Envisioning resilience in Jamaica: Women use visual storytelling to influence the National Adaptation Plan

Source(s): National Adaptation Plan (NAP) Global Network
A women farmer in Zimbabwe walking along her field checking the crops
Mukurukuru Media/Shutterstock

A group of six young women in Jamaica have been selected for the next phase of Envisioning Resilience, a groundbreaking initiative that provides women with a training opportunity to use visual storytelling to inform National Adaptation Plan (NAP) decision-makers about how climate change is affecting their lives and how they envision resilience to its impacts. 

It is well documented that the impacts of climate change are not gender neutral. As it is intended to be participatory and gender responsive, the NAP process presents an opportunity to facilitate dialogue between adaptation decision-makers and women with lived experience of climate change. However, there are challenges in creating appropriate spaces and finding a common language to talk about climate change, its impacts, and strategies for building climate resilience.   

The NAP Global Network and Lensational launched Envisioning Resilience in 2021 to address these challenges. Through the initiative, women on the frontlines of climate change are developing their skills in photography and storytelling, learning about climate impacts in their region, and sharing their visions of resilience with decision-makers involved in NAP processes. Further, the process supports economic empowerment by offering to sell the trainees’ photographs on Lensational’s online platform

Following the success of a pilot phases in Ghana and Kenya, and with the continued financial support provided by Global Affairs Canada, Envisioning Resilience welcomed GirlsCARE as a new partner in 2023 and began a new phase of work in Jamaica.  

“The initiative presents an innovative approach to engaging young women and girls with national climate action,” said Ayesha Constable, Coordinator of the Jamaican non-profit GirlsCARE. “The trainees’ backgrounds and lived experiences will allow for new and refreshing perspectives on climate change adaptation.” 

Jamaica’s National Adaptation Plan Process: A key opportunity for engagement 

Led by national governments, the NAP process enables countries to build the resilience of their ecosystems, economies, and communities to the impacts of climate change. Jamaica’s NAP process is well underway. With financial resources secured from the Green Climate Fund in April 2021, the government is developing an inclusive, systematic, and participatory national adaptation planning process designed to scale up implementation of adaptation action.  

With a commitment to gender-responsive climate action, the Government of Jamaica developed a Gender and Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan (GCCSAP) and plans to integrate gender considerations in climate finance programming. Last year, Jamaica hosted an international forum on gender-responsive climate change adaptation, gathering experts and government representatives from 10 countries.  

After capturing their experiences with the impacts of a changing climate, the Envisioning Resilience trainees will share their stories with key actors in Jamaica’s NAP process during a policy dialogue—initiating one-of-a-kind conversations about gender-responsive adaptation planning.

Visual Storytelling: A common language 

As an island nation, Jamaica is particularly vulnerable to the changing frequency and intensity of hurricanes and droughts, as well as sea level rise, to name a few. Envisioning Resilience photographers will capture their experiences with the impacts of climate change and show how they are making changes in their everyday lives to adapt. These photos and stories will then provide a common point of reference for national decision-makers.  

According to the NAP Global Network and Lensational, the photos taken by the Envisioning Resilience trainees in Ghana and Kenya ignited emotional responses from the decision-makers, which created an opening for meaningful dialogue. This initiative demonstrates the immense potential for the use of creative communication methods to bridge the gap between national adaptation decision-makers and the people most affected by climate change. 

Trainees in Jamaica are in the midst of their education on climate change adaptation and training on photography.  

“In conjunction with the photography skills being taught by trainer Jik-Reuben Pringle, the trainees are honing skills in communication and leadership and are becoming part of a cadre of women using multimedia tools to amplify their voices in climate change adaptation planning in Jamaica,” said Ayesha Constable. 

Find out more here.

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