The Position Paper: The Critical Need for Resilience in the Southern Africa Region
Urgent Action by humanitarian and development partners is required in the southern Africa region to mitigate the effects of climate-induced stress on vulnerable and food insecure communities.
Urgent action by humanitarian and development partners is required in the southern Africa region to mitigate the effects of climate-induced stress on vulnerable and food insecure communities. CARE International is particularly concerned about the possible impacts on the welfare and livelihoods of women and girls – who are more susceptible to the impacts of food insecurity and climate change.1 In 2018, the number of food insecure people in the region has increased to 29 million, from last season’s 27 million 2 and 9.6 million face severe food insecurity.3 More than 400,000 people have been affected by floods and cyclones. There is a 65-70 per cent probability of an El Niño event between December 2018 and February 2019 and communities in Madagascar, Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe already face emergency food insecurity.
Persistent challenges and underlying causes
16% of the rural population has been consistently food insecure for the past 5 years and SADC cites climate change as compromising the quality and quantity of production. Pervasive inequality in access to services and resources and unequal domestic and care burdens between women and men are significant obstacles. Food and nutrition insecurity is also fundamentally related to structural societal factors, including access to land, credit and employment, and to affordable agricultural inputs. Uneven economic growth, high population growth, environmental degradation and urbanization are contributing to ever-greater numbers of people affected by shocks. The prospect of another El Niño event (associated with decreased rainfall and food production) and its impacts on incomes and consumption, is extremely worrying.
CARE’s regional program Her Harvest Our Future, tackles food insecurity through a combination of models for financial inclusion, nutrition, and climate resilient agriculture. Across these intervention areas and integrated in all programming is gender equality and women’s empowerment. Given the scale of the challenge of gender-based inequality, CARE’s activities are explicitly designed to transform gender dynamics and increase resilience and food and nutrition security. At a minimum, programs should be: informed by gender analysis; include activities that meet distinct needs of women, men, boys and girls, across the three areas of agency, structure and relations; ensure meaningful participation of women and girls; and provide sex disaggregated data, and analysis of intended and unintended impacts on gender roles, relations and risks. During the 2015/16 El Niño season, CARE learned many lessons and has a refined set of responses that are proven to protect communities under extreme stress and build resilience.
These and other impacts have fed into CARE’s regional programming and our approaches are described in the framework on the next page.