“Because of BOMA, I now know that protecting the forest doesn’t mean we have to give up on our livelihoods. We can actually make more income by taking care of the land that is our home.”
– Pamela Lenolnyenje, BOMA Entrepreneur
A DEEPENING CRISIS
Climate change is resulting in a “new normal” for people living in the remote arid regions of East Africa. Droughts have always been a part of life in these areas, but they were relieved by subsequent rainy seasons that replenished water holes and sustained the meager grazing lands that traditionally pastoralist peoples have relied on for their livelihoods for centuries. Those days are gone.
Climate change is an emergency in slow motion.
By the time we feel the full effects, it will be too late. The historic response to drought crises by governments and humanitarian organizations has been to jump in with food aid and stop-gap measures to address the immediate need, save lives, and help people survive. But the droughts are increasing in frequency and severity, and we need long-term solutions that empower local residents to build their own resilience.
Climate and gender.
Extreme poverty, gender, and climate change are inextricably and tragically linked, but there is a solution—which the global community can no longer afford to ignore. Building resilience among vulnerable populations, particularly women, who disproportionately bear the consequences of extreme poverty, can be accomplished by helping them establish diversified sources of income, learn new skills, and build up savings so they can withstand climate change-induced shocks. And, according to Drawdown, the book from environmentalist, journalist, and activist Paul Hawken, empowering women can actually help mitigate or even reverse the effects of climate change: numbers 6 and 7 on his list of 100 solutions for reversing global warming are Educating Girls and Family Planning. Gender-focused programs can help break the cycle of dependency that comes from relying on aid and help the planet as a whole.