GA Fellow, Jonathan Joel, explores how gender and climate connect.

In August 2023, GanzAfrica’s Environmental Conservation Fellow, Jonathan Joel, had an insightful learning adventure and took part in a five-day special workshop exploring the linkages between gender and climate change. The training was organized by the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and engaged participants from key agencies, including the Gender Monitoring Office (GMO), Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA), and the Ministry of Environment, to highlight the centrality of gender in addressing climate problems.

But Jonathan wasn’t just there to learn – he also shared his environmental knowledge and made new connections between gender and climate. “I helped others understand tricky topics, like #NET-ZERO, and how we use these concepts to protect our environment,” he explains. This demonstrates how GanzAfrica fellowships are not just about acquiring knowledge and skills; they’re also about informing others and spreading sound ideas to safeguard our planet and its resources, for future generations.

One crucial learning point Jonathan highlights is that women are more vulnerable to climate change impacts. Their central roles in family and community life mean they become first responders in an emergency, such as flooding or other climate-related phenomena. Even day-to-day tasks, like cooking, make women more exposed to indoor pollution and related health risks. This recognition underscores the urgent need for gender-responsive planning: i.e. ensuring women’s needs, viewpoints, and vulnerabilities are addressed to deliver comprehensive support, especially during climate crises. Without proactive gender mainstreaming in policy creation and implementation, outcomes remain partial.

Women leading from the front

The training illuminated another powerful insight – the potential for women to lead in safeguarding our planet. As Jonathan observes, “I’ve learned how gender can be mainstreamed, how women can act, lead, and make strong decisions,” reinforcing the need for women to be at the forefront, guiding decisions in all areas of development. Recognizing women’s heightened vulnerability to climate impacts, Jonathan also emphasizes their crucial role in countering discrimination through active participation.

“From policy creation and implementation to community interventions,” remarks Jonathan, “climate action and adaptation must be gender responsive across all sectors. This is how we will reduce vulnerability and empower women.” This assertion seamlessly aligns with GanzAfrica’s core mission to deliver holistic and sustainable change for all members of the community. By embracing a gender-responsive approach, we take significant strides toward ensuring equality. Jonathan’s insight reinforces the power of cooperation and empathy; through taking the time to understand one another well, we pave the way for a better world.

Jonathan’s words and experiences show that we must care for the environment in ways that create a brighter future for all. We take pride in watching our fellows grow as they grapple with the environmental challenges faced by our generation. As environmental Conservation Fellow, Jonathan is right at the heart of these challenges, crafting inspiring responses to put his learning into action.

Join us Now!
Are you a recent Land Surveying or Geomatics graduate seeking to use your knowledge to deliver transformation that enhances livelihoods and opportunities for land-dependent communities in Rwanda and across Africa? Apply for our Land Survey Fellowship today.