The Paran women in Kenya have brought rain back to the outskirts of the Mau Forest. Their groundbreaking work against climate change has given them access to financial resources. They have also been awarded FIMI’s Indigenous Women’s Leadership Award.
One person needs 300 dollars to ignite the food revolution by growing a basic organic food garden. Depending on the country and access to water, this amount can vary from 300 to 1500 dollars.
One of the daily practices of Indigenous Women is to grow a backyard food garden, allowing us to preserve the biodiversity of the land and our native foods. This activity is now at risk because climate change has modified the rain cycle in the communities.
The Paris Agreement signed in 2014 gave the promise of funding in the amount of 10.3 billion for actions against climate change. Where are these resources for the Indigenous Peoples, who protect and live surrounded by 80% of the planet’s biodiversity?
Impact investments for revolutionary projects
The Paran women who live in the outskirts of the Mau Forest, in Kenya, would not stop at a home garden: they dreamed of regenerating a whole forest, and so they did.
Since 1973, the Mau Forest has lost a quarter of its area to deforestation. For the Paran Women, the forest is a great reservoir of water. They know that it feeds numerous rivers, including some that flow all the way to Lake Victoria. Given the scarcity of water caused by the loss of trees, they organized themselves and decided to regenerate the forest.
First, they received 10,000 dollars in financing. They used it to start forest nurseries, and to grow vegetables in their backyards in a way that respects Mother Earth. In doing so, they were able to provide food for their families and to show that they were the best people to take care of the environment. The outskirts of the Mau Forest turned from straw yellow to lush green. Because of this work, they received FIMI’s 2020 Indigenous Women’s Leadership Award, and along with it came more funds to continue their fight against climate change.
“As Indigenous Women we live in fragile and remote environments where we are the caretakers and providers of the family. The impact of climate change falls on our shoulders, which is why it is important for us to be able to access these funds,” explains Lucy Mulenkei, Executive Director of the Indigenous Information Network and Vice President of FIMI. “The best thing is to start with a small garden, which doesn’t require a lot of funding, as a way to show that we can manage our own money. With more funding, women can do much more,” she emphasizes.
Little by little, funds for the environment have become the main financial support for indigenous organizations, representing 40% of the total investments of companies, organizations and funds. However, numerous barriers remain. That is why we are sharing the following:
10 keys to accessing funds to fight climate change
- Read the call carefully to avoid mistakes and correctly identify what you need to apply to the call. The answers to your questions are often all there.
- Develop a proposal with clear and measurable goals.
- Identify how you are going to achieve the proposed objectives.
- Understand what the call asks for and how much money it offers. Note that each call asks for different things. No two calls are the same, because each institution is different.
- Get a bank account for your group or organization to receive the requested funds.
- Start small in order to grow later: if your organization is new to applying for grants, you are more likely to get a project approved for a smaller amount. It is also much easier to manage a small amount of money, allowing you to build a successful financing history and grow from there.
- Identify how you can create a budget for your project.
- The project can serve to strengthen the foundations of your organization: some projects are aimed at building your administrative or organizational skills.
- There are funds that, together with their call or after its launch, organize online sessions to clarify any questions you might have.
- Share knowledge and network: ask around if someone in your community has applied for grants before and could support you in applying for your project. Work with the younger generations, because it is easier for them to use the computer and they have access to the internet.
Feel free to send us any questions you have. Having your answers is key to accessing funding that will then be the seed of change in your community.
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