Building Resilience for
Earth Day | April 22, 2021
Pathfinder International has worked at the nexus of women and climate for almost a decade. The two issues are inextricable. Our women and climate programs have not only cleaned up the environment and made natural resources more sustainable but have also fostered gender equality and resilience—preparing communities to withstand shocks and stressors from climate change through the leadership of women and girls.
Today, on Earth Day, we share with you snapshots from our programs that have built community resilience in some of the places most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.
Fish are disappearing from the lake. Rain is not falling like it used to. It comes down in floods—or not at all. You are struggling to make ends meet. There’s less and less to eat. You worry about your pregnancy. The nearest major emergency hospital is eight hours away. If you and your baby survive your pregnancy, what happens next? Will you get pregnant again before you are ready? Will your daughter get the nutrition she needs? Will she be able to go to school one day? Not a lot of girls can.
Read more: On Climate Resilience, Reproductive Health, and Why First-Time Parents are the Future, featuring Pathfinder’s Tuungane program.
“Human life and environment are two things that depend on each other. When you conserve your environment, you improve your life. But when your destruct the environment, you destruct your life.”
Long’ida Ngitiri, Tanzania
In Tanzania’s Great Rift Valley, the northern savannah rangelands support the lives and livelihoods of thousands of pastoralists and hunter-gatherer communities. These grasslands, comprising roughly 3 million hectares, are critical for both people and local wildlife, but in recent years, additional pressures from climate change and the basic needs of a growing population threaten the resources on which they all depend.
Read more: In Tanzania’s Northern Rangelands, a new way of life: Protecting the land, empowering the community.
Anna farms the small plot next to her house on Uganda’s Jaguzi Island. She relies on what she grows and the fish her husband catches to feed their six children. Every day, she works to keep her vegetables growing to feed her family. When there is extra, she sells her crops at a local market and saves some cash for emergencies. She knows that just one major illness or an unplanned pregnancy could tip the scales.
Read more of her story in Anna’s Resilience, featuring Pathfinder’s HOPE-LBV program.
As a medical doctor and country director of Pathfinder International in Niger, Dr. Sani Aliou, knows reproductive health doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Healthy timing and spacing of pregnancies, for example, has implications for gender equity, nutrition, family finances, education, natural resources management, and more. That’s why our team in Niger is committed to thinking beyond the health sector. We’ve seen the results of cross-sectoral partnerships with our own eyes.
Read more in Farming + Family Planning = Promising Formula for Resilience, about Pathfinder’s RISE-FP program in Niger.
Most of the world’s climate financing currently goes toward climate mitigation and not to resilience and adaptation strategies for rural communities. Women and girls, who live in remote rural communities that are heavily reliant on natural resources for survival, are the least resilient and the least able to adapt to climate change and its impacts on health and well-being.
They have inadequate availability of sexual and reproductive health services, limited access to resources, restricted rights and voice, and limited mobility. All these issues expose women and girls to greater risks than men.
Read more: Gender equality is central to achieving UHC and climate mitigation, by Pathfinder CEO Lois Quam.
Learn more about Pathfinder’s approach to building resilience: Read, Women and Climate, A Global Movement.