Accelerating gender-responsive climate resilience in Latin America

By Climate Champions | March 25, 2024

Partner: Scale for Resilience

Implementer: YAPU Solutions, CIAT/CGIAR, and GAWA Capital Country & Region: Latin America

SAA Impact Systems: Finance

Impact / Beneficiaries: Female mid-level managers in financial institutions across Ecuador, Peru, Colombia, Mexico, Bolivia, Guatemala, and El Salvador

Climate change knows no gender boundaries. Yet, women, gender-diverse individuals, and marginalized communities often bear the brunt of its impacts while having the least resources to adapt. Recognizing this critical intersectionality, an initiative from Race to Resilience partner, Scale for Resilience seeks to empower women to become agents of change in building climate resilience within their communities.

The initiative, Female leadership for the transition towards regenerative economies, is a collaborative effort between YAPU Solutions, CIAT/CGIAR, and GAWA Capital. It is part of the organization’s overarching goal to make 3 million vulnerable populations more resilient by 2030 by facilitating access to finance for increased resilience along the financial value chain.

At the core of the initiative is the Women in Resilience Finance mentorship program, designed to capacitate female mid-level managers in financial institutions across Ecuador, Peru, Colombia, Mexico, Bolivia, Guatemala, and El Salvador. This free program consists of three virtual modules, providing participants with in-depth knowledge on gender equality, climate change impacts, and resilience finance. By equipping these women with the tools and skills needed to promote gender-sensitive resilience finance, the program aims to create a ripple effect of positive change across the region.

With the successful completion of its first cohort in November 2023, comprising participants from six Latin American countries, the program is already producing great results. Through classroom sessions, bilateral learning, and field research, participants are not only enhancing their own knowledge but also becoming catalysts for change within their respective financial institutions. Armed with newfound expertise, the so-called “Resilience Ambassadors” are driving systemic change towards gender-responsive climate resilience.

Encouraged by the success of its inaugural cohort, the initiative is poised for expansion. Plans are underway to replicate the mentorship program with a second cohort and extend its reach beyond Latin America. With support from partners such as ICCCAD and Locfund, the initiative aims to scale gender-sensitive resilience finance globally, fostering a more inclusive and sustainable future for all.

The context

The initiative couldn’t come at a more critical time. In Ecuador, where the Andean peaks meet the Pacific coast, communities are grappling with the repercussions of glacial melting and water scarcity. In Peru, the agricultural heartland of the Sacred Valley faces the dual challenges of climate variability and soil erosion. Across the region, from the bustling cities of Colombia to the highlands of Guatemala, the impacts of climate change are undeniable, threatening livelihoods and exacerbating inequalities.

Women, particularly in developing countries, are disproportionately affected by the impacts of climate change due to their roles as caregivers, food producers, and providers of water and fuel for their households.

In many communities, women are responsible for securing food and water for their families. With changing weather patterns and increased frequency of extreme weather events, such as droughts and floods, women often bear the brunt of these impacts, facing challenges in accessing clean water, nutritious food, and adequate shelter for their families.

Furthermore, climate-related disasters can have differential impacts on men and women, with women often facing higher risks of displacement, violence, and loss of livelihoods. In the aftermath of disasters, women may also experience increased caregiving responsibilities, as they are often tasked with caring for children, the elderly, and the sick, further straining their resources and limiting their opportunities for economic empowerment.

Climate change can also exacerbate existing gender inequalities, particularly in terms of access to resources and decision-making power. In many societies, women have limited access to land, credit, and education, making it difficult for them to adapt to changing environmental conditions or participate in climate-related decision-making processes.

Moreover, cultural norms and traditional gender roles can further restrict women’s ability to cope with and respond to climate change. For example, in some communities, women may be prohibited from participating in community meetings or accessing information about climate-related risks and adaptation strategies, limiting their ability to advocate for their needs and interests.

Addressing the gender dimensions of climate change requires a multifaceted approach that recognizes the diverse roles, needs, and capacities of women and men. It involves promoting women’s leadership and participation in climate decision-making processes, ensuring equitable access to resources and opportunities, and integrating gender considerations into climate policies and programs.

By empowering women to become agents of change and resilience in their communities, initiatives like the Women in Resilience Finance mentorship program are not only addressing the gender impacts of climate change but also driving progress towards a more fairer and more resilient world for all.

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