Catalytic Grant Winners Share their Journeys

On 15 September, Catalytic Grant Winners participated in a peer-learning workshop to present their projects, and share challenges and successes.

Written by: Samuel Anesu Muzhingi and Arnav Prakash
GRP Areas of work: Knowledge

While the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the world, creative techniques are being created and put to use. Building resilient communities is a critical part of these times. A recent, virtual peer learning session with the Catalytic Grant winners held on 15 September revealed the need for long-term funding in the global south to promote long-term sustainable visions.

The International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) and Global Resilience Partnership (GRP) hosted a joint peer learning session with Catalytic Grants winners with the theme of the effectiveness of seed funding for building sustainable solutions and resilience.

The Catalytic Grants are a joint effort from Climate Justice Resilience Fund (CJRF), GRP, and ICCCAD. The grants provide seed funding to incentivise partnerships and collaborations. Five teams won USD $5,000 to work on new locally-led ideas on climate change adaptation and resilience in the Global South. 

During the workshop, the groups came forward with their ideas of how to foster resilient communities and shared their experiences. Amidst a pandemic, the groups inevitably faced challenges during the project initiation and execution stages. 

Seed funding

“The funding we received is helping realise our vision in developing a climate change training module for indigenous, marginalised children and their families in Bangladesh,” said Ekhtekharul Islam, a member of the Kabaloong – A learning hub for enhancing adaptive capacity of indigenous communities in Bangladesh.

Additionally, he commended how the fund will enhance indigenous community resilience through training and building a knowledge base on climate change and adaptation.

The groups also pitched their ideas of how seed funding can be used to develop modules that promote collaboration between different grassroots communities across the globe. Practitioners, academia and other individuals or groups associated with the theme of resilience can largely benefit from this type of funding.

Challenges with short term funding

Although Catalytic Grant recipients said they are able to put their ideas into action, for the time being. Long-term financing is required to continue to realise their innovative ideas. The grants only provide funding for one year.

Mukayiranga Eva Peace, who is working with her group on climate justice from a French-speaking perspective said: “Short-term funding restricts ambitions since you will be thinking along the lines of short-term goals, and as a result limiting activities.”

Climate justice from a French-speaking perspective initiative seeks to enhance the voice of the Loss and Damage Youth Coalition (LDYC). The LDYC provides training and workshops in French for young people in Rwanda. They realise that climate justice is a complicated topic for youths, with obstacles such as a lack of knowledge, definition, education, and measurement.

Some catalytic grant winners acknowledged the need to come up with innovative solutions that bridge the gap between short-term funding and long-term ambitions. Rather than only relying on external financial support, some advocated for building internal ability to provide sustainable solutions.

Sharing successes

Holding more regular workshops to share learning outcomes, challenges and solutions help build stronger relationships. It also provides an opportunity for peer learning, helping others adapt to previously tried solutions and avoid elements that might hinder the process of project completion.

Stephen Bright Sakwa who is working with his group in Uganda on the “Innovation for adaptation in a refugee settlement: Climate-smart food production and cooking,” emphasised the need to encourage grassroots organizations in the Global South in documenting their experiences and solutions to have a bigger effect.

“One of the best solutions to support grassroots organizations is to share their success stories demonstrating the impact of the work. We need help gaining skills in packaging our narratives properly and show impact on the ground,” Sakwa adds.

Enhancing the resilience of communities in the Global South requires a focus on sustainable local solutions. It is important to chronicle these locally-driven sustainable solutions so that they might be scaled in other areas.