Challenge SOS Kinderdorf

SOS Kinderdorf

Small solutions – big change: strong women for environment

How might we foster ownership and innovation in ideas for green jobs from vulnerable women (project beneficiaries) in Ethiopia and Uganda, so that they can improve their livelihoods through their circular businesses by 2023?

In our project we are confronted with two big problems, one is the poverty and discrimination under which our beneficiaries (mainly vulnerable women and their families) are living. The other is degradation of the environment – like forest destruction, soil erosion, air pollution and the growing issue of plastic waste. Unsustainable initiatives like using wood or charcoal as energy source not only promotes  pollution but also puts the wellbeing of beneficiaries at risk. 

Many of our beneficiaries are single women with children. They are confronted with a multidud of challenges – discrimination against women makes them even more difficult. There is a lack of ownership and the need to find solutions that actually fit the needs and resources of vulnerable women and their families. Due to the current situation of COVID-19 the already meagre income of women declined even more.

  • The Project GREEN+ already focuses on raising awareness for environment protection and green jobs. We are developing an innovation incubator in both countries. However, what we struggle most is triggering creative ideas from beneficiaries themselves, and flexible funding mechanism.
  • In the community we work, women face gender-based violence. They face even harder challenge to access jobs, with home chores and responsibility to raise children. Men are often not reliable, regarding community and family issues.
  • We have been running various projects with vulnerable women in the community, therefore, we have  high acceptance by them, and we also understand the dynamics of the community.
  • Evidence shows that women’s empowerment and advancing gender equality can deliver results across a variety of sectors, including food and economic security and health. It can also lead to more environmentally friendly decision making at household and national levels.
  • We do know that female economic participation and benefits do not guarantee control over income.
  • We have made community capacity assessment, and we will be building on that.
  • We know that briquette can be produced with lower cost than charcoal, besides the other benefits, so that the community will accept it.

Families remain in poverty, and keep on being engaged in unsustainable income generating activities, that will worsen the situation of the environment in their regions and their health, as their future possibilities. Waste will become an even bigger issue also contributing to the pollution of the environment. Other stakeholders may come in, taking away the waste as resource without the vulnerable families benefitting at all. Or, the impact on the environment and on the peoples’ living condition could reach to a certain critical point where it will be difficult to reverse.

Above all there is the risk of women being left out. And the consequence of no development towards more gender equality. Without including women  we will miss the knowledge/capability of women to develop solutions (as men and women experience climate change differently).

In terms of Output:

  • Innovative Ideas for sustainable initiatives that come from the beneficiaries themselves, that are owned by them and fit to their circumstances.
  • Sustainable income alternatives for beneficiaries.
  • Small scale circular businesses, that prevent, reduce or recycle waste in Uganda and Ethiopia.

In terms of Outcome:

  • The economic situation and the well-being of vulnerable women and their families improved.
  • The negative impacts on the local environment because of income generating activities and waste pollution decreased.
  • Vulnerable female and their families live from their circular businesses in a safe environment.
  • Circular business solutions that are aplicable in towns and semi-rural areas in Ethiopia and Uganda.
  • Coaching to trigger ideas. How to create an inspiring innovative environment, where local innovation can happen.
  • Community owned and government supported gainful job.
  • Resource mobilization strategies
  • Ideas/ tools on how to empower women as green entrepreneurs.
  • Potential for scaling up solutions that work, knowledge-exchange through working with an international organization.
  • Possibility to co-create, plan and pilot approaches with SOS and their beneficiaries.
  • Gain a better insight into the needs/resources of beneficiaries (“know your client´s/user´s needs!”)

Internal Stakeholders: 

  • SOS kinderdorf and its international partner organization staff are the internal stakeholders.
  • Lainer Victoria is the pilot lead for this project.

External Stakeholders: 

  • Donor/Local govt/religion leaders/CSOs are the external partners
    • They can be reached probably through sharing with them summary of this project
  • female beneficiaries (clients)

SOS Kinderdorf

SOS Kinderdorf is represented in 136 countries and operates more than 550 SOS Kinderdörfer and over 1500 other programs in child and youth care and family strengthening. These include kindergardens, schools, social centers, medical centers and emergency aid programs.