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Rural Action for Climate Resilience



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Partnering with rural community-based organisations and faith leaders to build social, economic and environmental resilience to climate change.


Although rural populations are the most vulnerable to climate change, they are the least prepared for the impact. They are not able to participate in discussions on how to respond to climate change, and their indigenous knowledge systems are often ignored when challenges and solutions are debated.

The Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute (SAFCEI), and, Heinrich Böll Stiftung (HBF) are responding to this challenge, in a project funded by both the European Union and HBF. Rural communities in the Eastern, Western, and Northern Cape are being supported to put their ideas into practice and to make their voices heard in local and national debates on climate change.



The project recognises that community-based organisations (CBOs), advice offices, and faith leaders have an important role – to strengthen the ability of their communities to protect their basic needs, including water and food. Women and young people, in particular, will be provided with support to build their capacity, make decisions and identify strategies in response to the climate crisis. 

We will:

Help rural communities to understand what is meant by climate change, why it affects women more than men, and how they can learn to cope. This will be done through learning events, regional workshops, education materials, and small grants that enable local learning actions, where this information can be shared. We will also assist different rural communities to connect, and with decision-makers and experts – to share experiences, influence decisions, and learn together.

Select eight rural community partners who will receive financial and technical resources that will enable them to put their projects in place in response to climate change.  

Help to ensure that rural community partner voices are heard and that they are involved in discussions about climate change that are organised by the government both locally and nationally. Journalism training will be provided to young people, who will be able to tell their own stories of climate change and resilience in national and local media – including on radio, in newspapers, and online. Rural community partners will be able to connect online with each other and civil society organisations, to exchange information about climate change-related policy and how decisions are made. 

Ensure rural communities can contribute towards South Africa’s climate change response, described in the National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy (NCCAS) and the updated draft Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) documents, and to push for the rights described in our Constitution – including the right to sufficient food, nutrition and health, a healthy environment, and social security.




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