Climate change has been having a major impact upon small island states. The variability of weather patterns has rendered agricultural livelihoods extremely precarious. Cyclones have been known to lead to the destruction of housing and infrastructure, as well as top-soil loss or even the outright inundation of arable land. The long-term effects of climate change have had a particular impact upon the “blue economies” of small island states, particularly where fish hatcheries have dwindled due to changing water temperatures.
For some islanders migration is the only option. This daunting process of social and cultural readjustment requires assistance. This projected responded to the four components of vulnerability discussed in the World Risk Report that include exposure to natural hazards, susceptibility, coping and adaptation.
CHEC’s project drew extensively on the principle of empowering women for sustainable development, recognising women as catalysts for change and it was noted that they had historically been underrepresented at Commonwealth events.
The project’s aims were to mentor women in micro-enterprise through cross-cultural relationships, beginning with a trip to Australia and continuing for a subsequent three years. Women representing civil society from small island states were nominated by 52 local and international NGOs to participate in the 2013 joint conference of the Society for Human Ecology and International Sustainability. Formal training was held to promote sustainable methods of everyday living, including compost toilets.
The participants were able to use their training, mentoring and case studies to develop business plans for micro-enterprise climate projects. This project was envisioned as a catalyst for further ventures, and represents a first step towards promoting micro-enterprise for climate change adaptation in the region.
Read more about CHEC’s Women’s Microenterprise for Climate Change Project in CHEC Points 40.