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The Effects of a Changing Climate on B:W Partners and Local African Communities

People planting a tree in Uganda

It’s no secret that this year has seen many heartbreaking natural disasters–earthquakes, fires, floods, hurricanes. While many of us are aware of the effects of natural disasters when we turn on the TV or they hit our own areas, our partners in Africa face the consequences of the changing climate daily.

Prolonged droughts, mass flooding, irregular rain patterns, and heatwaves all take a toll on families, communities, and entire countries, jeopardizing their water supply, agriculture, and overall livelihoods.

The good news? Our partners know these issues and are seeking and implementing solutions in three primary areas: water, agriculture, and community structures.

Implementing Water Innovations

Over half of the population in Ethiopia has no access to basic water supply, in addition to fluctuating weather patterns between flooding and drought. Less than 10% have access to basic sanitation and hygiene. Our partner, Drop of Water, plans to build six new clean water points to benefit 240 households. This plan furthers their mission of reducing water scarcity in Ethiopia, and it helps communities combat the effects of climate change. Without access to clean water, women and children have to trek long distances to find water, compromising their health and well-being.

In Malawi, droughts and mass flooding over the last year have led to the damage and destruction of hand washing stations, kitchens, and homes constructed by COPRED, affecting over 1000 families. COPRED will be returning to the villages to restore the facilities and infrastructures in addition to building new ones.

Our partners are committed to tackling water scarcity sustainably, including constructing water points that harvest water while minimizing soil erosion and contamination. By adopting these practices, communities can ensure the availability of clean water for their daily needs, despite the challenges posed by the changing climate.

Implementing Agricultural Innovations

Climate change also disrupts agricultural practices, which are the backbone of many African communities’ solutions to food security and poverty. To combat the challenges posed by erratic weather patterns, communities are adopting innovative agricultural practices that promote resilience and sustainability.

For example, communities can minimize soil erosion by planting trees, which help preserve the land and minimize water runoff. Our partners report that their communities actively participate in tree-planting exercises, ensuring the upkeep and maintenance of these essential resources.

Our partners are actively involved in providing farmers with agricultural information, knowledge, and skills to adapt to climate change. Through conservation agriculture practices and the adoption of drought-resistant crops and post-harvest handling technologies, communities enhance their crop yield and mitigate the impact of drought while increasing food security. For households with limited access to farmland, kitchen gardens are encouraged as an alternative.

Harnessing Technology for Climate Resilience

We often take for granted how much we can prepare for weather events because of technology. The digital age means the answer to almost every question is at our fingertips. However, only 45% of Africa has access to the internet. Our partners have said that the number one technological innovation against climate change would be access to and use of digital devices–including phones and radio–to obtain information on climate patterns and agricultural tips and best practices for adapting. Currently, our partners leverage on community structures such as community health workers and community gatekeepers to get the information out.

Local Partners Engaging Local Communities

The primary way communities implement these innovations is when organizations, including our partners, engage with the community to help them address issues they’ve identified.

Education and access to information is crucial: where water is scarce, communities can resolve their water problems by constructing dams; where flooding is common, communities construct dykes to regulate water flow and increase ground cover with trees, which minimizes water runoff and maximizes soil infiltration.

Our partners are committed to helping communities fight against and mitigate the effects of climate change. Will you join them?

We invite you to join our generous community of monthly givers that allows us to continue to partner with incredible organizations like Drop of Water and COPRED that are creating lasting impact in their local communities.



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