Published | 18th June 2017

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Women and Climate Change: Thematic Brief

Why gender matters in climate change

Climate change creates global challenges, but its effects on people’s lives and livelihoods in Vanuatu are very local.

Climate change is a risk multiplier, worsening the hazards that already exist and creating new ones. In a nation that has ranked as the most vulnerable in the world to natural disaster five years in a row, the risks associated with climate change in Vanuatu are catastrophic. Because women in Vanuatu experience disadvantages in education, resources, power, opportunity and most other spheres of public life, the threats of climate change are even greater.

But women are also on the frontline when it comes to combating climate change. They play an important role in protecting the food and nutrition security of their families and communities and bring a vital perspective on the action needed to overcome the challenges of climate change.

That’s why CARE is working with women and men in Vanuatu to tackle gender inequality and build communities’ resilience to climate change – together.

What CARE is doing about climate change

CARE has worked with communities in Vanuatu to build resilience to climate change since 2008. Women are at the center of our resilience-building activities, and this approach has proved an effective way of bringing real and lasting change to the whole of the community. CARE’s work is based in Tafea province with advocacy work at the national level.

Our Resilience Program aims to provide communities with the knowledge and skills they need to meet the challenges of climate change, like food security and disaster preparedness. CARE focuses on equipping communities to plan their own preparations and response, making sure that people understand the value that women and other marginalized members of the community contribute and supporting women to get involved.

From introducing new crop varieties and building demonstration gardens to protect and diversify food sources to running emergency simulations to prepare for disasters, CARE works to ensure that women and men have equal learning opportunities, decision making power and leadership roles, both in program activities and the community committees who lead the ongoing local action. This gender-focused approach to climate change resilience is further reinforced through CARE’s Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) and Gender Equality programs.

CARE also works in close partnership with others working on climate change in Vanuatu, including the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Vanuatu Climate Action Network.

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