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Ending global poverty begins with women’s rights

The Winds of Change

The Winds of Change

by freeform | May 11, 2010

This
report gathers people’s observations of climate change in Malawi and
what it means for their lives and livelihoods. They describe rising
temperatures, longer drier seasons and more intense and concentrated
rainfall. The report shows how climate change interacts with poverty
and environmental pressures to create a spiral into vulnerability.

Women
in particular suffer; having to spend even more time growing food and
gathering increasingly scarce water and wood. Furthermore, anything
that worsens food insecurity is liable to add both to migration and to
pressures to sell sex that contribute to the spread of HIV and AIDS.

The
observations of farmers and fishing communities match up well with what
science is saying about trends in Malawi and across Southern Africa.
Climate change is not yet as big a problem as natural climate
variability, or environmental problems such as deforestation. But
future temperature projections are alarming, especially for the main
crop, maize.

Successful adaptation needs to help people to cope
with current climatic variability and environmental stresses; it will
be doubly beneficial in helping people cope now and deal better with
whatever greater extremes future climate brings. Recent good rains and
harvests provide a window of opportunity and resources that should be
used to strengthen agriculture, reduce dependence on maize, reduce
poverty and diversify livelihoods.

This is one of a series of
Oxfam reports looking at climate change and poverty issues in
countries. Other reports include Uganda, South Africa, Vietnam, and
Russia.

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