Malawi—Climate Just Communities: Malawi

Client: The Scottish Government

Duration: 2023-2025

Region: Sub-Saharan Africa

Country: Malawi

Solutions: Economic Growth Climate

Climate justice is a people-centered, human rights-based approach that aims to share the benefits of equitable global development and the burdens of climate change fairly while building trust between countries. It recognizes that the poor and vulnerable are the first to be affected by climate change—exacerbating existing inequalities—and suffer the most, despite having done little or nothing to cause the problem. The approach builds upon three pillars—distributive justice, procedural justice, and transformative justice, and ensures that local understanding and participatory design are central to delivering highly relevant and sustainable programs.

DAI’s Climate Just Communities (CJC) Malawi project forms part of a flagship program under the Scottish Government’s Climate Justice Fund, which uses this approach to support locally-led community projects in Malawi, Rwanda, and Zambia. Currently, 92 percent of Malawians rely on rain-fed sources of water, which are heavily impacted by floods and droughts. With rising temperatures around the globe, there is an increased risk of drought and late onset of rains affecting food production in the country. The increase in extreme climate events also leaves vulnerable populations at greater risk from cyclones such as Freddy in 2023 with over 500,000 people displaced and 500 confirmed deaths. CJC Malawi uses a participatory approach to developing and delivering climate justice interventions that build community resilience to the material and social effects of climate change.

Following a three-month scoping phase, DAI will design and implement interventions with our local delivery partners to:

  • Empower communities to identify their own priorities to be addressed through climate justice support and build resilience to the local impacts of climate change.
  • Empower the most marginalized people within those communities to take action in building resilience to the local impacts of climate change.
  • Empower communities to advocate for climate justice and local equity.
  • Create long-term, sustainable change within communities in line with the three pillars of climate justice.

DAI’s delivery partners are IIED, LINK Education, LINK Community Development, Water Witness International, and Water Witness Malawi.

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Sample Activities

  • Conduct a needs assessment to identify relevant government (national and local) priorities and an assessment of the current donor landscape to ensure interventions align with and complement existing activities and strategic priorities.
  • Establish an advisory steering group that consists of partner country and local government representatives.
  • Develop a program delivery plan to meet CJC objectives with tailored interventions for marginalized populations in climate-vulnerable communities.
  • Collaborate with the two other lots to contribute to the Climate Justice Fund’s wider theory of change.
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