Building resilience and improving levels of nutrition for families in Bolivia
Bishops’ Appeal allocated funding to Christian Aid and their partner, Soluciones Practicas, to help vulnerable communities in Bolivia to overcome the consequences of deforestation and climate change.
Christian Aid works in Bolivia to build the resilience and improve the quality of life for forest communities in the Bolivian Amazon. These communities are extremely vulnerable to the exacerbated effects of climate change – such as floods and forest fires.
In 2008 and 2014, Christian Aid and local partner organisations responded to some of the worst floods recorded in the Beni region of Bolivia’s Amazon. These floods brought much destruction, including landslides, the destruction of crops, downing of livestock and forest game, demolishing of infrastructure and contamination of natural water sources.
It took many months to restore normal life and for families to return and rebuild their communities. Since then Christian Aid has been looking at how to increase the level of resilience of affected and at risk communities. One main challenge for these families following the 2014 flooding was that they struggled to obtain dry firewood, meaning they were left unable to cook food and boil water (to make it safe for drinking). This led to malnutrition and disease, and has weakened the ability of these families to face the continuing crisis of the changing climate.
During the rainy season of 2015, Christian Aid brought together four partner organisations to work on a pilot project to introduce solar technology into indigenous and Amazonian farming communities. This project involved delivering solar ovens to families along with training on how to use them, and ideas on how to adapt traditional recipes for cooking in the new ovens.
This pilot worked so well that Christian Aid and our partner organisation Practical Solutions have come together to implement this project on a larger scale.
- To teach project participants how to use solar ovens and reduce their use of firewood and gas as fuel for cooking.
- To reduce the amount of time that project participants spend cooking and looking for fuel to cook with, meaning there is more time for activities other than cooking (for example education and income generation).
- To encourage women to start groups to share cooking tips and recipes for their new ovens.
- To share information internationally about the effects of climate change in the Amazon, and how these ovens are helping communities and families adapt to their ever changing climate.
It is expected that this project will reach 40 families in the first phase, which is approximately 240 individuals directly. A further 600 individuals will be reached indirectly.
Project beneficiaries will be selected based upon their need to increase their level of resilience to climatic changes and improve nutrition levels within their families.
Many will often cook with firewood and will have children who are suffering from respiratory problems as a result of burning fuel that has not been fully dried out.
This project has been developed to directly address challenges faced by many communities in the Amazon and it is intended that it will have a profound impact on the lives of these families and their communities as they continue to experience the increased impact of climate change year after year.
This project expects to bring the following benefits to participants:
- Participants will be less dependent on firewood and gas for cooking, especially in times of negative climatic events (such as flooding or heavy rains).
- Participants will use their solar ovens at least three times per week and will share them with their community members.
- The ovens are also transportable and in the case of flooding will be used to provide meals for many families.
- Participating families will be healthier, and children will be less vulnerable to the effects of toxic fumes from the burning of damp wood.
- Participants will reduce the amount of time they spend cooking.
- Participants will have more time to spend on education and income generating activities.