The environment and natural resources form an essential economic base in countries where we work around the world, and their use generates significant economic and social benefits for people – particularly those living in poverty, of which women make up the majority.
Children and women are often impacted the most by risks to food security caused by environmental degradation and climate change, as they work longer hours to access food, fuel and water. In this context, girls may be taken out of education and forced into domestic work or agricultural labour, and are vulnerable to forced marriage and gender-based violence.
Our green programmes aim to conserve biodiversity and contribute to economic growth and food security in an environmentally sensitive and sustainable manner. We focus on working with communities, especially girls and women, to improve their rights and empower decision-making.
Features of sustainable development
Conservation and Sustainable Use of Marine Ecosystems in Kenya
In Kwale County on the Kenyan coast, 75% of the population live in poverty, and while they are reliant on the coastal environment for their income, it has been severely depleted in recent years.
Thanks to the Future Plan Fund, we’ve been working with coastal communities to create new, income-generating activities which also promote conservation and biodiversity in the coastal environment, such as seaweed farming, mangrove reforestation and sustainable fishing practices.
This has already meant an increase of income for local communities, and will have a huge, positive long-term impact for marine and coastal ecosystems, protection from climate-related threats and promotion of carbon sinks.
Green Skills for Ghana
Young people in Ghana face huge challenges to earning a living. Youth unemployment is higher than for older people and large numbers of young people are under-employed. Young women in particular struggle to secure safe work which pays a living wage.
Meanwhile, Ghana's natural resources have suffered heavily, often because of human activities. Combined with increasing climate and weather hazards, this has led to widespread biodiversity loss and environmental degradation.
Our three-year project has given women and young people the chance to start a new livelihood in the green economy. Through environmentally-sustainable work or enterprise, young Ghanaians have gained the skills and financial stability to build a better future for themselves.
Harnessing the power of bees
Living near the forest, Gifty’s family were plagued by wild bees and sometimes driven from their home for weeks at a time. So when Gifty joined the Green Skills for Ghana project, she deliberately chose the beekeeping course. Now, she has 45 beehives and produces 90kg of organic honey a year.
“The beekeeping training changed my life for the better,” she says. “Once upon a time, we resolved to move away from this community because the bees made our lives so miserable. Today, I will gladly stay because my family’s lives now depend on the bees."