UN Women: Empowering African Women Combat Climate Change
By Foster Dongozi
“We should not focus on women as victims of Climate Change only but rather look at women as solution providers to Climate Change adaptation and mitigation measures.”
These are the words of Themba Kalua, UN Women South Africa Multi Country Office Deputy Representative at a gender and Climate Change workshop for senior journalists and editors from Southern Africa.
“Women and girls are powerful agents of change to scale up climate action and to accelerate the transition to sustainable energy since the burden of Climate Change is often their daily reality,” adds Kalua.
“Women must therefore be at the centre of building resilience towards Climate Change. It is against this background that gender and Climate Change is a priority for UN Women,” the official continues.
He says they have two flagship programme initiatives launched at corporate level.
The first is Women’s Sustainable Energy Entrepreneurship and Access while the second is Women’s Empowerment through Climate resilient Agriculture.
He shares some of the initiatives being implemented by UN Women at country level.
1. UN Women Tanzania is contributing to tackling Climate Change in the area of renewable energy. The country office is building on a global partnership with Barefoot College, an initiative from India, called ‘Women Light up Africa’. This initiative trains mature women to be capable and confident solar engineers and to fill a basic and critical need for reliable energy in African villages.
2. UN Women Mozambique is enhancing availability and use of data and information to guide planning, resource allocation and monitoring of gender equality commitments in relation to Climate Change adaptation.
3. UN Women Kenya is strengthening the capacity of women small holder farmers in climate smart and drought resilience agricultural approaches.
4. UN Women South Africa Multi-Country Office in partnership with department of energy, is promoting the participation of women in the renewable energy sector.
Kalua say in addition: “We are currently working with government partners and civil society organizations in South Africa, Namibia and Botswana to strengthen the mainstreaming of gender equality into Climate Change policies, Strategies and plans.
The South Africa Multi Country office was also supporting women’s access to land, tools, new technologies, financing, value addition mechanisms and markets to enhance women’s farmer’s productivity.
Featured Image: Ayanda Mvimbi from UN WOMEN presenting