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Creating fairer, greener livelihoods

Creating greener, fairer economies

Working towards environmentally sustainable development

For World Earth Day, we'd like to tell you about some of our work in the area of environmentally sustainable development. We're working on several projects that help communities grow their economies in environmentally sustainable ways, with new green skills and technology. This means greater productivity and food security while reducing the impact on the environment.

Sherly speaking at a technology fair
Sherly speaking at a local technology fair

Sherly's story

Sherly's story

Sherly is a 17-year-old girl from a village in Lembata. Sherly's mother had left the family when Sherly was only months old. When she was 10 years old, her father passed away and Sherly had to leave school to start supporting herself. This also meant leaving behind her dream of becoming a teacher. Sherly began living with her aunt and her three older siblings, but it was a struggle to earn enough money to cover their basic needs.

When she was 15, Sherly worked as a maid for a year in Lewoleba, the capital city of Lembata. Sherley's employer refused to give her a monthly salary, effectively trapping her while she waited to be paid for her work. Eventually, after receiving her payment, Sherly returned to her home village where she tried to make and sell snacks at the local markets. Having to depend on the land for your sustenance and income can be unreliable, and an extended dry season resulted in a very small harvest.

Sherly was considering moving to Jakarta to try to work as a maid again, when a friend introduced her to our Change Champions programme. Sherly immediately changed her plans and attended the recruitment interview.

The programme aims to provide unemployed young women and men with the life skills, 'green' skills, and business training - including public speaking - needed to launch a small green enterprise and earn a reliable living. Because of the training she received, Sherly now speaks about and sells solar-powered products at technology fairs. Shirley told us, "I want to earn money and stand on my own two feet." With these new skills Shirley can provide for herself and her family.

Green skills for Ghana

Green skills for Ghana

This project aims to create jobs in an environmentally sustainable manner in 60 communities of the Greater Accra and Brong-Ahafo regions, helping 6,000 women and young people improve their employability.

We're providing training on book-keeping and managing investment, and setting up village savings and loans associations to encourage growth in small businesses. The women and young people we're working with receive skills that promote sustainable business, and will be part of our ongoing market assessment that will map the potential for environmentally-friendly businesses and economy.

Women fishing and laughing
Two women collecting seaweed

Sustainable livelihoods in coastal communities

Sustainable livelihood interventions in coastal communities

We’re also working on greener livelihoods in costal communities. The Future Plan Fund supports three projects in Timor Leste, Kenya, and Colombia. The aim of these projects is to promote green economy and sustainable livelihoods, so the communities there can make the most of their resources without risking their future sustenance. Without considering sustainability, activities like over-fishing can lead to a shortage of resources that takes years to recover from.

In the last five years, there has been a decline in fish catch. They fish near the shoreline in shallow water where the fish breeding ground is thus reducing the number of fish.

A fisherman from Shimoni in Kenya.

We're working with communities to develop resource management plans, sustainable fishing strategies, and to strengthen food security. We work to improve understanding of women's and children's contribution to food security, giving fairer access to the results of their work and as a result, more access to decision-making on a local and national scale about coastal resources.

How we're building sustainable livelihoods