A bit about Dorcas
Dorcas, a member of the EU-CORD network, is actively engaged in building resilient communities across 14 countries in Eastern Europe, Eastern Africa, and the Middle East. Their work encompasses humanitarian aid and community support during crises, as well as long-term solutions to combat poverty and social exclusion. Dorcas stands out for their commitment to local leadership, accountability, and a genuine concern for the environment, making them a strong ally in the fight against climate change.
Climate Resilience and Social Protection
Dorcas initiated their first climate-related projects in Eastern Africa and has since expanded its efforts. The organization’s focus lies in climate-smart agriculture, emphasizing integrated farm plans (or Plan Intégré du Paysan (PIP)) developed by farming households themselves. Collaborating with Wageningen University, Help a Child, and ZOA, they have worked to introduce the PIP-model and other climate-smart agriculture practices such as conservation farming or agroforestry.
Acknowledging the limitations of these types of adaptation, Dorcas strives for structural changes that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. A forthcoming report produced by Dorcas will underscore the need for a multi-faceted transformation at various levels and by diverse actors, addressing both the causes and consequences of climate change.
At the individual and community levels, Dorcas also promotes energy self-sufficiency and fuel-efficient cookstoves. These cookstoves, utilizing locally sourced bio briquettes, have minimal health impacts, aid forest preservation, and support entrepreneurial activities, such as micro-entrepreneurs engaged
in briquette production and sales. These initiatives blend ‘public ownership’ with ‘private management,’ ensuring community members have equitable access to vital resources.
To strengthen climate resilience at individual (household) and community level , Dorcas projects encompass food and cash assistance, mental health and psychosocial support, integrated water resource management, livelihood diversification, community support through self-help groups, village saving and lending associations, climate awareness, and more. These efforts strengthen resilience at both the household and community levels, preparing individuals to confront climate-related challenges effectively.
In their upcoming report, Dorcas will advocate for heightened attention and financial investment to adaptive social protection, equipping vulnerable populations with the means to bolster their climate resilience. This approach empowers those most affected by climate change to not only weather its impacts but also contribute to structural change and sustainable solutions.
Use the interactive map to find out more about what projects and initiatives Dorcas are implementing across the world.
An Upcoming Report on Climate Resilience: Brief Overview
From Silos to Synergies:
Dorcas emphasizes the need to transition from siloed approaches, where social protection, climate-change adaptation, and disaster risk reduction were typically handled separately. The report highlights the potential for greater integration and collaboration between humanitarian organizations, government agencies, community social protection actors, and climate activists. This shift toward adaptive social protection for climate resilience is crucial, and the message resonates across these sectors.
Support and Financing for Loss and Damage:
The report touches on the concept of “Loss and Damage.” While the current focus is primarily on acknowledgment, Dorcas acknowledges the need to address the amount, responsible parties, and disbursement mechanisms. The underlying message encourages moving away from divisive perspectives, fostering a common and just approach that enables all to coexist within planetary boundaries while meeting social foundation needs.
Enabling the Most Vulnerable to Bounce Back:
Dorcas advocates for the notion of “bouncing back,” meaning that communities affected by climate-induced stresses and shocks should not only withstand these challenges but also recover effectively. This concept aligns with preventive, protective, promotive, and transformative protection strategies, and the report links it to the disaster risk management framework, emphasizing transformative anticipatory social protection.
Aligning with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Doughnut Model:
Dorcas underscores the importance of connecting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the “leave-no-one-behind” (LNOB) principle, and the Doughnut model. This holistic approach aims to establish a social foundation or protection floor for all while operating within planetary boundaries. The economic doughnut model, as proposed by Kate Raworth in “Doughnut Economics,” offers a comprehensive framework that aligns social and planetary boundaries, in harmony with the SDGs and the principles of leaving no one behind. This interconnected approach seeks to create an economic system that caters to both environmental sustainability and social equity, fostering a more resilient and inclusive world.
Policy brief on Climate Resilience at COP28
On the build up to COP28, Dorcas partnered with the Maastricht University to produce a policy brief with the purpose of adding to the debate on climate resilience at COP28. They propose two statements, based on years of experience in the humanitarian aid sector and scientific research, alongside concrete policy recommendations:
- Make social protection a key pillar in the battle against climate change
- Create a focus on preventive social protection in low-income countries within anticipatory action
Both of these initiatives are geared towards bolstering the resilience of communities most severely impacted by climate change, empowering them to take more effective strides towards climate adaptation.
Read the policy brief in full here.
In Tanzania, Dorcas has implemented a clean cooking energy project in two districts of the Arusha region in cooperation with local businesses, local communities, and knowledge and government actors. The outcome was a clean cooking supply chain based on improved cooking stoves fuelled by pellets produced from local biomass.
Within the project, small and medium-sized enterprises were supported to increase the availability and sale of pellets and improved stoves. This increased their income and allowed the wider community to purchase pellets and stoves. The future availability of biomass to produce pellets was secured by training farmers to restore the environment using a tree species native to the area. This happened in combination with advocating for environmental conservation and reforestation. A pay-as-you-go and lease combination was deployed to make the use of improved stoves and pellets as accessible and inclusive as possible. Clean cooking awareness in the project area further helped to increase the sale and use of the stoves and pellets.
Fikru Tarekegn, Country Director of Dorcas Ethiopia, describes: ‘Borena is located in the southern part of Ethiopia, which is known for pastoralism and drought. The frequency of drought has increased over the recent years due to climate change. There was no rain for the last two-and-a-half years, and this caused a huge problem in the area. As a result, more than 3.3 million livestock died. As the economy is dependent on livestock, the life and livelihood of the community were disrupted which resulted malnutrition, psychosocial problems, to deal with unpreferred coping mechanisms and migration. Unfortunately, the recent rain in the area was also a disaster as it came in big volume and became a flood. The flood has also killed the animals that survived the drought, and it brought water borne diseases.’
When the high intensity of rain came after two and-a-half years of drought, the landscape may have looked very healthy and green for a period of time, but this may give wrong impression. The livestock continued to die after the rainfall due to the flooding. Additionally, it was also thought that the livestock was also possibly dying because they were no longer used to the large amounts of water and grass and their intestines could not cope with this.
Rural water schemes in Siaya are typically managed by community water committees. However, due to poor management structures, limited capacities, challenges with revenue collection, lack of accountability and unviable water tariff setting, many schemes are unsustainable. This project addressed the above by adopting a “Public Ownership, Private management’’ (POPM) model through a PPP approach encompassing Dorcas, Maji Milele and the County Government of Siaya.
The objective of this project is to create evidence that this management model will lead to sustainable water supply, improved service levels and will turn water schemes currently not commercially viable into profitable schemes. Other distinguishing elements include use of pre-paid meters; use of loyalty points to provide sanitation and hygiene products and creating open defecation free zones through use of Community-Led Total Sanitation approach. Additionally, the project will promote gender equality (through increasing opportunities for women to participate in leadership, decision-making and entrepreneurship ventures) as well as inclusiveness of the poor and vulnerable through provision of free water and community safety nets.
In Kenya, desertification continues to pose a challenge over the years to 84 percent of the Kenyan landscapes that are classified as arid or semi-arid. Edwin Onyancha, Country Director of Dorcas Kenya describes: ‘These lands support 34 percent of the population and 60 percent of livestock. These drylands have seen unprecedented land degradation often exacerbated by effects of climate change, deforestation, loss of biodiversity, overgrazing, over-use of underground water, prolonged droughts and flooding, as well as conflicts over competition for natural resources. Increasingly, livelihoods, especially those related to livestock production and agriculture, continue to be affected as these landscapes become more vulnerable to vagaries of the weather. There is an urgent need to address desertification through broad supportive policies that define management of fragile landscapes to protect biodiversity and natural resources, as well as addressing effects of climate change through both adaptation and mitigation. Regional and cross-border conservation efforts that promote restoration and regeneration of natural resources (forests, woodlands, watershed, nature-based solutions etc.) needs to be supported. These efforts should go alongside strengthening capacities of residents on land use systems, conservation, particularly using indigenous knowledge and modern technologies, as well as implementing strategies to effectively address cross-border and inter-ethnic conflicts.’