Around the world, millions of people are living in hidden crises driven by climate change — from catastrophic droughts in East Africa to devastating floods in Bangladesh. And women and girls are bearing the brunt.
That’s why for our Christmas 2019 appeal, we are asking supporters to give a regular donation to help us provide support to women and girls who are living on the edge of survival.
Our ‘She can’t wait’ appeal tells stories of women and girls in Somaliland and Bangladesh who have survived climate change-related crises and the stories of the ActionAid workers who have helped them rebuild their lives.
Read on to find out more about the appeal and how your donations to ActionAid will help those affected by climate change.
Why are Somaliland and Bangladesh the focus countries of ActionAid’s Christmas appeal this year?
This year, we decided to focus our Christmas appeal on ‘hidden’ emergencies – crises that are not currently making front page news. Both the drought in Somaliland and the flooding in Bangladesh are prolonged or regularly occurring crises, rather than one single devastating emergency.
We wanted to shine a light on the women and girls who are still living through the effects of these ongoing crises, to remind people that even though these emergencies are no longer making headlines, they still need our support and can’t wait any longer.
Most importantly, we are led by our country partners in the global south when deciding where the need is greatest. Our country programme staff work closely with their local communities so we know that the people in Bangladesh and Somaliland are in need of support right now.
However, we understand that the impacts of climate change are being felt universally and these two countries are just two examples of how climate change is devastating the world’s poorest people first.
What is ActionAid doing to help women and girls trapped in hiddden crises?
In both Somaliland and Bangladesh, ActionAid is working directly with local women and girls to provide support and save lives.
How can Somaliland be experiencing a drought when it does rain there?
While parts of Somaliland are currently experiencing heavy rain, over the last three years Somaliland has experienced recurrent droughts due to shorter rainy seasons and more sporadic and unpredictable rainfall.
According to multiple sources, daily maximum temperatures in Somaliland have risen by about a degree over the last 30 or so years, to about 34 degrees Celsius (93 degrees Fahrenheit).
It is estimated that these recurrent droughts led to 70% of livestock in Somaliland dying, which has severely affected the long-term livelihoods of many rural families and farmers.
The decreasing predictability of the weather makes it more and more difficult for vulnerable people to plan ahead and to adapt to changes in it.
Evidence and monitoring of the historic and current rainfall and drought patterns in Somaliland can be found at the Ministry of Environment and Rural Development, the Somalia Water and Land Information Management service (FAO-SWALIM)1, various United Nations sources and academic sources.
What is the current status and situation of the young women and children featured in the appeal materials?
Our team’s visit to Somaliland took place in July 2019, and Hibo Adam (Community Empowerment and Engagement Officer) and other members of staff from ActionAid Somaliland regularly visit the camps to deliver distributions and work with and train women’s coalition members.
The women’s coalitions represent ActionAid within the camps and if there is ever a problem or an issue, it will be reported back to ActionAid via these groups.
Our team’s visit to Bangladesh took place in October 2019, and similarly our teams at ActionAid Bangladesh are working with women and girls locally to provide support and training.
Isn’t poverty being caused by overpopulation?
Poverty is caused by a range of complex factors including inequality, economic conditions and humanitarian emergencies.
In some parts of the world, children die at a much younger age because of malnutrition and insufficient access to medical care.
In poorer families, children act as form of security. They often help out at home or work to contribute to the family income as there is little welfare available.
Families in crisis try to manage the well-being of their children to the best of their ability. At ActionAid, we believe that everyone regardless of the number of children they have, has a right to food, shelter and the other essentials that they need to survive.
Why not put women on the contraceptive pill?
ActionAid’s main role in family planning is to empower women and girls and to ensure they have access to a spectrum of options.
We never enforce decisions about women and girls’ bodies on them.
Instead, we challenge practices that deny them control over their lives and we ensure women and girls have full access to their sexual and reproductive rights.
What is ActionAid’s position on climate change?
ActionAid recognises that climate change has devastating impacts for the poorest people in the world, particularly women and girls.
Extreme patterns of weather – caused by rising global temperatures – are destroying livelihoods and displacing communities from their homes around the world.
The poorer people are, the harder it is to recover from failed harvests, destroyed homes, water scarcity and deepening health crises.
It has been estimated that climate change impacts could push more than 100 million more people into poverty by 20302.
Despite historically being the least likely to contribute to rising CO2 emissions, people living in poverty are often the worst affected by global warming. Meanwhile, many of the world’s richest and highest-polluting countries are feeling the impact of climate change the least.
For example, Bangladesh produces just 0.3% of the emissions driving climate change, yet it is one of the countries most severely affected by it3. Almost a fifth of Bangladesh could disappear if sea levels rise by up to a metre, leaving around 30 million people homeless.
How will my donations be spent?
For every pound donated to ActionAid this Christmas, just under 78 pence will go directly towards our work tackling poverty and changing the lives of women and girls.
The projects that we feature in our Christmas appeal, for example the drought in Somaliland and the flooding in Bangladesh, are examples of ActionAid’s work addressing crises that are driven by climate change.
Your donation may not go directly towards these projects, but it will be used where it is needed most to further ActionAid’s general charitable purposes. Your donations could help provide the following.
- Essentials kits for women and girls in a displacement camp, ensuring they have sanitary pads, soap, underwear, washing detergent and a torch.
- Cash transfers for women enabling them to buy life-saving items like food, water and medicine as quickly as possible.
- Building toilets in a displacement camp, allowing hundreds of women and girls to go the toilet safely, hygienically and at any time of the day.
In addition, we have committed to donating five percent of the total cash income raised from our Christmas appeal directly to our programmes in Somaliland and Bangladesh.
We’ve ringfenced this proportion, as on the whole, we want to prioritise appeals with unrestricted income — which give us as much flexibility as possible to deliver support where and when it’s most needed.
We’ve agreed the figure of 5% to cover the costs to the country programme of facilitating and supporting the delivery of content for this appeal.
Is aid getting to those who need it?
Money donated to us does get to the people who need it and we have a strict system of accountability to ensure that donations are used for their intended purpose.
Please get in touch with us if you have any further questions. You can call us on 01460 238 000 or email us at email@example.com.
How can I help women and girls this Christmas?
You can support our Christmas appeal. By supporting our appeal, you could ensure we help more women and girls to rebuild their lives. You could help us provide more food, essentials kits, toilets in Somaliland and around the world — so women and girls who’ve survived climate-change related crises don’t have to wait.
This Christmas, please give a regular gift to help support thousands of women and girls in need.