COVID + Climate Resilience
In partnership with Avaaz, WEA’s Global COVID + Climate Relief, Recovery, and Resilience program is working with thousands of grassroots women leaders to address the immediate needs of millions of people and to implement solutions for long-term resilience. Through the program, leaders are distributing life-saving supplies, securing vulnerable women’s immediate health and safety needs, building knowledge and skills via grassroots women’s networks, and creating resilient support systems for the future. The program is being implemented in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Congo, Nigeria, and Nicaragua.
Goals of the COVID + Climate program are:
1) Keeping people alive and safe through emergency relief distribution to the most vulnerable via grassroots women's networks in priority regions. This includes:
- protective equipment like masks and hand sanitizer to enable women to safely engage outside of their homes
- reproductive health supplies
- food provisions
- safe water and sanitation
- productive assets like climate-resilient seeds and tools to re-establish and bolster women’s livelihoods
2) Creating long-term community resilience by launching food, water, health, and livelihoods solutions. Through WEA’s signature model, we are resourcing and networking with grassroots women leaders regionally and across regions. Women-led Resilience Initiatives are generating health, economic, social, and environmental impacts that grow beyond immediate needs. Trainees are building skills, networks, and assets to design and implement community-led Resilience Initiatives such as:
- tree nurseries for food supply, erosion control, and income
- clean cookstoves to improve health, increase household savings, and reduce deforestation
- seed banks to store indigenous seeds that are flood and drought resistant, reduce food insecurity, and that generate income
- water filter microenterprises that end water-borne illnesses and generate women’s livelihoods
Our partners on-the-ground are creating impact across the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) including:
In Nigeria, long time WEA partner Women’s Initiative for Sustainable Environment (WISE) is providing food relief to the most vulnerable families in Kaduna State and neighboring states by directly engaging the leaders of local groups and communities to channel food relief items to their localities. The COVID lockdown has been catastrophic to vulnerable communities in northern Nigeria, where only 24% of households have access to basic services like electricity, water and sanitation. WISE is running a food and health relief program to distribute essential food and medicines to 6,000+ poor and food insecure households across Kaduna State. They have established a Food Hub to address long-term food security issues. WISE is also training women to be first responders to reach another 7,500 people with critical food and health supplies and to design and implement long-term solutions to climate and health crises. WISE uses mass SMS text messages to communicate information regarding preventative measures.
In Kenya, communities are facing the threats of COVID-19 and acute climate shocks like heavy rains and flooding, including food insecurity, displacement, and loss of livelihoods. Long time WEA partner Women in Water and Natural Resource Conservation (WWANC) is activating its network of 150 Self Help Groups (SHGs) and building distribution channels to provide emergency food, supplies, and sanitation and hygiene packages to vulnerable households and evacuees who are now living in local schools for shelter, reaching 42,000 people. WWANC is also providing life-saving Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) services to the 58,000 people, focusing on safe water, face masks, and hand washing by employing its network of trained women WASH masons and builders to construct storage tanks, biosand water filters, “tippy-tap” water stations, VIP toilets, and rainwater harvesting systems. In addition, WWANC is building the capacity of grassroots women leaders to design and implement community resiliency solutions to the COVID and climate crises, solutions like tree planting, clean cookstoves, seed saving, and climate-smart agriculture. These interventions are designed to keep communities afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic and create lasting solutions to climate and health crises.
Soap making tutorial during a training in Busia County, Kenya, in December 2020. The training was led by 2019 Kenya Accelerator Alliance Leaders, Rose Udoto, Salome Wambecha, and Nancy Wabwire.
Democratic Republic of Congo
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, WEA is partnering with Alerte Congolaise pour l’Environnement et les Droits de l’Homme (ACEDH), an organization led by indigenous human rights lawyers who grew up in the very communities they represent. ACEDH works with a community of 36,000 landless people, often overlooked by the government, to facilitate their participation in advocacy and protect their basic rights. The COVID + Climate program is instrumental in providing basic food and medical supplies to these 36,000 people, as well as working with the community to address their chronic climate and food insecurity challenges through women-led grassroots solutions for long-term resilience.
In Tanzania, Association for Law and Advocacy for Pastoralists (ALAPA) works with 120 indigenous tribes, including pastoralists and hunter-gatherers. Some of the most endangered Indigenous Tanzanian tribes including the Maasai, Hadzabe, D’toga, are isolating themselves in order to protect their communities from COVID-19. ALAPA is delivering basic food and medical supplies requested by tribes via trucks to 2,500 Indigenous people living in highly-remote and marginalized regions in Tanzania, and identifying ways to address climate and food insecurity in the long term with communities that are losing their traditional livelihoods of hunting or herding cattle due to land encroachment.
In Nicaragua, the Center for Justice and Human Rights on the Atlantic Coast of Nicaragua (CEJUDHCAN) is working with Indigenous Miskito communities to defend indigenous land rights, train Miskito women in bio-intensive agriculture, and provide critical food security. Through the COVID + Climate program, CEJUDHCAN, composed of Indigenous leaders on the frontlines of these challenges, is providing critical food and medical aid to already strained Miskitu and other Indigenous Nicaraguan communities as they fight an armed land grab and apathetic government. The program is serving 25,000 people in 21 communities, across 4 local government districts.