Woman with maize plant
Jeff DeKock

COP 28: A step forward for communities impacted by the climate crisis

COP 28 has been and gone – the global climate negotiations always get a lot of international media attention, but now that the delegates have all gone home, what do the commitments made mean for the communities that VSO works with on the ground who are already experiencing the impacts of climate change?

The new Loss and Damage Fund

One of the most historic outcomes from this year’s summit was the establishment of a loss and damage fund. This fund, which has collated more than $700 million to date, will provide technical assistance to countries that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change. 

During COP28, VSO presented evidence from Malawi and Mozambique of the losses being experienced at household level due to climate change and shared how our volunteers are working to respond to issues in their own communities.

VSO response to Cyclone Freddy

Following Cyclone Freddy in March 2022, national volunteers Maya and Samsung led a loss and damage assessment in Mulanje district. They trained a small team of community volunteers to use an app which could be used on their phones offline to collect data from the local community about their needs. They found that a lot of children had experienced significant trauma and hunger following the cyclone and were at increased risk of malaria.

School and health services which they were reliant on for their safety and recovery had been disrupted, and their parents livelihoods had been affected reducing their families’ ability to repair their homes which had been damaged and destroyed. 

The volunteers presented the results to the district government and health committees, who were able to mobilise local resources to address some of these challenges- including distribution of malaria kits, tree-planting and the re-construction of a bridge that had collapsed.  

This example illustrates how important it is to consider the disproportionate loss and damage that climate disasters lead to for children and ensure that health, education and livelihoods impacts are prioritised. By engaging youth and communities, we can ensure that funding for loss and damage is able to reach those who need it most.

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VSO/Paul Wambugu

How girls are learning and earning their way out of poverty

Girls across Africa are being forced to drop out of school early as families are forced to make tough decisions as money and resources are limited. With your support, VSO have helped girls to return to education and secure employment opportunities.

Salma Rehmat.

"Girls deserve an education just as much as boys"

Meet 26 year-old community volunteer Salma Rehmat from Afghanistan. Salma advocates for Afghan refugees and host communities in Pakistan to access a quality education. Find out more.

Praveen Kumar

Life at VSO: Praveen Kumar, Global Lead Advisor for Social Inclusion

Praveen Kumar Gurunath has been working with VSO for the past 18 years in various roles, and for the past five years as the Global Lead Advisor for Social Inclusion. Find out more about his experience at VSO.