Due to the accelerating effects of climate change that have been affecting Karen communities, livelihoods, food production and the environment, KESAN conducted a Training of Trainers on climate change and its impacts. An orientation on how to carry out a PHCVA was also conducted. The training increased the awareness of climate change and its impacts on communities’ livelihood, health, food security and environment, as well as making climate and disaster risk management an integral part of community-based development and preparedness.
Through the Participatory Hazards, Capacities and Vulnerabilities Assessment (PHCVAs), participants identified their vulnerabilities and brainstormed ways to enhance their capacities in risk reduction to cope with and adapt to the effects of climate change and climate-induced natural hazards. Pests (rats), vector-borne diseases, erosion, flooding and unpredictable weather patterns were among the climate change related disasters identified during the PHCVA training. Adoption and promotion of sustainable agriculture techniques like crop diversification, natural pest management, livestock integration, organic gardening, seed-saving, soil management, water conservation, farm-waste utilization, agro-forestry and natural resource conservation as well as the strengthening of social infrastructure were among the adaptation and mitigation strategies discussed. Participants then replicated this training in their respective communities.
Both men and women actively participated in the workshops and discussions, sharing their ideas and opinions on future community development plans in their respective communities. This year, significant change had been noticed as more women were participating in discussions and workshops as well as in project presentations. Women who were previously shy and quiet were seen to be actively participating in discussing projects and developing solutions to problems. As well, women reported having gained more knowledge and confidence in articulating themselves at the Seminar.
Participants expressed their happiness at the chance to learn and share experiences, and to develop a close camaraderie amongst themselves – giving them the much needed strength and courage to continue the critical community-development work they do, despite the obstacles and risks.
A female participant from Doo Tha Htoo district sasid,
“My participation in KESAN’s trainings helped a lot in transforming my personality. Through the encouragement of KESAN staff and peers, I was able to overcome my shyness and gain self-confidence as I’ve been learning more about issues that affect my community and the environment. During training events, peers in the workshop group gave me tips on how to present the workshop results well. I want to continue participating in trainings and meetings to further improve my public speaking skills so I can also help other young women gain self-confidence and contribute more to community development. Despite all the hardships and risks I encounter in going to and from the blaw (Seminar), I am still enthusiastic to participate and learn more knowledge and help my community in mitigating poverty.“