Thanal recently co-organised a two-day training in collaboration with Suchitwa Mission, Institute of Climate Change Studies of Government of Kerala, Climate Action Network South Asia, PAN-India Network, UNICEF India and Phia Foundation. This training for line department and district planning officials was part of the “Climate Resilient Kerala” stakeholder events series started by Thanal in 2016. Titled ‘Training on Women and Child-centric Planning for Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction’, the event witnessed participation from government departments such as Kerala State Nutrition Research Centre, Nava Kerala Mission, Kerala Social Security Mission, District Suchitwa Mission, Trivandrum Corporation, Directorate of Health Services, Kerala Water Authority, State Poverty Eradication Mission and Department of Environment and Climate Change. Representatives from local governance institutions such as District Panchayat, Gram Panchayat and Municipal Gram Panchayat of Wayanad district and several CSOs also participated in the training. With an aim to build resilience to climate change, the trainers used the modules they have developed to introduce existing and projected challenges as well as practical solutions to Government and CSO practitioners on WASH, Nutrition and Education.
Methods of Training
To begin with, climate impacts on Kerala and specific risks to WASH, Education and Nutrition were discussed in the opening plenary. Thereafter, the participants were segregated into three groups in which detailed discussions on each sectoral module was conducted. The discussion was interspersed with group activities, presentations on specific issues and short videos that kept participants involved and engaged. In the end of each session, the participants provided their feedback on lessons learned and commented critically about the content, delivery and applicability of the training to their respective area of work. It was helpful to undertake course correction in the subsequent sessions that included making training sessions more interactive through experience sharing, vernacular and enhancing their effectiveness by referring to examples from the state. The participants responded positively by contributing to the discussion and thus enriching it with diverse perspectives.
The group activities performed were jigsaw puzzle solving exercise using the district vulnerability map of Kerala state highlighting the most vulnerable districts – as it turned out the state Chief Minister and Finance Minister come from two of the highly vulnerable districts. The participants also adapted the National Mission on Strategic Knowledge for Climate Change of the National Action Plan on Climate Change to the state needs and proposed various strategies, action points and activities to operationalise the knowledge mission in Kerala.
In the final group exercise, the participants developed simple poster cut-outs of fisher-folk woman, urban woman and woman farmer into “Climate Change Heroes” by pasting onto them various armour as “tools and skills” to combat climate change after discussing with fellow group colleagues what that representative woman of Kerala community needs for climate resilience. This exercise encouraged the participants to apply the 2-day learning and their ideas to promote climate resilience of Kerala women and children.
Policies and Schemes Under Discussion
The sectoral discussion was guided by the existing schemes and missions in the respective themes of WASH, Education and Nutrition. The schemes discussed in education group were Right to Education Act 2009, Mid-Day Meal Scheme (1995) and Integrated Child Development Society (ICDS). The recommendations obtained from previous 2 roundtables on Climate Resilient Kerala were also discussed and customised as per needs and priorities of various districts.
In the nutrition group, the schemes, policies and institutions discussed were National Food Security Mission, Janani Shishu Suraksha Yojana, NRHM, MDM, anganwadis, Ashreya yojana, etc. The group also looked at challenges faced in plantation crops of coffee, tea, cashew, mangoes, bananas and staple crop of paddy.
In the WASH group, the discussion centred on Suchitwa Mission, Total Sanitation Campaign, NRHM, ICDS, National Mission on Sustainable Urban Habitat and SDGs.
The participants expressed their interest to take the learning to their respective departments and organisations as well as invited the organisers to arrange similar events for the concerned departments to align their policies, schemes, projects and institutional mechanisms to promote climate resilience of women and children.