Wadi el Ku catchment management project is an EU funded programme jointly implemented by Practical Action, UNEP and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Irrigation in North Darfur.
Wadi el Ku is situated near El Fasher town and covers an area of 50km with 34 villages. There are a number of internally displaced people and the area suffers from conflict, poor government resources and poor water use which lead to environmental degradation and negative effects on people’s livelihoods.
The project supports
- Development of inclusive Natural Resource Management (NRM) with a focus on water
- Promotion of better livelihood practices and techniques
- Building institutional capacities
The project organised a learning visit to East Sudan for North Darfur extension officials and community leaders on Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM), agriculture, livestock and forestry innovation. This formed part of the project’s capacity building programme for government institutions.
Objectives of capacity building for this project are:
- To improve the state government’s capacity to deliver services to local communities through enhancing the knowledge and skills of government staff
- To coordinate natural resource management institutions for joint policy decisions at different levels of government and local community through relationship building.
Objectives of the visit:
To demonstrate relevant technological innovations, practices and approaches in the fields of agriculture, livestock, forestry and IWRM in Sudan to government extension officials and community leaders that would be applicable and useful to North Darfur and to the Wadi El Ku catchment in particular.
Specifically the in-country learning visit is aimed at the following objectives:
- To provide exposure to extension officials and community leaders from North Darfur to successful IWRM and NRM practices in other parts of Sudan
- Learn about successful agricultural, livestock and forestry technology adoption and practices in Sudan
- To bring a rich learning experience on NRM and IWRM practices, an agricultural/livestock/forestry techniques to North Darfur
On August Ms. Mariam Ibrahim from UNEP, Sudan visited the Eastern States on a scoping mission to prepare for the visit. In October 2016 team from North Darfur visited the Ministries of Livestock, Agriculture and Forestry. The met with His Excellency the Minister of Livestock and made field visits to Gedarif Center for Improved Animal Production Techniques, Shwak Quarantine Station and the Regional Veterinary Laboratory.
Meeting our brothers from west Sudan was a once in a life time opportunity that give the whole group the chance to interact on both a professional and humanitarian level.
The visit provided a valuable opportunity to observe and learn about NRM practices from other parts of Sudan and allowed participants to share their own experiences from Wadi El Ku, making it truly a two-way learning exchange.
The two parties presented their activities at a final work shop. This was a great opportunity for the Gedarif State participants to learn about the Wadi el Ku project.No Comments » | Add your comment
Globally, 1.3 billion people have no access to energy and it’s this lack of access that is keeping people living in poverty. Energy has the power to transform lives, it enables clinics to offer 24 hour care, for school children to study at night and it enables farmers to irrigate their land with reliable water pumps.
Practical Action has been working with people across Malawi and Zimbabwe to bring clean and sustainable solar energy to their communities. This project is called Sustainable Energy for Rural Communities and I recently travelled to Zimbabwe to see how energy is changing lives.
I met Miss Mumpande, who works at the Mashaba Primary School in the Gwanda District. She has taught at the school for eight years and teaches 12-13 year olds. The school now has access to solar power, which means they have electricity for lighting.
Sadly, it hasn’t always been this way. For years, the school had no access to electricity and they struggled to attract teachers because of it. Teachers would also have to prepare lessons by candle light and the students couldn’t stay late to study because the school was in darkness.
“Before solar, it was difficult, I wouldn’t prepare the school work well. I had to light candles and prepare. It took two hours, now it only takes one. My eyes would hurt. I wouldn’t prepare my work well, sometimes I made mistakes and had to buy candles myself.”
Having no electricity also affected her student’s education, she explained how they couldn’t study outside of school, but now they are able to stay late and study in the light. Their grades have improved and they’re now excited to come to class. The school has even started offering night classes for older members of the community.
Having electricity has had a huge impact on Miss Mumpande, her students and the rest of the school. She said, “Some teachers left because of the problems but now many want to come here because of the electricity.”
Mashaba Primary school is proof that electricity really can change lives.
To find out more about the project, click here.No Comments » | Add your comment
Co authored with Gurudas Biswas, Monitoring & Documentation Officer, V2R+ project, Bangladesh
The extreme poverty status of Bangladesh (those with a per capita daily income of less than US$1.25) is reducing significantly in rural areas, but rural poverty is still higher than urban poverty in Bangladesh.
Among the rural extreme poor, people with disabilities are the most marginalized. They are often excluded both from their communities and from development initiatives. Women and children are most vulnerable. They are the poorest of the poor.
WHO and World Bank estimates that about 10% of the population in developing have a disability. However, there is lack of nationally representative study or survey on disability in Bangladesh. Other available studies like the Population Census 2011 and Household Income and Expenditure Survey 2011 show that the prevalence of persons with disability ranging from 0.90% to 1.41%.
Disability and disaster
Disasters like cyclones, tornadoes, thunderstorms and injuries from road accidents, and workplace accidents increase the number of disabilities. A study of Centre for Injury Prevention and Research, conducted in Bangladesh in the aftermath of super cyclone SIDR in 2007, revealed that most deaths occurred from drowning and multiple injuries. Among the nonfatal cases there was around 10% who were at risks of permanent disability if there were not treated properly.
Including disabled people in flood resilience initiative
The mighty river Jamuna flows through Sirajganj. It has a population of 3,215,873, (51.14% male: 48.86% female. Most of the areas of Sirajganj are eroded by the Jamuna (river) and newly developed areas on the river are known as Char. The people of Char areas face discrimination in all sorts of areas of modern society. Moreover, they are often attacked by natural disasters like flood, windstorm, thunderstorm, drought and heavy rain. Floods, tornadoes and thunderstorms cause both fatal and nonfatal injuries. Besides, this district bridges the northern and southern parts of Bangladesh with rivers and roadways. Therefore people are at high risks of road traffic injuries too. Besides, flood and river bank erosion are recurrent phenomenon adversely affecting the socio-economic conditions of the people, most of whom are farmers.
The Vulnerability to Resilience (V2R) project of Practical Action Bangladesh is working to build the resilience of flood vulnerable people of Sirajganj and Bogra District. The project has emphasized the inclusion of disabled people to improve their livelihoods. From the design stage of the project people with disability have been targeted. A short survey in the communities found that 10.34% of households are holding with disability including physical disability such a lameness, or speech, sight or hearing loss.
It was also revealed that people with disability were less happy. A disabled person is seen as curse on the family and treated as a family burden and often neglected. If the disabled person is the household head or earning member then the whole family goes is vulnerable.
In the monsoon the project organised preparedness and awareness raising events including disabled people. Community Based Organizations (CBO)were trained to do emergency and response work with disability. Dduring search and rescue work the Community Based Organizations (CBO) move them first. The Local Resilience Agents (LRAs) also provided close and comprehensive assistance on preparedness, search and rescue work. In resilience building initiatives uplifting the incomes of poor people is important. So when an income generating initiative is underway, we give priority to families with members with disability as they are most vulnerable to any disaster.
Md. Nur Hossain(45), Ranipura Village of Belkuchi Upazila is paralyzed and has no land. The five members of his family were dependent on his wife’s (Morshida Khatun) income. She used to work part time in a weaving factory as daily labourer, selling clothes from house to house. Her income was not enough to cover household consumption so that they had to depend on gifts from relatives.
In 2014 when the V2R+ project began in Ranipura Village, as a flood vulnerable community Murshida Khatun’s household was included as project beneficiaries. In 2016, Murshida Khatun got 8000 Tk (£80) with one-day of training on business management from the project. She provided her husband with a tiny stall of of dry food and fast food items. Her husband can easily handle those as he does not need to use any fire or lift heavy weighst. He is now planning to buy a digital weight measuring scale that is easy to use for people unable to carry heavy weights. Having an income from both husband and wife is helping them to find their way out of misery and inspiring them to live with dignity.No Comments » | Add your comment
There is an enormous use of pesticides in developing nations that has lead to drastic effects, hence making it one of the top concerns for global environmentalists. The use of these pesticides, some of which are totally illegal, has not only led to drastic environmental degradation, but negative effect on climate at large. Importantly, human health has been affected with end users of these farm produce complaining of neurotoxic, reproductive, and dermatologic effects.
In most cases, these pesticides are used to secure supply of food by countering insect-borne diseases. Also, they are widely used in treatment and protections of forests, not to mention the controlling pest attacks on fiber farms and plantations. However, the overdependence of such agents has necessitated that global institutions join hands to seek alternatives to what seems to be an ever-growing global menace.
The volatility and long distance transport of these pesticides from Latin America, Asia, and Africa, has had far reaching global effects that traverse national and geographical boundaries. Statistics indicate that there is a large rural-urban migration in these countries with many people going to the cities in search for jobs. The ripple effect is that the workforce left in the farms has to overwork or use specific means (in this case, pesticides) in order to control pests on their farms.
In the same breath, these countries are playing a vital role in the production of agricultural-based food stuffs for the global population. This is especially for those countries that are located in the colder regions of the areas. In as much as they play a vital role in the entire scenario, the use of these chemicals has negatively impacted both humans and environment.
Challenges Global Institution Face
One of the main problems is that in many of these countries, there are no clear differentiation strategies on which particular chemicals should be used-and which specific types should be avoided. Furthermore, if there are any policies that have been put in place by government, then not many are well implemented. As such, most farmers are unaware of the short-term effects of the problems caused by these pesticides. Neither are they aware of the long transport these pesticides are carried by water and their far reaching effects on other lands and climate.
The lack of educational programs in many of the developing nations has hindered progress on how to counter the use of these pesticides. Furthermore, weak legal frameworks and the lack of adequate training for inspection officer make it quite difficult to control the use of unlawful pesticides in these nations. It is equally important to note that lack of funds to implement some of the programs has led to increased ignorant levels amongst farmers. In as much as many farmers want to add value to their crops and supply on the international market, the continual use of these pesticides is one thing that has always been a big hindrance.
International Institutions Help
It is acknowledged that the use of pesticide is a global problem, and this is why international institutions have come in at least to help educate farmers. In almost all cases, farmers are educated on the use of safety methods and other non-volatile weed control methods that will not have negative effect on the environment as well as humans. For instance, UNEP United Nations-Environmental Programs in conjunction with governments is playing a crucial role not only in influencing policies but also helping educate the remote farmers. They are also pushing governments in Asia, Africa, and Latin America to show more concern about the safety use of pesticides.
The Food and Agriculture Organization, working in cohorts with UNEP, has also tightened the rules in regard to use and trade of food stuff across the globe. As such, this has led to a substantial decrease in the use of harmful pesticides in many of these countries. There are also stringent rules that have been put in place in regard to the international pesticide trade. As matter of fact, this has helped a great deal when it comes to the quality of chemicals that are traded by the involved parties.
In retrospect, the set up pesticide control rules created a better environment for accountability amongst nations and trading partners. It has also been possible for parties in trade and national groups that are concerned to air their views, and at the same time, point out pertinent issues based on the types of pesticides in specific markets. In the long run, this is going to have a counter effect on reduced use of harmful pesticides across the globe.
If all the efforts made are to succeed, there must be consistent efforts form all the stakeholders. So far, there is substantial progress that has been made in the past few years. It is something that will definitely help counter the wrong use of pesticides in developing nations.
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Bernie Omodei from Measured Irrigation writes about a very low cost innovation that may reduce the water consumption for drip irrigation by up to 50% without affecting the yield. The innovation uses the weather to control the irrigation scheduling rather than a program. The DIY (Do It Yourself) instructions in this blog can be applied to any drip irrigation application in any poor community.
Upgrading drip irrigation to unpowered MI
Many smallholders use gravity feed drip irrigation to irrigate a small garden (less than an acre). The most commonly used scheduling method is programmed scheduling and this method wastes a lot of water because it does not respond to the prevailing weather conditions. By upgrading from programmed irrigation scheduling to measured irrigation scheduling, water consumption may be reduced by 50% without affecting the yield. The cost of the upgrade is negligible.
Measured irrigation evaporator
The evaporator is any container with vertical sides with a surface area of at least of at least 0.75 square metres. Draw a level line on the inside of the evaporator about 3 cm below the overflow level. Position the evaporator in the garden, preferably exposed to full sun.
Position a dripper so that it will drip water into the evaporator. This dripper is called the control
dripper and it should be at the same level as the other drippers in the garden.
The volume of water delivered by each dripper in your garden during an irrigation event is the same as the volume of water delivered to the evaporator by the control dripper.
How to use the evaporator
Check the water level in the evaporator at sunset each day.If the water level is below the level line, start irrigating. Stop irrigating when the water level reaches the level line.
How to adjust the surface area of the evaporation
The amount of water that your plants need will depend on many factors in addition to the weather. For example, as the plants grow and become bigger they will need more water. Plants growing in sandy soil will need more water than plants growing in heavy soil.
To take account of all these additional factors, I recommend that you use a length of steel pipe to check the moisture level in the soil. I suggest that the diameter of the pipe be between 40 and 50 mm. An angle grinder can be used to cut some slots in the steel pipe to that you can inspect the soil inside the pipe. I suggest that the width of the slots be about 13 mm.
By checking the moisture level in the soil through the slots in the steel pipe, you can decide whether the plants have been irrigated the night before with too much or too little water. If the plants have been given too much water then you can reduce the water usage by reducing the surface area of evaporation. For example, the surface area of evaporation can be reduced by placing full bottles of water in the evaporator. On the other hand, if the plants have not been given enough water then you will need to increase the surface area of evaporation. After irrigation and adjustments over several days, the surface area of evaporation should stabilise at an appropriate level for the plants at their current stage of growth.
As your crop grows and the water requirement of the crop changes, you may wish to repeat the process of adjusting the surface area of evaporation.
MI on sloping ground
One sloping ground you will need to organise your plants into a number of zones so that the plants within each zone are at approximately the same level. Each zone should have its own evaporator, control dripper and inlet valve. The irrigation of a zone is independent of the irrigation of all the other zones.No Comments » | Add your comment
Integrated water resources management (IWRM) is an important approach for the sustainable use of water resources, involving different sectors, while maintaining sustainability and observing regulation.
Active community involvement is vital for a sustainable natural resources management approach. The principles of IWRM applied at a local level require a participatory community-driven approach where all water users and water sources are considered and prioritized by the communities.
Aqua4East project in Kassala
Under this project, IWRM committees were formed with 22 male and eight female members. All were experienced in water management and were trained to have a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities.
One of Aqua 4 East activities carried out by our partner the Elgandual network of rural development, was a 3 day training workshop about establishing catchment networks. Participants represented all members of catchment committees in addition to Elgandual staff members and HAC representatives.
The workshop introduced participants to:
- The concept of networking
- Preparing the network’s vision and mission
- Setting up the organizational structure
- Job descriptions for network members
- Developing a facilitation and coordinating committee for the network of representatives of participating committees.
By the end of the training the network was set up with ten members – eight men and two women. The role and regulation of the network was discussed by HAC representative, network roles agreed and the committee trained on drafting their action plan
The next step will be to hold a workshop in Kassala with representatives of IWRM committees at the catchment level and partners to identify the objectives of the network.No Comments » | Add your comment
The modern concept of social capital has renewed academic interest in social science: the relationship between trust, social networks and the resilient development of a vulnerable society.
Aldrich (2012) found that “participation among networked members; providing information and knowledge to individuals in the group; and creating trustworthiness.” He showed that “higher levels of social capital work together more effectively to guide resources to where they are needed.”
Many studies confirm that after disasters, most survivors see social connections and community as critical for their recovery. Researchers found that “higher levels of social capital reduce transaction costs, increase the probability of collective action, and make cooperation among individuals more likely.” Social capital is therefore “an asset, a functioning propensity for mutually beneficial collective action.”
Research findings shows that “less resilience fails to mobilize collectively and often must wait for recover guidance and assistance”. This implies that vulnerable populations are not solely characterized in terms of age, income, etc., but in terms of “their lack of connections and embeddedness in social networks.” In other words, “the most effective—and perhaps least expensive—way to mitigate disasters is to create stronger bonds between individuals in vulnerable populations.”
Daniel Aldrich (2012) suggested in his case studies that social capital is more important for disaster resilience than physical and financial capital, and more important than conventional explanations.
The people of coastal areas of Bangladesh regularly face extreme weather events. These areas are most vulnerable to climate change due to sea level rise, salinity intrusion, flooding, increased frequency and intensity of cyclone and storm surge, and increased coastal and riverbank erosion.
Super cyclone ‘SIDR’ in November 2007 and cyclone ‘AILA’ in May 2009 are recent examples of extreme events that affected the thousands of people, many of whom are women and children and destroyed the livelihoods of millions of coastal people. Government response can take up to a week with insufficient aid and coordination capacities due to the poor transport system. (WASH CLUSTER , 2009) High population density is another problem the government needs to address properly. The period between when a disaster hits and institutional response is a crucial time for the people.
In Bangladesh at this time people help each other without discriminating between rich and poor, race or any other conflict issues. Humanitarian lessons of social and religious value play a vital role in helping each other even to the extent of putting one’s own life in danger. When the river bank collapses, people rush to the spot without waiting for institutional assistance because of shared humanity. This humanity and values become vulnerable when institutional assistance comes to the community through political and power channels.
With the objective of measuring the vulnerability and strength of a community for their resilience in terms of social capital I conducted a study. The area was purposely selected as it had faced several climate hazards recently. This study was conducted in the village of Kalinchi (Population 5000), Union: Ramjannagor (Total population 29368, Male-14168, Female-15200) under Shyamnagor Upazilla of Satkhira District; an Aila affected coastal community of Bangladesh. This study was conducted during June 2015-December 2015. The village has a male-female ratio of 1.07. (BBS, 2011) living in about 1000 households.
Three focus group discussions were held where 25-30 respondents were selected to represent ten houses each of the selected vulnerable community. Women and different livelihood groups were considered in the participant selection. Vulnerability risk assessment protocols were used to facilitate the groups and were verified by the key informants.
Results and discussion:
Family integrity: This was considered an important variable as good family relationships make a person more secure than any other options. Most respondents said that their strength in family integrity was medium and vulnerability is increasing day by day. Following the recent cyclone, water surge and saline water intrusion made their crop production system vulnerable and increased their food insecurity that forces them towards seasonal migration and shifting of family members to other livelihoods.
Value system: A society becomes more resilient when it has a strong value system. This ideology defines what is right or wrong and guides ethical behavior based on those beliefs. A person’s values determine his or her character and actions, even in situations where negative consequences might exist for doing the right thing. People mentioned the vulnerability of the value system was medium and future risk more than medium. The community people knows the difference between right and wrong but sometimes lose their grip on this when influential power behaves unethically during the distribution of institutional aid support. Continuing ill practice reduces the moral strength of a community and makes the community vulnerable.
Trust in each other: Trust can be explained as the relationships between people. Conceptually, trust is also the relationships within and between social groups (families, friends, communities, organizations, companies, nations etc.). To frame the dynamics of inter-group and intra-group interactions in terms of trust is popular. Without trust all contingency plan become paralyzed.
In this study it was found the vulnerability and future risk of trust was increasing. People explained that the people of this area were strong in religious faith and in social harmony. Following the several natural hazards the stress, anxiety, and unrest and other difficulties made life complex. Village politics, discrimination and diminishing religious practice are the inevitable result of deteriorating trust.
Friendship: Mutual understanding is very necessary among neighbours, groups, and the community for a peaceful, sustainable society. It helps people help each other during a disaster. In ancient times when people lived in groups they used to share their food and shelter among themselves in order to survive. This study revealed that the vulnerability of friendship is below average that means somehow good. The villagers gave the example that in the village there was only one well constructed mosque and when Aila hit there was no place to take shelter except this mosque. All the villagers – Hindu and Muslim all took shelter under the roof of the mosque without considering any religious differences.
Government aid and policy: It was found that Government aid and policy was more favorable to the resilient due to the awareness program, social mobilization of different NGOs and the influence of civil society. Government has established different departments and ministries to respond to disasters quickly. Local Government is also sincere regarding this issue. Government has generated policies and formed different committees from national to community level. Planning, CRA, RRAP and financing in DRR are now a participatory process with the local community that is why the community people feel more resilient than ever before.
Information services: Communication, network and access to information is very important for development even in times of disaster. Due to the lack of early warning systems, people did not know in enough time to take shelter which caused a huge toll on lives and property. Now this community are risk free and feel resilient as they have a well established early warning system, trained volunteers, cyclone and flood shelter. Certainly it is a positive impact of the efforts of government and NGOs.
Conclusions and recommendations:
This study shows that the Government aid and policy as well as information services are favorable in building a resilient community. The investment of government and donors emphasises relief and the strengthening of institutional capacity but attention to other human and social attributes are also very important for a resilient community and should be given priority.
If social and religious values could be strengthened to energize people’s humanity then the situation would be better and the resilience of the community would be strengthened. Stronger social capital might serve as informal insurance to overcome the constraints to becoming more resilient.
References:No Comments » | Add your comment
On 16th and 17th February, the MasterCard Foundation will host the Young Africa Works Summit in Kigali, Rwanda, to address the opportunities for empowering young people to drive transformational change in African agriculture. Practical Action will be there to share evidence from its work of how technologies – from MP3 podcasts, to solar irrigation systems – can support young people to lead productive lives in agricultural areas, and move towards more sustainable, resilient farming. (more…)No Comments » | Add your comment
Chuunu Kathariya is a proud agri-entreprenuer who runs a commercial pig resource centre in Dodohara VDC, Kailali. Currently, he has 19 pigs in his resource centre. He makes a yearly income of NPR 7,00,000 (£5,243). Apart from the pig resource centre, he has recently started banana farming in 14 Kattha (4740 sqm) land.
Kathariya took us to his days back in 2011 when he had returned from Saudi Arabia after spending 26 months there as a labourer. After his return, he was confused on what to do next in life. But thanks to wise advice he got, he didn’t remain in a limbo for too long.
Practical Action’s staff from the ROJGARI (Raising Opportunities for Jobs in Gramin Areas for Rural Income) project advised him to invest in a pig resource centre. The idea worked well for him. Together with four friends, he initiated the enterprise. He partially received infrastructure support along with three day pig raising training from Practical Action. He still recalls how the support and encouragement brought a tremendous change in his life.
Kathariya clearly looks extremely happy and satisfied with the wise decision he took five years ago. He shared, “I have been selling piglets to Kailali, Doti and Bardiya. So far, I have sold around 700 piglets at the cost of NPR 3,500 (£26) per piglet. After the 2015 earthquake, I provided 42 piglets to affected farmers in Dhading District who had faced huge loss and damage. I was really happy to be able to support them. Besides selling piglets, I am also providing technical support to pig raising farmers. Many farmers have visited my place and have also sought technical support from me. This keeps me going on my business. I am very satisfied and happy.”
Chuunu has realised that perseverance paid off. He believes support comes to the door of those who keep striving for their aim. He will soon receive financial support of NPR 200,000 (£1,500) from the government’s pig and poultry promotion programme to further expand his business. He is thankful to Practical Action’s ROJGARI project who guided him to move ahead with this enterprise.
I think Kathariya is a remarkable outcome of Rojgari project. This project was implemented from 2011 to 2014 with the financial support from the European Union. The project aimed to provide gainful employment opportunities for rural youths in Nepal. Looking at the experience of people like Kathariya we realise ROJGARI has indeed transformed people’s livelihood.
Two years after the end of the project, many enterprises begun during the projecthave accelerated momentum and are moving ahead sustainably. ROJGARI helped locals increase entrepreneurship skills, develop business plans, provided technical support and links with market actors necessary to lead a successful enterprise.
Being a part of ROJGARI myself, I look back and think of all the hard work the team did to address youth unemployment. We are now witnessing the positive change in the lives of people like Kathariya. I can only say “all our hard work has been paid off.”No Comments » | Add your comment
To increase access to clean fuels and spread the benefits to health and environment, Practical Action is scaling up by using the Participatory Market System Development Approach (PMSD).
This approaches involves all actors and stake holders in a dialogue with communities to discuss barriers and ways to overcome these barriers to further develop market systems for LPG as a clean fuel.
Workshops were held at state and federal levels with government agencies and ministries, the private sector, LPG companies, LPG distribution agents, the Ministry of Finance, energy research and financial institutions. They joined community representatives to map the market chain and discuss LPG markets, their constraints and how these could be solved.
The LPG project team leads an influencing process to address barriers. An environment protection forum including all stakeholders at state level and a sustainable energy network at national level, have been established by Practical Action to advocate for alleviation of barriers to the access of poor people to environment friendly technologies. These cover aspects such as tax and duty charges.
Other activities include:
- Linking Women’s Development Associations to LPG companies and financial institutions
- Forming saving and loan groups to access loans where the initial cost is a major barrier to poor people’s access to clean fuel technologies
- Awareness raising through local and international media, sharing knowledge and experience with all stakeholders and linking private sector social investment departments to carbon finance experience