Following an engaging 4-day workshop on how to practically assess the impacts of climate change on WaterAid’s Water for Women program, ISF, WaterAid Timor-Leste and the local NGO Fundasaun Hafoun Timor Lorosa’e (FHTL) sought further insights from a rural community in Liquica Municipality. The team visited the community between 8 – 17 October while also carrying out WaterAid’s Community Action Plan activities.
Women discuss how WASH workload and decision-making changes across seasons
Over the course of the two weeks, WaterAid Timor-Leste and FHTL facilitated their usual activities for supporting the delivery of inclusive, sustainable water services to rural communities, but this time with an added dimension: participatory activities for encouraging women and men in the community to discuss how climate affects their WASH services and livelihoods. While WaterAid Timor-Leste and FHTL have always considered the influence of climate variability and seasonality, these activities brought a more targeted and systematic way of assessing impacts that could worsen under future climate change.
Women’s group creates an ‘impact diagram’ of climate impacts on WASH
Groups of women and men explained the varied and interconnected ways that climate hazards disrupt WASH access and how some community members are affected differently than others. They also recounted how WASH and other responsibilities, and decision-making authority, between women and men changed when times of intense climate-related stress occur. Finally, although the challenge of climate change obligates government and international leaders to take action, the community identified numerous actions they can themselves take locally to maintain WASH access under floods and droughts.
Men’s group creates an ‘impact diagram’ of climate impacts on WASH
WaterAid Timor-Leste and FHTL, with support from ISF, also conducted some joint analysis of insights from the community and took initial steps toward deciding how they could inform the Community Action Plan process. For example, an ‘Impact Diagram’ activity, whereby community members use visual cues to identify the chain of impacts of climate hazards on WASH access for women and men, provides useful inputs for the technical design of water supplies as well as developing social awareness messages about how climate impacts are socially differentiated. The team is looking forward to exploring further how to make assessment of climate change impacts a coherent part of WaterAid Timor-Leste’s programming going forward in the next week.