Climate change affects women and men of different ages in often very distinctive ways. For example, women and youth are 14 times more likely die during natural disasters. In rural regions their livelihoods are more likely to be dependent on the natural resource base, highly vulnerable to a changing climate. Furthermore, women and youth are more likely to encounter obstacles to accessing resources, information, skills and knowledge. Despite this added vulnerability, they are often excluded from the key decision-making forums determining how such climate challenges should be overcome.
Incorporating their perspectives and priorities is thus essential to ensuring socially just and effective climate action.
In recognition of these critical challenges, the Climate Justice Resilience Fund (CJRF) has provided support to the Strengthening Women and Youth Voices for Climate Action in Tanzania project, the aim being to help women and youth engage with and influence climate policy, planning, budgeting and investments. This support has allowed us to develop two participatory toolkits, which give equal weight to all voices in a community. This toolkit can be used in rural communities where livelihoods are dominated by rain-fed farming and livestock keeping.
The other toolkit has been designed to be used by local cooperatives and the organisations that support them (see ‘Pamoja Voices Climate Resilience Planning Toolkit - To Support Inclusive Climate-Resilience Planning for Cooperatives’). The toolkits help identify the priorities of women, men, boys and girls in terms of overcoming gender constraints and climate challenges, as well as determining collective solutions.
In doing so, they encourage dialogue that can inform more inclusive decision making, better long- and short-term planning, and more effective adaptation responses to a changing climate. These action plans can be supported and implemented through local and national governments, non-governmental organisation (NGO) interventions, and the local cooperatives and community members themselves.
Thus, communities and their representatives are placed at the very centre of the development process.
In KiSwahili, pamoja means ‘together’. We have therefore named our toolkits ‘Pamoja Voices’, as they aim to bring together voices from different groups — particularly the most marginalised — in order to consider their climate change adaptation choices. The Pamoja Voices toolkits are targeted at organisations and communities with little formal training or experience of building local climate resilience, ‘gender transformative’ approaches, or community planning.
They combine gender and governance analyses with climate risk assessments, in a practical step-bystep guide available in both English and KiSwahili.
The toolkits have been tested in two rural areas in Tanzania: among pastoralist and agro-pastoralists in Northern Tanzania and local producer cooperatives in Zanzibar. This has demonstrated the flexibility of the toolkits’ methods, showing how they can be easily applied across a variety of rural contexts.
The development of these toolkits would not have been possible without the valuable direction, guidance and leadership of communities in Longido and Mondulo districts in Tanzania and Pemba and Unguja islands in Zanzibar. These toolkits are dedicated to them.