Given the vulnerability of Papua New Guinea (PNG) to a range of natural disasters and the effects of climate change, disaster preparedness and response has been an important part of CARE’s work.  The El Niño event of 2015-16 saw localized frost and widespread drought in PNG which damaged crops and dried up water sources. Support was provided in water and sanitation, and livelihood recovery. There was close attention to gender issues in this response, with a rapid gender analysis undertaken upfront and shared with other stakeholders. Training approaches tried to ensure both male and female participation, with agriculture recovery seeking to have husbands and wives take part in the trainings together.

To support implementation in remote Nissan and Pinepel islands, CARE developed the approach of “core groups”: rather than deploying community facilitators, the project promoted the formation of six core groups – each consisting of 20-30 volunteers from traditional village clusters. Core group members learned about the fundamental elements of climate change and adaptation and were trained in various conservation farming techniques, nutrition, as well as key gender equality issues and basic principles of disaster risk reduction. Thus equipped, they passed on the new knowledge to fellow villagers and led by example. Community nurseries were established in all six clusters and improved agricultural techniques were promoted.

CARE also partnered with local government and the Nissan communities to develop and implement disaster risk reduction action plans that integrate climate change concerns. By bringing together communities at risk from disasters and climate change with local government, district level plans better represent community priorities and needs, including those specific to disaster and climate risk. Village action plans are in place in all of the district’s villages, which include local-level mitigation practices. The Nissan District Administration has expressed interest in embedding core groups into local governance structures.