Strengthening the voices of women and young people in shaping local climate action

This project developed tools to enable women and young people to identify and articulate gender transformative priorities in response to climate change in Zanzibar and Northern Tanzania.

August 2018 - December 2020
Mobilising money to where it matters
A programme of work helping to initiate a positive shift in the quantity and quality of climate finance reaching the local level to support locally-led solutions that address climate change, poverty and biodiversity loss
Women collecting clean water at a water pump

In Tanzania, as elsewhere in Africa, many women are responsible for collecting clean water for their families (Photo: Calvin Kulaya, Creative Commons via Wikimedia)

Men, women, and young people are affected by climate change in different ways. Their varying gender and age-related roles within households and in society mean that environmental impacts affect them in different ways. As a result, men, women and young people are likely to have different priorities when it comes to responding to climate change. 

Women and young people in particular are key to long-term social and economic development; it’s imperative to capture their voices, priorities and knowledge for effective climate change responses. Their needs are often marginalised because of social and cultural factors that reinforce structural inequalities, and their effective participation in public or community engagements is limited, regardless of the policies available. 

This project developed a community-based learning tool that can be used by local government, community members, cooperatives and civil society organisations to identify gender-responsive and climate-specific priorities of women and young people, and how well those priorities are being met.

The participatory discussion approach will enable spaces for women and young people to fully articulate their priorities to organisations responsible for policy, planning, budgeting and investments to drive socially just, gender transformative and effective climate responses.

The project built on the foundations laid by the development of Devolved Climate Finance (DCF) mechanisms in Mali, Senegal, Kenya and Tanzania and Zanzibar. 

The tool will also support local governments to evaluate how well their existing programmes respond to local priorities for gender-responsive climate investment, leading to more informed planning both for governments and cooperatives, as well as ongoing development of the DCF mechanism to new ecological contexts. 

To promote the evidence that the tool will generate, the project established a cohort of young leaders to advocate for gender and youth responsive climate-resilient investment. A peer-mentoring scheme for women and youth leaders encouraged activists and community leaders to maintain regular communication with each other and support continued activity, mutual problem solving and sharing ideas and learning. The scheme utilised new, simple technologies to facilitate communication between partners. 


  • Develop and test a learning tool for civil society organisations, local governments and producer cooperatives that will help improve decision making on climate investments and national climate policies by recognising women and young peoples’ priorities, as well as how well these priorities are being met in Tanzania and Zanzibar
  • Build a cohort of women and youth leaders that can engage in campaigns by taking forward evidence and learning to influence policies at local and national scales in response to climate change, and
  • Improve decentralised climate finance mechanisms by establishing processes that guarantee genuine responses to women and young people’s priorities on climate change. This processes aimed to deliver climate-resilience outcomes that are effective, socially just and gender transformative. 

Workshops in Zanzibar in February 2018 and Tanzania in February 2019 brought partners including NGOs, community representatives and local government together to understand their interests in the tool, risks and appropriate format.

Two toolkits were produced to support inclusive climate-resilient planning for cooperatives and rural communities. These were also translated into Kiswahili.

The tools take the form of a two or three-day participatory workshop conducted in local languages, taking participants through a step-by-step process that enables different groups to identify and articulate their concerns, understand how gender roles affect the communities’ resilience and develop an action plan.

What did IIED do?

We provided technical support to local partners, bringing a community-based participatory research approach to developing the tool and incorporating it into local governance and decision making. We also supported the testing of the tool in alternative contexts beyond Tanzania. 

IIED also produced a Reflect & Act publication exploring the key lessons learnt, and plans for next steps.

IIED is seeking to continue this work on gender transformative climate responses in Tanzania and Zanzibar. If you want to discuss working with us in these and other areas, contact Sam Greene ([email protected]).