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Mainstreaming Climate Change and Gender Issues for Sustainable Livelihood Development in Battambang Province, Cambodia

Submitted by Michael Rastall 17th September 2012 14:04

A farmer grows drought-resistant crops in Samaki

Summary

Cambodia has some of the most vulnerable communities to drought in the world.  Without sufficient water, livestock, supplies of safe drinking water and sanitation are all at risk.

This project increased awareness on WATSAN and Micro Insurance schemes, while addressing such issues as climate impacts on livelihoods, climate and disaster risk reduction capacity, building and risk assessment. A DRR action plan was formalised with local authorities that was then integrated into local development planning.

This project experience has been shared in many workshops, seminars and trainings as an example of a successful gender mainstreaming and climate adaptation project. It was supported by GEF SGP linking with a DRR project supported by Oxfam America. The Micro Insurance capital has grown 211% since 2009. The fund is supported by the community.

This new model ensures vulnerable people including women, elderly, children, disable and trafficked people have access to funds in case of any disaster or if their basic livelihood is affected.

Key Adaptation Challenges

When drought starts to affects crops, agricultural output suffers first, but then the high interest rates offered by private money lenders and micro finance agencies compound the problem, and can often leave communities extremely poor and landless. 

Tools and Methods

The project developed Micro Insurance facilities (community owned, managed, lead and with a revolving fund)  to support the livelihood activities, empowering them to undertake Disaster Risk Assessments and develop disaster risk reduction action plans. The Department of Agriculture helped to develop the annual Climate Adapted Farming Calendar and trained farmers to follow it. Micro Insurance provided funding to implement the climate adapted annual farming calendar specific to their livelihood and activities. 

Key messages

Vulnerable people, mainly women took the lead; an example of gender mainstreaming in the project application; access to technical and financial resources for the community members; a model to reduce domestic violence and reduction of school children dropping out; secure food security; Community managed revolving fund that is an example for all.

The mind-set of the Save the Earth staff has been to give the communities ownership of their project activities, this  encourages accountability. This method has proved to be successful, and is now being replicated in other communities.