The Women's Research and Resource Centre (WRRC) Limbe, Cameroon

Rosemary Olive Mbone Enie
Posted May 30, 2010 from Tanzania

The Women ‘s Research and Resource Centre (WRCC)

“Building Sustainable Communities, Relationships and Self Reliance to Support Grassroots Technology Transfer for Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation Measures”

About WRRC: The Women’s Research and Resource Centre (WRRC), is a joint initiative that equips grassroots African women leaders with technology training, business skills, networking support, and seed funding to launch income-generating climate change adaptation and mitigation projects across Africa. WRRC is designed to move women and communities out of poverty by supporting women’s livelihoods with sustainable climate change adaptation and mitigation technologies and skills. The Women’s Research and Resource Centre equips African grassroots women leaders with climate change adaptation and mitigation technology training, business skills, networking support, and seed funding to launch viable community based adaptation and mitigation projects across Central and West Africa.

The WRRC partners work to provide African women the opportunity to gain the skills, technologies, best practices, and support networks they need to launch income-generating sustainable climate change adaptation and mitigation projects in their communities. The WRRC is a collaborative venture among international organizations, each bringing a unique set of expertise. Their combined experiences, partnerships, and insights enhance each other’s ability to achieve broader impact.

The Need: Women and Climate Change Throughout the history of the African continent, women have played a central role as stewards of water, agriculture, environment and natural resource management. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), “women are most often the collectors, users and managers of water in the household as well as farmers of crops. African women produce about 80 percent of food in the continent. Women and children provide nearly all the water for the household in rural areas.” In urban areas, women are often in charge of accessing clean water and ensuring sanitation for their families. Women hold the knowledge around quality, location, reliability and storage of local water resources. * When water sources are contaminated or unavailable, women and children can be hit the hardest. Women may be required to expend more labor collecting, storing, and protecting their water source, which can leave them with little or no time for other activities, like getting an education or creating a livelihood. * The UN estimates that in some parts of Africa, women and children spend up to eight hours a day collecting water. * Water-related diseases are also a common challenge to women, who are often responsible for caring for sick ones and have to step in for those who are ill and unable to work * More than half of the 1.2 billion people who do not have access to water are women and girls. In Africa 300 Million people still lack access to clean and safe Water and 313 Million still lack access to adequate Sanitation. For some 30 years, international and UN global conferences have repeatedly recognized that effective sustainable water/natural resources management depends on engaging women at all levels of decision-making and implementation. It is now recognized that the exclusion of women from the planning of water supply and sanitation schemes is a major cause of their high rate of failure. However, women have often been denied their human right to water and other natural resources and are continually excluded from key decision-making roles, which have led to environmental destruction, deterioration of human health, and the feminization of poverty. According to the FAO, too often the technologies that are available to women do not meet their needs, such as pumps that have handles they cannot reach or public wells that are in an inappropriate location. The Women Research and Resource Centre creates the space for women to exchange climate change adaptation and mitigation technologies that are both practical and attainable Why Africa Africa contributes only 3.4 percent of global carbon emissions yet suffers most from Climate Change impacts. The Most Vulnerable Countries (MVCs) and the Most Vulnerable Groups (MVGs) with over 70 percent of them, women suffer most from climate induced disasters. Africa faces some of the most acute and devastating water problems in the world, as a result of high levels of poverty, population increases, droughts and climatic variability, inadequate coverage of water services, poor management and inefficient utilization. All these have climate change related impacts and affect women and other vulnerable groups more. There is a growing need for women’s leadership in Africa with regards to water and other natural resource management. Many women have already taken initiative—WRRC ensures that number continues to grow across the Central and West African sub region.

Project Description: The WRRC program consists of three main phases: Design, Training, and Implementation.

During the Design Phase, the WRRC team:

Selects 30 Grassroots women participants in teams of two to participate in a 2 weeks workshop /conference Customizes a training curriculum based on the specific adaptation or mitigation measures in the community represented Engages selected participants in an information-gathering and preparation process through facilitated conference calls, web-based tools, and pre-training assignments During the Training Phase, participants:

Attend a 2 weeks workshop/ conference to learn proven and appropriate climate change adaptation and mitigation technologies and business skills to address the climate related challenges in their communities Receive training from highly-skilled African women trainers who specialize in the training topics Gain the ability to 1) Design and implement a water service project from start to finish; 2) Create right livelihoods and teach others to do the same; and 3) Develop long-lasting support networks with other women climate change advocates under the Women Environment and Climate Action Network (WECAN) Draft a project proposal and receive seed capital to launch a climate change adaptation or mitigation project in their communities. During the Implementation Phase, the WRRC team provides support to participants including:

On-the-ground site visits and refresher trainings • Virtual web-based mechanisms for continued peer support • Access to additional funding and private foundations • Pairing with WECAN peers specializing in issues of environment and climate change , policy and development WRRC supports all participants to apply their training and draw upon their support network to launch climate change adaptation or mitigation projects that have the potential to be income-generating. The WRRC offers tangible support in the following ways: • Refresher Courses in technology transfer, business development, action planning and leadership building • Provides access to web-based technology • Facilitates access to International Micro-lending Institutions • Raises women’s visibility • Trains and supports participants in using online communication forums where they workshop each other’s project proposals and exchange information and resources into the long-term. The Next Step: Cameroon Vision Trust and the Society for Women Empowerment Education and Training (SWEET) Africa Foundation has acquired a 3 acre land in the Coastal Town of Limbe, South West Region of Cameroon to establish the first Women Research and Resource Centre (WRRC) in Central and West Africa for the Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation Technology Transfer. Project Partners: • Women 2020 Leadership Caucus, of the State of the World Forum USA • Climate Change Network (CCN) Nigeria • Global Water Sustainability Forum (GWSF) World Pulse, USA • Society for Women Empowerment Education and Training (SWEET) Africa Foundation, Cameroon Office • Cameroon Vision Trust, NGO, Limbe, Cameroon This document is prepared by, Ms Rosemary Olive Mbone Enie Cameroonian Geologist/Gender Ambassador CEO/President SWEET Africa Foundation Executive Director, Cameroon Vision Trust International Coordinator WECAN Topical Curator, GWSF World Pulse P O Box 1075, Limbe, South West Region, Cameroon Tel: 23799580292 website:


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