Environment, climate change and disaster
Climate change and natural disasters hit hardest among those already suffering from poverty and exclusion. We help communities recover from natural disasters, increase their resilience to climate change and strengthen their infrastructure, both natural and man-made.
Reducing the risk of disasters is key to many of our projects and essential to truly sustainable development. Our projects help:
- protect ecosystems
- plan for and reduce the risk of disasters
- diversify incomes and livelihoods
- advocate for environmental policies
- adapt to climate change
Case study: Vietnam
The Mekong Delta has long been known as south-east Asia’s rice bowl, producing 50 per cent of Vietnam’s rice. But climate change is having a devastating impact on the region, with rising sea levels pushing salt water inland to pollute previously fertile rice paddies.
Ms Nguyen Thi Le comes from Soc Trang province – one of the poorest in the Delta. Like most of her neighbours, Ms Le has always farmed rice, but salt water damaged her crops so badly that her yield was almost non-existent. She could barely cover the cost of food and considered pulling her children out of school because she couldn’t cover their tuition.
Like so many others, all Ms Le needed was education and access to capital. Through our micro-financing scheme, Ms Le borrowed AUD$400 and learned how to start a small business that was more climate resilient. She began planting nang, a grassy plant popular as a vegetable. Nang thrives in brackish waters and provides a higher economic return than rice, creating a more sustainable livelihood for Ms Le and her family.
During harvest, Ms Le and her husband rise at 1am to collect the young nang shoots, trim them and pack them in 100kg bundles for the traders to collect at 4am. Despite the hard work, Ms Le jokes about her accomplishments and looks towards the future.
“Growing nang is hard work – even harder than growing rice,” said Ms Le. “But thanks to the loan, we can afford school fees and buy new shoes for the kids. For the first time we’re not living day to day and we are able to cover our monthly loan repayments. Next year, I’ll be applying for an even larger loan.”
Want to help more families like Ms Le’s adapt to climate change?