Climate resilience project supports adaptation in local communities

‘Community Strategies for Climate-Resilient Livelihoods’ project, funded by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, started at the beginning of this year by educating small-scale farmers on what climate change is. Participating communities have been discussing the causes, impacts and mitigation strategies. Adaptation plans will be drafted for each of the four partner communities, taking into account the local livelihoods and environmental challenges.

Key adaptation strategies in the rural areas are sustainable agricultural practices. The commonly used slash-and-burn method rapidly destroys nutrients in the soil, which raises the pressure to burn new areas for fields, further accelerating deforestation and erosion. GLM organises training on agroforestry, crop rotation and composting for the farmers. Organic farming eliminates fertiliser costs, while taking care of the soil.

In agroforestry, nitrogen-fixing trees are planted in the fields. The trees also provide ingredients for natural pesticides, leaves for medical use, timber and fruit, while giving shelter from wind, thus decreasing erosion. Many farmers have cattle, chicken and goats whose droppings can be composted to produce organic fertiliser. Shifting to organic farming takes time and requires a lot of work, but according GLM’s experiences, harvests will increase and working hours reduce after three years.

Furthermore, the community members receive training to improve their capacity to work as entrepreneurs and advocates within their own community, but also to impact decision-makers. This enhances the self-sufficiency of the farmers when the project comes to an end. The project also involves chicken and goat production and establishment of nurseries to provide additional livelihood sources. In addition, farmers will visit other GLM´s partner villages to share experiences and approaches, as learning from fellow farmers has proven to be an effective means to change one’s way of thinking.

The overall objective of the project is to create stronger rural villages which have the required knowledge and skills to survive in the changing climate.