According to the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s assessment report, the world will continue to be vulnerable to climate change. The Albertine Rift region has been experiencing extreme climate events and variability including droughts and floods, which in some cases have had severe implications on the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem degradation, infrastructure, food security as well as other livelihoods aspects. Yet given their role in agricultural production, women are among the most vulnerable to the consequences of climate change.
The first step towards tackling the challenges of climate change is empowering women to be part of the solution to safeguard the environment. Through its different projects and programmes, ARCOS has invested much efforts in empowering women. To give an instance, through its Nature-Based Community Development Programme which takes roots from the three pillars of sustainable development; ecological, economic and social capital, ARCOS is developing the spirit of ownership and a sense of responsibility among communities towards sustainable environmental management
ARCOS is partnering with women in agriculture as it is among the crucial sectors contributing up to 17% to global carbon emissions. Yet, while done properly, agriculture can contribute up to 30% of greenhouse gases sequestration. In one of the countries where ARCOS operates, Rwanda, agriculture sector remains a priority sector as a backbone of the economy, employing 67.6% of population with women representing 79.1%. This point up why it is necessary to invest and partner with women in the struggle against climate change.
Christine Mutoni is among women working with ARCOS, through its Agroforestry for Livelihoods Project engaging 30.000 smallholder farmers of which over 50% partners are women. “We have been assisted in building resilience to climate change through agroforestry tree planting as well as practicing sustainable agriculture land management.” Said Christine.
Adele Nyiramajyambere pointed up that land management practices are paying off: “I can testify it from my farm productivity and how the created trenches are helping me to conserve soil of her farm.” Alongside their farming activities, both Adele and Christine work at ARCOS tree nurseries which help them to generate some income.
“Climate change represents a complex issue requiring holistic responses. Gender equality into this struggle may dramatically increase resiliency and adaptive capacity of farmer’s communities.” stated Christella Suavis Iradukunda, Landscape Manager for Bugesera at ARCOS. Christella stressed that women should also feel that sense of responsibility towards climate change adaptation and mitigation actions.