort to reverse. Like chronic hunger, climate change is complex and multi-faceted with numerous effects. It is creating uncertainty about what the future will look like. This makes it difficult to plan and respond to environmental changes.

The UN’s latest annual report shows that the prevalence and number of undernourished people is higher in countries that are also highly exposed to climate extremes. These also tend to be the countries where the majority of the population depends on agricultural systems that rely on rainfall and consistently optimal temperatures, such as African and Latin American countries.

So how exactly does climate change contribute to world hunger?

Global Warming

It’s no surprise that temperatures are rising. The Earth’s global surface temperature in 2018 was the fourth warmest since 1880. This has a direct impact on crop farming. Each crop has an ideal temperature for growth. If the rising temperatures then exceed that optimal temperature, the yield of that crop will decline, causing a decrease in available food. Furthermore, warmer air holds more moisture and can make precipitation more intense. This can directly damage crops, resulting in decreased yields.

Unpredictable Rainfall

Patterns of rainfall are much trickier to predict than temperature. It is this unpredictability of rainfall patterns in the coming years that is making it difficult to detect patterns and adjust agricultural patterns accordingly. Unlike rising temperatures, the effects of climate change on rainfall will depend on the country. Scientists predict that rainfall will become more extreme based on current patterns, so already wet regions will become wetter and dry regions in the subtropics will become even more dry. With rising temperatures increasing the level of precipitation,  it is likely that warmer climates will experience heavier rainfall, however this will come in less frequent, more intense weather events. This could lead to more flooding and longer dry spells, both which have the potential to damage farms.

Extreme Weather Events

The UN have identified extreme weather events such as droughts, floods and heatwaves as key drivers in causing levels of hunger to rise. Like the unpredictability of rainfall, as the climate reacts in a way that hasn’t been seen before, it is difficult to predict weather patterns in different areas. Whilst developed countries are far more equipped to respond to weather crisis’, a natural disaster is a huge burden on developing countries that may not have the adequate resources and funding to respond to the damage. Responding to a weather crisis takes a toll on the resources that families and communities may have been building to help pull themselves out of hunger, as they now have to direct these to the new problem at hand.

Rise of market costs

As a roll-on effect of rising temperatures, erratic rainfall and extreme weather, produce is taking more resources to grow. As such, this might mean a higher cost when it does finally get to the market stall. If food becomes more scarce, it will become more of a valuable resource, and therefore less accessible to those who need it most.

The solution?

We can still reach our goal of zero hunger by 2030 if we take urgent action on climate change and continue to educate and empower the people living in hunger to create their own solutions to these complex problems. That’s is exactly what we do at The Hunger Project — find sustainable and holistic solutions to end hunger. Find out more about how we work and invest in a sustainable end to hunger.