Smallholder agriculture, the mainstay of most African countries is the sector that is most vulnerable to climate change. This sector is dominated by women farmers who account for over 80 percent of the continent’s food production. Climate change affects agriculture, food security, water, energy and health, bringing about frequent and severe climatic shocks that disproportionately affect women. This is because of their limited adaptive capacity and high levels of vulnerability.
The NEPAD Agency’s Gender Climate Change and Agriculture Support Programme (GCCASP) is a five year programme designed to support regional and country level interventions. Under the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme, the GCCASP empowers rural women and other vulnerable populations to cope better with the adverse effects of climate change, while enhancing their resilience to shocks.
On 8 September, stakeholders at a meeting in Lusaka, Zambia, convened to enhance their partnerships and agree on implementing the GCCASP at regional level. The meeting was organised by the NEPAD Agency and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA). Among the meeting participants were representatives from the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation, which has been sponsoring the programme from the onset. Other participants included both non-participating countries and countries that are part of the implementation phase of GCCASP – Cameroon, Ethiopia, Malawi, Niger and Rwanda.
The participating countries will see a total of 170,000 women (36,000 in Cameroon, Ethiopia and Niger; 50,000 in Malawi and 12,000 in Rwanda) benefiting from agricultural support in various interventions against the negative impacts of climate change. The four main intervention areas are: closing of institutional gaps; capacity building for women smallholder farmers; creation and strengthening of women platforms, and; increased investments in up-scaling successful and innovative practices.
As the lead driver for the GCCASP, the NEPAD Agency continues to provide technical support to the countries implementing the programme, as well as mobilising the much needed resources for the delivery of results.
So far a wealth of knowledge has been gathered in the five countries currently implementing GCCASP, through desk reviews, case studies, workshop reports, consultation reports and programme documents. This has helped to deepen the understanding of the many challenges faced by women farmers affected by climate change. The information generated by GCCASP has also helped to identify country priorities and specific intervention areas.
Moreover, best practices in mitigating the effects of climate change are also being identified from the studies conducted in the countries. These best practices will also be shared regionally as well as up-scaled within countries.