Innovative solutions that increase resilience

The core of IM’s climate work is about increasing people’s resilience against climate change and natural disasters. Here are some examples:

Diversification of income. Extreme weather makes it impossible to rely on the weather cycles that control sowing and harvesting. Climate change is also contributing to more pest attacks. In Nepal, for example, last year’s rice harvests in the southern part of the country were destroyed by extreme rains that caused the crops to rot away. This year, an extreme heat wave has dried out the land, which means that the farmers have not been able to sow wheat as they usually do in the spring. In the Himalayas, rising temperatures and melting glaciers are creating new habitats for pests that destroy farmers’ crops. In Malawi and Zambia, extreme downpours associated with cyclones (which now occur much more frequently than in the past) have washed away people’s homes, livestock and crops, and in other periods land and crops are burnt during extensive drought. People lose the food that would sustain their families throughout the year and income from selling surplus is lost. IM counteracts this by supporting people to change their activities – for example by providing financial support and technical know-how to be able to start pig, goat or chicken breeding or by finding alternative crops that can withstand the new conditions in terms of climate and insect attacks.

Find alternatives to large-scale, industrial farms where only one crop is grown and where chemical pesticides and fertilizers must be used extensively. It may involve running small-scale farms according to traditional methods, based on local conditions and cycle thinking. Investments are being made in Guatemala, among other places, where indigenous people’s knowledge is put to good use. Crops are diversified and methods of producing organic pesticides and composting are taught. Through training, farmers gain knowledge about techniques to resist climate change, about soil fertility, about irrigation and much more, which means that the yield will be greater and the economic situation will be more stable.

Investments in domestic food production to guarantee the right to food. IM supports small-scale farmers, among other things, by creating conditions for women farmers to organize themselves, so that they can produce food that meets local needs. By organizing, the farmers get the opportunity to, for example, receive financial support from local authorities and the opportunity to take out loans to buy or lease land.

Local environmental projects. In Nepal, a dam project is underway where local dams are being upgraded by village communities. Fish are grown in the ponds and the income is shared among the village members. By connecting irrigation facilities to the dams, the conditions are created to grow rice even if the rains do not come as usual. The surplus from each pond then contributes to starting a new pond in the neighboring village – this creates sustainable development, financial security and the ability to withstand extreme weather.

Increased economic resilience. Climate change is causing destroyed or reduced harvests and deteriorating living conditions, leading to many people being forced to leave their homes and families to work elsewhere. Migrant workers from, for example, India and Nepal are forced to work under often slave-like conditions in, for example, the Middle East in order to send money home to their families. IM works to counteract this by offering people opportunities to train/retrain to be able to find work opportunities closer to home. Examples of this are courses in sewing, electronics, various crafts and business administration.

Tree plantings – which reduces vulnerability to the effects of climate change. Trees can, among other things, protect crops against drought and torrential rain.