Women Overlooked in African Climate Change Projects

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"The links between large institutions administering the funds and the people on the ground are missing."

Guardian, Kristin Palitza

women africa climate change

Of the millions of dollars spent on climate change projects in developing countries, little has been allocated in a way that will benefit women. Yet, in Africa, it is women who will be most affected by climate change.

According to United Nations data, about 80% of the continent's smallholder farmers are women. While they are responsible for the food security of millions of people, agriculture is one of the sectors hardest hit by climate change.

The Climate Investment Funds (CIF), established by the World Bank in cooperation with regional multilateral development banks, provide funding for developing countries' climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts.

Since their launch in 2008, the CIF have allocated 6.5 billion dollars to climate change projects in 45 developing countries. More than a third of the money went to 15 African states.

Only 30% is being spent on small-scale projects that directly benefit poor, rural communities and thereby potentially improve women's livelihoods.

"The links between large regional institutions that administer the funds and the people on the ground who need to access them are missing," says Ange Bukasa, who runs investment facilitation organization Chezange Connect in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Mafalda Duarte, climate finance coordinator at the African Development Bank (AfDB), says there is a particular focus on financing off-the-grid energy technologies that will improve the lives of women and girls, because they are still lumped with the burden of fetching wood and water in rural communities.

The funds will go towards solar energy projects, improved cooking stoves, sustainable forestry projects, solar-powered irrigation as well as water storage and heating systems.

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