Sunday, May 11, 2008

Adapting in Sudan

From AllAfrica, a longish article about a UN program to encourage climate change adaptation: The days are hot and long in Sudan's arid Northern Kordofan State, between North Darfur and Khartoum, where the farmers say droughts have become more intense and frequent in the past few decades as they sip hot chai in Gereigikh village, about 100km northeast of the state capital, El Obied.

Their village was one of 17 in the drought-prone region whose residents were helped to adapt to climate change over a period of six years (1994-2000) in a project funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), a 178-member international financing body, and the United Nations Development Programme - the only such project funded by the GEF in Africa.

…."While they might not know what the term 'climate change' means, they know the climate has changed over the years, and eight years later [since the project] they have become resilient enough to face anything," said Abdul Rahim Ali, coordinator of the Sudanese Environmental Conservation Society (SECS) in the region.…

…"During the life of the project, the farmers in the participating villages were convinced not to expand horizontally but to concentrate on farming on small patches of land to prevent cutting down trees," said Ahmed Hanafi, who managed the project for the ministry of agriculture for six years.

….A feature of the project was the Village Development Committee, which provided villagers with credit to diversify their livelihoods, like keeping livestock and growing vegetables fed by water pumps; women could obtain loans to set up small businesses selling home made cheese and pasta. The loan schemes were actually the "sugar-coating" to make the community more receptive to the idea of conserving the ecosystem, according to Issam Haj Al-Tahir, the project's community development officer.

…Villagers were also encouraged to invest in goats and sheep as a safety net to tide them over lean seasons or droughts. "The practice has continued; people continue to purchase livestock or other assets through their development committees."…

Satellite image of Nubia, NASA, Wikimedia Commons

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