We’re working with communities to build climate resilience
Plan International works across south-east Asia and the Pacific to help communities adapt to climate change, to make sure children, women and marginalised groups are involved to help shape the design of our projects.
- Louisa, 15, Philippines.
These projects include planting vegetable gardens at school using climate-resilient seeds, and mangrove or tree-planting to protect coasts from floods and storms. We’re also working with communities to improve farming practices and to prepare for and to respond to disasters. We reach children and adults through games, school-curriculum and community outreach.
Climate change magnifies gender inequality. That’s why climate action must include girls.
Educating girls is one of the most effective, and most overlooked, ways to mitigate climate change. In fact, for every year a girl stays in school, her country’s climate resilience measurably improves.
But unfortunately, climate change magnifies the inequalities girls and women already suffer, such as their unequal access to health, sexual reproductive health and rights, education, participation and protection.
In times of crisis, girls are the first to drop out of school to help their families earn money, to tend to domestic duties or look after relatives, and they face an increased risk of exploitation and abuse.
Examples of how climate change is already impacting girls:
- As water and firewood become less accessible, girls spend more and more time collecting these essentials for their families, putting them at risk of violence and increasing the likelihood of them missing out on school.
- Girls’ education is often the first thing families sacrifice when financial resources are in short supply.
- Girls are at greater risk of child marriage when their families face economic hardship, leaving millions of girls at risk of sexual and physical abuse, early pregnancy and maternal death.
- For girls and young women forced to leave their homes – because of a lack of natural resources or access to the income they need to survive – there are multiple challenges to face, including a much higher risk of exploitation, as well as the loss of their education, community support and livelihoods.
While climate change exacerbates gender inequality and is on track to reverse crucial gains, climate action can be a pathway to greater equality and improving the rights of girls, if their needs and voices are included. We know that promoting girls’ leadership, and their political empowerment, supports them in accessing their rights, in gaining knowledge and skills, and influencing important decisions around climate change.
Studies also show that female leaders are incredibly effective in conservation and protection efforts, and are more likely to pursue more sustainable futures for their communities.
Supporting youth leadership in climate action
The unravelling climate crisis is the most pressing injustice of our time as it exacerbates existing inequalities in society, and disproportionately affects girls and young women.
Youth-led and youth-supported groups are boldly advocating for solutions that are more responsive to the needs of everyone, as shown in our report, Rising Tides.
Released in February 2022, in partnership with Plan International Finland and supported by nine other Plan International offices, Rising Tides is a global research report bringing together important findings from young researchers and youth groups from nine countries bearing the brunt of the climate crisis.
Eleven young researchers from Myanmar, Laos, Solomon Islands, Fiji, Indonesia, Ethiopia, Uganda, Mozambique and Zimbabwe conducted a joint desk review of climate change policy to identify youth-led or youth-oriented organisations, groups, and movements for climate change adaptation.