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INCREASING EFFICIENCY AND RESILIENCE OF
CLIMATE CHANGE MITIGATION AND
ADAPTATION BY EMPOWERING WOMEN
Dr. Fatima Denton
Director
- United Nations University –Institute for Natural Resources in Africa (UNU-INRA)

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Outline
Observations
Gender related structural challenges
A case for action – Agriculture and CIS, Aquaculture, Waste management and other
livelihoods
UNU-INRA’s contributions
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Nowhere in the world is the
climate change and development
more closely linked than in
Africa
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Resilience
is the ability to
absorb shocks, bounce back and
self-organize
Women
are increasingly
challenged due to the
frequency, pace and scale
of extreme events.

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Environmental
management is
highly
gendered
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Women
and
men
bring different
experiences and different knowledge
and capabilities when it comes to
coping
with or
adapting
to
climate
change impacts
.

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A litany of challenges….
High reliance on biomass and biofuels Migration.
Poor agricultural policies – fewer access to inputs, information
Responsible for the management of post harvest loss
Weak and ineffective governance systems
Post recovery from floods and other extremes
Post conflict situations
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Ownership of resources
Essentially about the reliance on
natural resources.
Environmental management =
Distribution
Management
Control
Gender related inequities will affect
several of the SDGs directly and
indirectly and delay food security.

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• Employs about
70-75 %
of the African population.
• Contributes about
30% to Africa's GDP
• About
50% of total export
value.
Case for Action - Agriculture
Yet
agricultural productivity
, averaging around 1.5 tonnes per
hectare, is the
lowest in the world
.
Indeed, l
ess than 10% of Africa’s arable land
is currently used for
food production
and only
6% of arable land
is
irrigated.

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Women’s vulnerability
Less likely own land.
Less likely to control productive resources.
Too little understanding of technology, infrastructure and markets – critical for agricultural
production.
Difficulties related to post disaster recovery strategies and poor buffer potential.
Combined with structural problems related to time poverty , higher incidence of poverty and
primary care givers.
Limited adaptive capacity due to access to information and less control of productive levers.
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Climate Information Services
the packaging and dissemination of climate information
to specific users –are vital in supporting Africa’s
response to climate change.”
Accurate and accessible rainfall information helps farmers decide not only when to plant and
harvest, but when to dry the crops and look out for the outbreak of pests and diseases that can ruin
yields.
Working with information in this way, farmers increase their chances of boosting productivity and
avoiding post-harvest losses.

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Fact sheet – Agriculture
Africa's annual
food import
bill of $35
billion,
estimated to
rise to $110
billion by 2025.
Women
grow 70%
of Africa's
food.
If women had the
same access to
productive
resources as men,
they would increase
the yields of farms
by 20%-30% and
reduce hunger by
up to 17%.
Women
invest 90% of
their income
into their
family’s
well-being.

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Fact sheet - Energy
Around
600 Million Africans
without access to
electricity. Household electrification is the lowest
globally, averaging at
42 % in 2016.
Only seven countries in Africa have electricity
access rates exceeding
50 %
83%
of women with solar lanterns reported
increased control over financial decisions while 63 %
felt more respected in the community.
Women and girls bear the main burden of
biomass collection.
72%
decrease in perinatal deaths when using solar
suitcases in hospitals in Uganda. Midwives and doctors
perform obstetric procedures throughout the night.

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The case for improved access to CIS for women
Women make up an estimated 43% of the agricultural labor force
in developing countries (FAO). Agriculture is the most important
source of employment for women by in sub-Saharan Africa and
south Asia.
But compared to men, women are much more vulnerable to
environmental shocks such as climate change due to multiple
vulnerability and higher incidence of poverty.
Improving women’s access to CIS (and other communication
technologies in general) can significantly boost their ability to
successfully adapt to environmental shocks such as climate
change and effectively manage the associated risk.
By improving women’s access to, and use of, CIS, they can play
important roles in household climate change adaptation planning.
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The current state of women and CIS provision
Women are
overwhelmingly left
out of the
communication
channels, including
CIS, that are critical to
their ability to adapt to
environmental shocks
such as climate
change.
According to a study
in Ghana, of the 51%
respondents who used
CIS, 17% were
women while 34%
were men. Men are
more likely to have
access CIS on mobile
phones than women.
There are several
barriers to inhibiting
women’s access to
CIS and enhancing
their adaptive capacity
and contribution to
reduced climate
change impacts
Although climate
information services
may be made
available to household
members, it does not
necessarily lead to
women receiving this
information

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Barriers to women in developing countries
accessing CIS
In many ways, barriers to women’s access CIS/ICTs are
related to gendered control over assets, e.g. income or
resources, within the household. Men largely control how
household income is used.
Women are less empowered to spend household income on
ICT devices and services that they deem useful for
understanding their environment.
A more significant number of men (35.3%) than women (20%)
had access to mobile phones.
Women often face financial obstacles to acquiring new
technologies such as computers and mobile phones (poor
access to the platform).
Limited or no formal education - educational barriers such as
illiteracy and numeracy (e.g. language). Illiteracy more
prominent among women than men in developing countries.
Limited training in the use of electronic gadgets for CIS.
Limited access to finance, extension services, and farm
Expensive call charges (linked to poor access to finance).
resources

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What should be the way forward?
Need to deliver CIS in languages more
likely to be understood by women
(especially local language instead of
English or international languages). In order
for women to be able to receive, process
and utilize the information.
Gender-specific needs for climate change
adaptation, must be mainstreamed into the
design of climate information services to
improve the equity and effectiveness for
both men and women farmers.
Context-dependent hybridization of
traditional methods of communication,
familiar to communities, and modern
technologies, which can be useful in
sharing new scientific, climate knowledge
with farmers.
Design of CIS must consider gender-
specific needs, e.g. different dissemination
channels that address the
constraints/barriers experienced by women.

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Waste
Women of Waste (WOW)
is an informal group advocating for the
role of women in waste management and promotes spaces of
dialogue, communication and encourages participation.
Sustainable toilet options:
Loo Works
aims to strengthen the
sanitation value chain and eliminate the need for unsafe sanitation
practices.
Kor.Le.Kour
, an accessories brand which makes jewellry from
recycled glass in Ghana.

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Women in aquaculture
A new fish-smoking technology, the FTT-Thiaroye (or the FAO-Thiaroye fish
processing technique) has been introduced in many African countries to control
smoke and contaminants produced during the smoking process.
The West African Agricultural Productivity Program (WAAPP)developed by The
West and Central African Council for Agricultural Research and Development
(CORAF) aims to empower women through aquaculture development by
providing job assistance in the fishery industry.
The West African Fisheries Renewable Programme, developed by the Western
Region Coastal Foundation (WRCF) is seeking to restore Africa’s depleted fish
stocks
Feed the Future is an initiative that integrates nutrition and gender issues to
improve the resilience of vulnerable households in targeted communities.

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Green jobs
Community-based tourism venture (Kenya)
Women in the coastal Kenyan town of Gazi have established
a community-based tourism venture that profits from the
value of the mangroves.

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Livelihood
The Adaptation Learning Programme (UNFCCC) focuses
on integrating women’s empowerment into community-
based adaptation.
The Women’s Empowerment for Resilience and
Adaptation Against Climate Change aims to support
women’s equal control over factors of production and
participation in the development of sustainable
development and climate change adaptation processes.
FAO’s Dimitra programme is a participatory information
and communication project which contributes to
improving the visibility of rural populations, women in
particular.
The Africa Adaptation Program (AAP) addressed
women’s roles in climate change in Nigeria
FAO supports countries in addressing gender issues into
their National Adaptation Plans through the Nap-Ag
Programme15.
Blue Ventures (Madagascar)
Integrates sexual and reproductive health services with
sustainable coastal livelihood and resource management
initiatives

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Innovations
M-Farm Ltd is a software solution and agribusiness company
developed by three young African women entrepreneurs that help 6
400 farmers in Kenya by providing them up-to-date market prices
through cell phone based technology.
Solar Sister trains and supports women to deliver clean energy
directly to homes in rural African communities.
Rachael Nabunya Kisakye, project engineer at the Ugandan
company Tusk Engineers, has developed a bio-latrine.

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AD+GEN knowledge coalition
Gender and Climate Change Network in Africa works on three levels of resilience building
(knowledge, organizational and planning and Innovation) and 3 transitions.
The skills required for greater resilience to managing extreme events and CC and CV. This will bring together indigenous and
scientific knowledge and serves as a ‘what works’ knowledge platform.
Identify new and existing innovations that will boost agricultural productivity, create green jobs and showcase good farming
techniques.
The entrepreneurial advice and support that will bring current adaptation projects to scale, bring solutions to infrastructure and
market barriers.
3. Innovation transition
2. Business transition
1. Knowledge transition

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Takeaways
Africa has a high exposure to produce risks associated with climate change – women can be
bring greater resilience to climate impacts if they are given the opportunity, capabilities and
information.
Africa is growing rapidly in demographics terms and transforming slowly in human development
terms –women represents the single largest untapped potential that the African continent has –
they are a resource – and if properly empowered can become active agents of change.
The development industry has been risk averse where women are concerned – a history of
micro projects – transformational and resilient development will come full circle when women
concerned are given scale.
Gender related inequities will derail the achievement of the SDGs - women make up half the
population and will enable the realization of key goals.
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Thank you .
For more information contact:
International House
Annie Jiage Road
University of Ghana, Legon Campus
Accra, Ghana.
T: +233-302-500396
F: +233-302- 500792
email: inra@unu.edu
www.inra.unu.edu

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Takeaways
Africa has a high exposure to produce risks associated with climate change – women can be
bring greater resilience to climate impacts if they are given the opportunity, capabilities and
information.
Africa is growing rapidly in demographics terms and transforming slowly in human development
terms –women represents the single largest untapped potential that the African continent has –
they are a resource – and if properly empowered can become active agents of change.
The development industry has been risk averse where women are concerned – a history of
micro projects – transformational and resilient development will come full circle when women
concerned are given scale.
Gender related inequities will derail the achievement of the SDGs - women make up half the
population and will enable the realization of key goals.
1
2
3
4