Stichting IUCN Nederlands Comité (IUCN National Committee of the Netherlands Foundation)

HOPE in a Changing Climate: Future proof communities for children

Lead Organization

Stichting IUCN Nederlands Comité (IUCN National Committee of the Netherlands Foundation)

Amsterdam, Provincie Noord-Holland, Netherlands

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Project Summary

Madagascar. The name probably makes you think of the animated movie or the idyllic African island in the Indian Ocean that is on your vacation bucket list. Few realize, however, that the average Malagasy is 40% poorer today than in 1960. Twenty million people, three quarters of its population, live on less than $1.90 USD/day. With few non-agricultural income opportunities, the current generation will exhaust their last available natural resources within a decade, leaving their children even less able to sustainably raise a family.Our tested, integrated, landscape and community approach tackles the problem of endemic poverty inherited from generation to generation. The approach establishes networks of community-owned social ventures that: (i) provide a direct source of income to members, (ii) direct profits to finance community-level services (education, nutrition, drinking water and sanitation), and (iii) apply practices that regenerate climate change-resilient landscapes for future generations.

Problem Statement

Poverty is not simply ‘those that live on less than $1.90 per day’. Poverty means hunger, no shelter, no education, no doctor when you are ill. While poverty occurs around the world, the highest concentrations are observed in the global south. Madagascar is the 7th most impoverished nation with 75% of its population living under the poverty line. With average incomes less than $1.90 a day, families must make hard choices to survive. In reality, this means:(i)Slash-and-burn agriculture, to make a short-term good harvest from the fertile ashes (instead of investing in soil quality); (ii)Putting children to work at household farms to save money on laborers/machines (instead of sending their children to school); and (iii)Using drinking water from polluted nearby pools (instead of buying filters/filtered water). These desperate moves to save money only result in more poverty because:(i)Yields decline rapidly after a couple of seasons (due to depletion of nutrients, erosion and extreme weather events) (ii)Children are deprived of education (currently only 30% of children complete primary grades), leaving them with even fewer future opportunities(iii)Waterborne diarrhea, in combination with malnutrition, has led to a stunting rate of 50%. Poverty does not have to be a permanent state. It can be tackled through an integrated community approach that provides immediate income and access to social services while building a resilient green economy based on healthy ecosystems for future generations

Solution Overview

Our Integrated Community Development Approach to tackle poverty is based on three pillars:a)Development of social service structures (green education, nutrition, drinking water, and sanitation) owned, managed, and financed at the community level;b)Establishing and supporting community-owned social ventures that: (i) provide a direct income to employees and out-growers, (ii) improve ecosystem functions, and (iii) direct profits to a community fund that (1) pays out to social service providers, (2) provides loans to families in need, and (3) provides loans to new communities and social ventures;c)Creating community, regional, and national-level enabling governance structures.The above approach allows families to send their children to school and earn a sustainable income now, while creating a resilient green economy and environment that can employ their children.During the five-year project, the Community Development Approach will be scaled to 456 communities, directly impacting the lives of 2.7 million people. It is our target to increase per capita income 400%, to $8 USD per day. This will be achieved by establishing (on average) 3 community-owned social ventures per community that directly employ 20 FTE and provide work to 200 out-growers. At the project level, this means creating a network consisting of 1,350+ social ventures (creating 27,000 FTE and improving the income of 270,000 out-growers) in different climate zones around the country. This also secures the climate resilience of the Community Fund, as it spreads risks and allows payouts to communities and families hit by disaster.

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Project Funders

  • Government of Germany, Japan and USA (among others)

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