ARROW & DFPA launched the Women and Earth Initiative (WORTH) – a CSO led innovation fund initiative – to tackle climate change & impact women’s lives in Asia Pacific. The Asian Pacific Resource and Research Centre for Women (ARROW) and the Danish Family Planning Association (DFPA) have jointly launched an innovation programme and fund today (Tuesday) in Katowice, Poland, to tackle the catastrophic impact of climate change on women and girls’ sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR).
ARROW, a Malaysia-based NGO that champions women and young people’s SRHR, and DFPA, the Danish member association of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), launched the Women & Earth Initiative (WORTH), on the sidelines of the 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) or COP 24 in Poland. The objective of WORTH is to create a platform, where creative and motivated environmental and climate change civil society organisations (CSO) can develop new and integrated solutions to the cross-cutting issues of gender inequality, lack of SRHR and needs for climate change adaptation.
“Climate change exacerbates the challenges that many poor and marginalised women and girls are already facing due to lack of gender equality – including lack of respect, protection and fulfillment of their sexual and reproductive health and rights,” said Sivananthi Thanenthiran, ARROW’s Executive Director.
“There is an urgent need for action to prevent SRHR-related health impacts, unplanned pregnancies, violations of rights, and to make families resilient to changes in their everyday lives as a result of climate change. We believe we have to tackle these through innovative solutions. With WORTH, we are creating a space where new ideas can emerge, grow and turn into actions for equitable and sustainable development.”
WORTH would initially focus on climate change and environmental CSOs from four of the most disaster-prone countries in Asia Pacific. “Currently it will be implemented in Bangladesh, Myanmar, Pakistan and the Philippines as they are experiencing devastating consequences from climate change,” said Cristina Hanson, International Director from DFPA.
“We are looking for additional funding, which would also cover East Africa, where the situation is also dire. WORTH offers an innovative and holistic approach to a complex and cross-sectoral development issue with massive potential for mutual impact,” Ms Hanson added.
Once CSOs apply, 10-15 participants will be selected to be part of the five-month WORTH innovation training, consisting of online and physical workshops, where new ideas for integrating gender equality, SRHR and climate change adaptation efforts will be developed, tested and improved. After completing the training, participants become eligible to apply for grants from the WORTHfund to give life to realisation and implementation of their innovative idea that has been developed during the training. Each selected participant can obtain funding from USD10,00 to USD 25,000 to implement their idea within the span of one year.
The fund, which will run until 2021, will support the realisation and implementation of innovative projects developed during the labs. The end goal is to analyse these ideas and scale them up for innovative projects regionally and internationally so we can work on global solutions.
“The world is evolving at an unprecedented speed with ever-changing and complex global and political challenges that demand new solutions that cut across sectors. And the goal of WORTH is to do exactly that. We also want policy makers and authorities at the national, regional and international levels to integrate gender equality and SRHR into policies, plans and budgets for environmental sustainability and climate change adaptation,” said Ms Thanenthiran.
The Asian-Pacific Resource and Research Centre for Women is a regional non-profit women’s organisation based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. ARROW strives to enable women to be equal citizens in all aspects of their life by ensuring their sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) are achieved.
The Danish Family Planning Association is Denmark’s largest NGO in the field of sexual and reproductive health and rights. DFPA fights for the right for everyone to make free and well-informed choices about gender, body and sexuality along with health, family planning and abortion. DFPA is the Danishmember association of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, IPPF.