We know that as young people, we are facing challenges our prior generations have never faced, and therefore we need to think creatively to find new ways to survive in a world which has increasingly become unequal, unjust, violent and destructive.
From the Field: June 2021
By Kendra Nicolai, Program Officer
June 7, 2021Reading Time: 3 minutes
Climate justice and action to reverse the climate crisis is a burning global topic highly advocated by youth around the world. In response to this urgent agenda, Shadhika has received an opportunity to address “Climate Change as a Girls Rights Issue” through a Posner Center Collaboration Grant.
Educating girls has been regarded as one of the top ways to reverse climate change. A 2021 USAID study published by Dr. Christinia Kwauk found that systemic poverty, gender-based violence, and patriarchal norms create environments where adolescent girls are the most vulnerable to climate change. Dr. Kwauk continues explaining her research: “This includes disruptions to their education, increasing their time poverty, and increasing their rise of early and forced child marriage. Yet, while climate change is experienced most acutely by adolescent girls, ensuring the girls receive 12 years of quality education can be a powerful climate solution because it tackles underlying inequalities that both increase girls’ vulnerability to climate change and help perpetuate its root drivers.”
Research also suggests empowering girls towards education can strengthen present and future climate strategies. Shadhika currently supports girls’ education across 5 states in India through the Supports for Success and Shadhika Scholars grants. This year we are taking things a step further to intentionally invest in girl-led climate action by hiring 5 young women from Shadhika Partner sites, supported and mentored by a climate consultant, to collectively collaborate and create localized, community-based initiatives. The young women interns will then implement the learnings, skills and tools they have created to address the climate crisis in India–especially in their communities–and most specifically around climate justice and its effect on girls.
Shadhika is working with consultant Sayantoni Datta, a social and philanthropic researcher who specializes in transformative community organizing alongside marginalized groups by designing solution-oriented interventions and advocacy. She recently worked on a women’s rights climate change initiative with women and children who have faced violence and sexual exploitation in West Bengal and other areas in India. Ms. Datta was highly recommended to Shadhika through Uddami, one of the Shadhika Partners located in Kolkata, India.
She shares: “We know that as young people, we are facing challenges our prior generations have never faced, and therefore we need to think creatively to find new ways to survive in a world which has increasingly become unequal, unjust, violent and destructive.” The young women interns for this project are located in Vadodara, Delhi, Murshidabad, Birbhum and Farrukhabad. They are working virtually and collaboratively on projects in their specific communities on topics including; waste management, climate and health, water conservation, water scarcity in the agriculture sector and industrial water pollution. Through 2021, the interns and consultant will inform, teach and work alongside the entire Shadhika Scholars cohort to address how climate affects young women directly, while also completing their projects within their communities.Read more