Climate Resilience and Justice
Our climate is changing fast, with devastating impact on species and ecosystems. In the past 13 years, 87 per cent of disasters have been climate-related [UN women 2016]. When floods and drought come, they do not discriminate between men and women. But there’s a marked difference in how women and men experience the impact of climate change and climate disasters. Climate change impacts women differently and disproportionately than men. Rural women are often more vulnerable to the impact of climate change as their livelihoods depend on agriculture and they typically receive less education than their city counterparts.
Today, there is growing recognition of the differential impact of climate change on women. However, their critical role as leaders and agents of change in climate action and management of natural resources is often overlooked in climate negotiations, investments and policies and this is in spite of the fact that in most developing countries, women are the primary household energy managers and key actors in the food system, and can be powerful actors in the transition to sustainable energy and climate resilient agriculture and preservation of the environment at large. Unfortunately, women have structurally less control of resources, which often is a barrier to their equal participation and decision-making in the sector.
Nevertheless, women play an important role in climate change adaptation and mitigation because of their roles in core climate change sectors: agriculture, livestock management, energy, disaster risk reduction (DRR), forestry, water management and health, through their cooking and household tasks as well as transport-related needs and practices, they are important energy users, suppliers and consumers, and household energy managers.
Realizing the above challenges ARUWE implements a climate resilience and justice program in responses to SDGs 13 which calls for urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts and SDG 7, Ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all. The climate resilience and justice aims at strengthening women’s efforts, voices and actions to become more resilient and responsive to climate change.
Majorly, the thematic area has three objectives:
- To increase awareness and utilization of renewable energy solutions among community members
- To support communities to adopt to agro-ecological practices
- To build women’s capacity to engage national and local governments to integrate gender focused climate change measures into policies, strategies and plans.
Hence, ARUWE promotes sustainable energy services with gender just leadership to increase female participation in the sector.
Strategies and approaches implemented
Women Led Energy Cooperatives: ARUWE´s strategy is based on a decentralized and cooperative renewable energy system led by women. This model emerges as an alternative to facilitate energy access mostly within households, but also to small businesses, institutions and health centers. Using women led cooperative model, the decisions on which technology to implement and how to share its benefits are taken on a community basis.
Community Capacity Building: Training Women Ambassadors: ARUWE’s mission with the distribution and implementation of decentralized energy technology is to build socio-economic capacities in rural women in Uganda. ARUWE identifies and promotes best practices for women’s leadership in sustainable energy through trainings in leadership, environment and agroecology practices. Women are the ones who make the decisions regarding the entire value chain of the technologies used, and through the application of Gender Action Learning Systems (GALS) methodology it is intended to improve the economic and food security of the most vulnerable population in a gender-equitable way.
ARUWE trains cooperative women to install and use renewable energy technologies. ARUWE presents the different technologies to the cooperative members so they can select the alternative that best suits their needs and possibilities. After choosing the technology, the cooperative defines the roles of its members around the project, I.e., installation and maintenance; production and commercialization; and diffusion. For each of the roles, the project considers knowledge transfer and capacity-building through a trainer of trainers (ToT)- Women Ambassadors methodology. For instance, in collaboration with the different service providers, ARUWE holds training for women to learn how to build, install, operate and maintain the different technologies. Women within the cooperative structure play the decisive roles, which has contributed to them having greater self-esteem, autonomy and independence and to be recognized within the communities as agents of change.
Male strategic involvement: ARUWE mainly working with rural Ugandan women who recognize and have experienced gender barriers to access land and opportunities for entrepreneurship and economic independence. Therefore, we understand that to achieve community commitment and build a safe environment for women there must be the approval and trust of men. Thus, ARUWE holds strategic meetings with men to discuss how to support women in the energy sector, leadership, key resource ownership and control including land, and the benefits it brings to the household economy and community development for women.
Advocacy and Policy influence: Using the rights based approach, ARUWE equips women and community members with knowledge and skills in advocacy to engage decision makers in making policies and plans that take into account gender equality. The cooperatives have formed an advocacy network to reach the district and national government and demonstrate the co-benefits of decentralized energy technologies in climate change mitigation, compliance with climate policies and sustainable development of the country.
ARUWE AgroEcology Center: Over the years, ARUWE has been working with rural women to establish lasting solutions to address climate change issues and other hindrances to agroecology. With its partnerships ARUWE embarked on the establishment of an agro-ecology center in Kyankwanzi district. The agroecology center is a demonstration center where communities are supported to learn and replicate the innovative technology and skills in their households and businesses. The center is an empowering tool to the community where community members come to explore, implement, and network with others for learning and adaptation. Because the government is limited in reaching and extending extension services to framers and community members, the demonstration center has increased opportunities for community members and farmers to acquire innovation approaches, skills and knowledge; around climate change adaption, agriculture and research
ARUWE believes in the long term vision of turning the center into an agricultural research institute with affiliations to major agricultural research institutes, research centers both at national and international levels and it hopes to achieve this vision through continued support from its partners, community, partnerships and networking with agricultural research Institutions, Universities and the Government; to bridge the knowledge gap for sustainable rural development
Additionally, the center offers practical training to leaners from schools and universities, CSOs organizations, governmental agencies and the private sector. It also promotes innovations, creativity as well as demonstrate technologies and provide learning to the community
Climate technologies: ARUWE analyses and pilots locally, affordable and environmentally friendly renewable energy solutions/ technologies among communities. ARUWE works with four climate technologies: charcoal briquettes, photovoltaic solar panels, bio-gas and energy saving stoves. The technologies are promoted by women ambassadors, who market and train other cooperative and community members. ARUWE sensitizes and trains community members about these technologies and provides equipment for production.
- Charcoal briquettes: These are biomass fuels that can be used for cooking and heating. These are made by combining charcoal dust and organic waste with a binder such as starch, molasses or paper, and water. The materials are compressed by hand or mechanized press into a uniform solid unit. The briquettes are used in stoves that are emission-free, energy-efficient, and economically friendly. These stoves are easy to make and repair, are portable and movable, their materials are easy to find, and their durability is higher than a corner stove.
- Energy saving stoves: Energy efficient cook stoves are economical and conservation friendly. These stoves are easy to make and repair, are portable and movable, their materials are easy to find, and their durability is higher than a corner stove and they solve problems related to health and global warming.
- Bio-gas: Using the green technologies (bamboo), ARUWE demonstrates a 3m3/3000cc bio-gas plant at the centre to produce gas for cooking and lighting.
- Solar PV Technology: Solar System in the most simplistic term and defined it as the sun and everything that orbits the sun which also include the planets and their satellites. This technology involves installing Solar Panels (Photovoltaic PV Module) on roofed houses and a solar cell or photovoltaic cell is as a device that converts light directly into electricity by the photovoltaic effect. Solar Photovoltaic systems generate electricity directly using sunlight.
- Agroecologic practises: Demonstration of agroecological practices including organic farming, seed multiplication, seed security, integration of crop production and livestock rearing