Helping women cope with climate change through intensified goat breeding
This project is helping women in rural Niger to adapt their goat-raising practices to climatic changes already
affecting their traditional lifestyles. The “Intensification of goat breeding to help vulnerable women adapt
to the effects of climate change” activity has helped women to adopt practices regionally that not only
reduce environmental damage, but also increase their income.
Climatic changes have also affected the tradition of goat-breeding, which women rely upon as a key source of cash. Many women have thus been turning to small-scale trade, including of straw and firewood, which can further degrade the environment.
The project, funded by UNDP and being carried out by the local non-governmental organization N’Niyat in
conjunction with local communities, established livestock “food banks,” while a “revolving
loan” system of goats has helped the poorest among the women. Communities have come to understand how some of
their practices had been exacerbating climate change effects, and have changed their lifestyle as a result.
Helping the planet
The adapted goat-breeding strategies have reduced soil degradation in the region, which has helped improve Tamalolo’s ecology and biodiversity. Reducing soil degradation can also contribute to conservation of freshwater sources, which are extremely critical for the arid Sahelo-Saharan region. Better management of natural resources contributes to their conservation, and ensures that they’ll continue into the future.
Augmented crop production and goat-breeding has given people in Tomalolo communities – especially women – more options for making money. Women are empowered through sharing new skills, while the communities’ tackling challenges together has increased social cohesion and confidence. Goat ownership by women has grown by almost one-fifth as a result of the project, while the revolving loan system for goats has assisted women at the bottom of the socio-economic scale to gain an economic foothold.
The project’s best practices, including a vulnerability reduction assessment tool, are being incorporated in broader initiatives. The project has also established a local committee to advocate and lobby for policy support on climate change adaptation strategies, including sessions for sharing knowledge with key government officials.
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