Voices from Nepal: Promoting Women’s Climate Leadership

Aug 4th, 2014 | By | Category: Nepal

Women_from_Nepal-300x213The magnitude of the problem of climate change and environmental degradation in a mountainous and developing country like Nepal is very alarming.

Rapid population growth and its consequent effect on over-exploitation of the depleting resources, migration, soil erosion, poor infrastructure, and ecological degradation is taking place everywhere in Nepal.

Low economic strength, inadequate infrastructure, low level of social development and education, lack of institutional capacity, and higher dependency on the natural resource base makes the country vulnerable to change.

Tewa, a Nepali women’s fund gives grants to organized groups of women all over Nepal, promoting local community philanthropy in the process. Our grantees live in very diverse sociocultural environments.

However, one thing they have in common is that they face discrimination at all levels—in their homes, at work, in their communities. As a result, women’s status remains, generally, much lower than that of men.

Nepali women face climate threats

Recently in Nepal, we are reading and witnessing more news about natural disasters like floods and landslides that have affected many communities.

We at Tewa realized that while climate change impacts everyone, it will have a major impact on the women of Nepal, who depend upon natural resources for their livelihoods.

In communities that rely on their environments to provide basic food, water, and energy resources, the impacts of climate change can be harmful. Women who walk for long hours to fetch water and firewood will be directly affected.

Too much or too little water can destroy crops and force migration. Communities are not prepared for any disaster, whether man-made or natural.

Yet communities that mostly rely on natural resources can be equipped to adapt to changes if given proper orientation, training and information and can also serve as powerful entities to mitigate future climate impacts.

 

Promote resiliency, support women

Tewa’s focus is on women, and we felt that if we focus on climate change and environment it would benefit a lot of our grantees.

Women, as the primary users of their communities’ natural resources, can play a very effective role in bolstering their communities’ resiliency while also reducing future climate impacts by acting as catalysts.

Women’s role in management of natural resources has become even more important because due to lack of employment locally, hordes of young men are heading to Middle East and far-east countries for employments. In many villages there are only old parents, very young children and women. That has left women with added roles in managing home as well as the farms.

Therefore, women should be made capable and enabled to responsibly manage their resources and renew their environments to develop sustainable communities.

 

Tewa’s plan to support women climate leaders

Through our grants, we plan to support women to engage in sustainable development initiatives that will enable them to understand and develop ways to cope with the hardships and opportunities given by their immediate environment.

  • Capacity building through peer learning. Tewa staff would learn and expand their learning horizon through an interaction program with experts in the field of environment and development, the adverse effects that affect lives, societies and communities, especially women.
  • Strengthening the capacity of the grantees. Introduce a natural resource module workshop with a focus on gender, rights, and conservation to our grantees in the districts, where we show and demonstrate a link between development and environment protection, climate change and its adverse effects on families, income generation and livelihoods.Enable women and communities to restore and secure their resources while also equipping them in climate change adaptation and mitigation. With a focus on women’s unique roles and the environmental drivers of vulnerability we will be able to more effectively reduce violence against women, migration, trafficking, and ensure both secure communities and environments.
  • Leveraging additional resources through community philanthropy. A fundraising event is planned, a tree plantation in and around a community space which is vulnerable but can be used as a model. Communities involved in philanthropy can use their resources and have a lasting impact for securing safe spaces for future generations.This type of fundraising activity, tied with broader impactful objectives, will add more value to our fundraising initiative thereby increasing motivations and will be a tool for advocacy toward nature conservation and its impact in our lives.

When women are empowered to be stewards of their environments, as is the case with other development issues like advocacy for voice and visibility, they can create significant change.

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About

Started in year 2010, ‘Climate Himalaya’ initiative has been working on Mountains and Climate linked issues in the Himalayan region of South Asia. In the last five years this knowledge sharing portal has become one of the important references for the governments, research institutions, civil society groups and international agencies, those have work and interest in the Himalayas. The Climate Himalaya team innovates on knowledge sharing, capacity building and climatic adaptation aspects in its focus countries like Bhutan, India, Nepal and Pakistan. Climate Himalaya’s thematic areas of work are mountain ecosystem, water, forest and livelihood. Read>>

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