Rainmatter Foundation and Gram Vikas partner to localise climate resilience in Odisha and Jharkhand


By GV News Desk

1 August 2023

Gram Vikas receives Rainmatter Foundation funding to enhance rural communities’ capacities to undertake climate-resilient actions across 1000 Gram Panchayats in Odisha and Jharkhand.

The five-year ‘Localising Climate Resilience’ initiative will focus on enabling the local governance system to adopt processes contributing to this outcome. It will explore pathways to demonstrate climate-sensitive value chain measures in agriculture and non-farm production systems.

Sameer Shisodia, the CEO of the Rainmatter Foundation, said of the partnership, “Gram Vikas has a long history of work in water, livelihoods and other aspects of development across Odisha and a strong base of social capital. As we focus on bringing a strong intersectional focus to solve the climate crisis, Gram Vikas’ experience with the community and ecological issues will be of immense value.”

Gram Vikas Executive Director, Liby Johnson, noted that the partnership is a new step forward for the organisation, “This partnership will motivate us to look beyond the limited, comfortable ways of addressing issues, to take up the “uncertain” and the “uncomfortable” in a rational and effective manner.”

A multidimensional framework for climate resilience

The initiative will record evidence of climate change and its impact on the lives and livelihoods of rural communities, identify synergies between poverty reduction and climate resilience goals, and engage with governments for policy and institutional support for community efforts in climate change adaptation and mitigation.

The intersectional approach is committed to building evidence for broader use in similar contexts, co-creating Village Climate Action Plans with communities, and influencing governments to adapt best practices into their programmes.

Foregrounding the importance of fostering climate resilience at the grassroots, Shisodia said, “We believe that the climate problem is best looked at through the lens of a community understanding and taking ownership of various dimensions of their place, adopting solutions that are ecologically sound and resilient. Partnerships such as these go a long way towards figuring out how to do this best.”

Johnson elaborated on the comprehensiveness of the approach, “We will understand the linkages between production, distribution and consumption in the overall context of secure and sustainable natural resources and human capabilities.”

Gram Vikas will design and host a Fellowship programme for Social Action Fellows with a climate perspective, raising capacity for effective climate change-related planning and management and supporting community and institutions.

Evidence to sustain long-term change

The Foundation hopes that the partnership helps communities achieve long-term change. “We would love to see Gram Vikas help the community access help and knowledge to address these needs and gaps both from its expertise and that available across the broader ecosystem, thus enabling long-term, sustainable, ground-up change,” said Shisodia.

The initiative will support communities in measuring their actions’ impact on sustained change and policy influence. It will establish a statistical tool to be managed by the Gram Panchayats to measure social, economic, and ecological progress towards communities’ climate-resilient action.

Gram Vikas will engage with research and technology institutions for knowledge development and management. It will disseminate stories from the ground on the community’s preparedness, adaptation, and mitigation efforts to the vagaries of climate and its effectiveness.

Johnson said Gram Vikas’ partnership with Rainmatter Foundation will produce knowledge and demonstrate practices to benefit the development sector, “It will help us imagine ways in which what Gram Vikas has experienced and learned over the past several decades can be used for the benefit of the development sector as a whole.”

Helping communities arrive at a “sense of the house”

Building better understanding, perspective, plans and capabilities of communities to address climate change is at the heart of the efforts.

“We would love to see the community start to self-assess and arrive at, periodically, their “sense of the house” and understand their own needs and gaps.”

Johnson elaborated that “sense of the house” refers to the community’s intuitive sense of what has and has not changed or moved. “It may or may not be quantitative, but it guides our (the solution provider’s) understanding of what we should explore further. These are not simply qualitative indicators (as against the quantitative ones) – it is what people know has happened, and that knowledge needs to be respected and referred to for future use.”

Know more about the project: https://shorturl.at/bjqs8

Gram Vikas’ work fighting climate change has won national and global recognition. Gram Vikas won the 10th Earth Care Awards from JSW and the Times of India group, recognising and championing efforts towards climate mitigation and adaptation. The Local Adaptation Champions Awards by the Global Centre on Adaptation selected Gram Vikas as one of the five nominees in recognising interventions that strengthen local knowledge and skills in pioneering locally-led climate resilience.

A farmer is taking care of his agriculture field for sustainable future.

Photograph by Ajaya Kumar Behera


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