Story | 13 Jun, 2024

Kiwa Initiative promotes gender equality in Nature-based Solutions for land restoration

As we celebrate World Environment Day, this event is very important for communities around the world who are closely connected to the health of our environment. World Environment Day has encouraged people to protect and restore the natural areas that support us all.

This year's theme of "Land Restoration, Desertification and Drought Resilience" is closely tied to the work being done by the Kiwa Initiative - a programme that is helping many community-based projects deal with these big environmental problems, by using Nature-based Solutions (NbS) to adapt to the impacts of climate change within their communities, and addressing societal challenges as well. The Kiwa Initiative is helping local communities adapt to these impacts by restoring damaged lands; minimising the spread of desertification; and learning how to better cope with droughts. This is further monitored by local projects under their respective Environment and Social Risk Management Systems (ESMS) enabling projects to have safeguard measures in place to further mitigate risks that can cause further harm to their environment and people within their communities.

The Kiwa Initiative has a key focus on integrating gender equality and women's empowerment into its Nature-based Solutions (NbS) projects. The initiative is working towards a more inclusive and sustainable future, by acknowledging the crucial role of women in decision-making. The ESMS framework under one of its seven principles, ensures that gender and social inclusion are considered into all stages of the NbS projects, including planning, implementation, and monitoring.  

Some of the Kiwa Initiative projects

The Kiwa Initiative local project implemented by National Trust of Fiji (NTF) shows how important it is to include everyone when taking care of our environment. They use a special tool to carefully check for any problems for people and nature and ensure that women are involved in all decisions made for the project. This commitment is exemplified by the special team of women, young people, and others from the community that NTF helped establish with the community to ensure that their needs, perspectives, and ideas are considered. The NTF is empowering communities to deal with climate change impacts by sustainably managing the Sigatoka Sand Dunes National Park. This park is important to the overall health of the Sigatoka Sand Dunes ecosystem. The project aims to establish areas where forests can be restored, near the National Park with the help of both the local communities and park rangers. At these spots, they will be planting different types of trees (agroforestry), removing non-native plants (invasive species control), and preventing damage to land that hasn't been harmed yet (avoided degradation). These examples set up by the community will be used for various educational activities related to nature, such as teaching about useful native plants (ethnobotany) and waste management. They will also learn about creating nutrient-rich soil using organic materials (compost projects).

Another Kiwa Initiative local project is being implemented by KGWan in Papua New Guinea (PNG). This project has taken a step further by involving women and women's groups in the decision-making process relating to inclusive resource use; their roles and responsibilities; and equitable benefit sharing within all members of the community and as a result, community-based sustainable resource management rules are applicable to both men and women, ensuring equitable access and control over natural resources. The immediate environmental threats identified in this area are deforestation and land degradation caused by environmental and human activities. Local communities have always depended on forests for food, firewood, medicine, traditional attire, and shelter.

The specific goal of the project is to educate, empower and facilitate rural communities of the Inaugl Tribe in PNG to participate in natural resource management for livelihood improvement projects that are self-reliance-oriented, technologically appropriate, ecologically sound, and economically viable which address the impacts of climate change.

One of the primary goals was to educate at least 1,000 local communities on sustainable natural resource management, with a focus on raising awareness about climate-induced risks. The participation of women exceeded 40%, showing that the Kiwa Initiative encourages the inclusion of everyone within a community most importantly, the vulnerable members of society.

By working together, we can bring our planet back to health. Let's fight for gender equality in Nature-based Solutions, making sure everyone has a say in protecting our lands for a bright future.


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Kiwa Initiative logo and donors and partners