Promote action focused on girls to combat climate change

Kimberly Junmookda, a regional climate change specialist for Plan International, shares her thoughts: “Girls are among the most at risk from climate pressures — but helping them can create wide-ranging benefits.”

Climate change is one of the greatest injustices and tragedies unfolding right before our eyes, and the worst effects are felt by those who play the smallest role in causing the crisis: Girls.

Several countries had agreed to help the poorest adapt to environmental impacts that are already occurring, such as increasingly intense storms, flooding, and prolonged droughts.

However, out of the many other complex reasons, families still struggle to produce crops because of changing rainfall patterns and often lose their homes due to rising sea levels or flooding. Girls are the first to be taken out of school to help supplement the family income and are the primarily bearers of the burden. They are often expected and required to help with household chores, provide supplemental income for families, and care for younger siblings and in dire situations, they are seen as either assets or financial burdens.

If a girl is removed from school, she is less likely to be educated, informed, and have access to timely and life-saving information, like where to go in the event of a disaster, or how climate change impacts their lives.

Therefore, keeping girls in school, and equipping them with knowledge and information ensure that they are not set back permanently by climate impacts, and that they have access to a better future.

Ensuring that adaptation strategies at all levels are geared towards girls, and by targeting girls as beneficiaries of climate adaptation programs, opportunities to address the root causes of inequality opens up and transform the roles of girls in their communities.

An inclusive, climate-resilient future without thinking about girls is unattainable.

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