On the frontline of climate change

Because they are the managers of natural resources; women are leaders, and therefore should not be left out of critical decision-making processes.

Women need equal rights to land and resources.
Women need equal rights to land and resources.

The CSW conference is discussing how the condition of women can be improved in the face of worsening climate change impacts ranging from drought to environmental degradation and subsequently, poor crop yields.

It is believed that globally, only five percent of agricultural extension services are provided for women farmers. The Rural Women Assembly highlighted at 2011’s COP 17 that women are mostly confronted with the problem of accessing water and lack of modern knowledge of how to adapt to new harsh climatic conditions and weather patterns.

As argued by the RWA, a number of factors are necessary to better the condition of rural women in the face of climate change, for instance equal rights to land and natural resources.

Secondly, as women produce 80 percent of the food consumed by households in Africa, financial support for women farmers has to correspond with their numbers. Thirdly, African governments should see an end to false climate solutions that only result in environmental deterioration.

However, outside these wider concerns, there are a number of successful initiatives that women in African communities have embarked on.

Women’s forte

According to Development Reality Institute (DRI) Programme Coordinator,SikaAhawo, managing and conserving nature has proven to be the forte of women rather than men all over the world.

“Women are often in contact with the natural environment; they source and produce the food, firewood, water and medicinal herbs. Forest conservation and other climate change actions should therefore seriously involve women. They would do it even if there were no direct financial benefits because they stand to benefit or lose the most from the environment,” she said.

Some great women like the late Professor WangariMaathai went down the annals of history having started an ambitious project called the Green Belt Movement to halt the advancement desertification by creating a green wall from Dakar to Djibouti.

To reduce the amount of wood used for fuel, many organisations in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and the greater parts of West Africa have started encouraging the use of energy efficient stoves in rural and even urban areas. Zimbabwe has recently picked up on this trend, making use of the tsotso stove, which is made of argil and uses less firewood. Women cooperatives have started producing and selling them in their communities.

According to DRI, women in other countries are also experimenting with biogas digesters and methane fuelled stoves equipped with digesters that transform livestock or human waste into methane. Such technologies can be owned by every woman and are very cost effective.

Post published in: News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *