Climate resilience - Cool Communities
This project is a continuation of the efforts Engineers Without Borders – Denmark (EWB-DK) has carried out during several years in Freetown, Sierra Leone, supporting the vulnerable people of ward 446 to become more climate resilient. EWB-DK works together with two local partners, World Hope International and Skill Pool Sierra Leone, on these climate resilient generating activities.
Following the UN Sustainable Development Goals, “Climate Action” is a high priority in the world’s focus on a sustainable future and development for all. The suburban communities in Freetown are highly vulnerable to climate change. A baseline survey targeted +700 people in ward 446, combined with interviews and in field observations, further confirms this. The most vulnerable community members live in the flood plains and often in fragile zink structured housing (52%), which poses significant health risks when flooding and extreme temperatures arise, as unhealthy environments unfold, only to be increased negatively by climate change.
This project's overall development objective is to improve livelihood through enhanced climate resiliency towards the urban heat threat. The plan will be achieved by implementing a selection of mutually supporting structural and non-structural measures to create the needed coping capacity towards climate change.
The activities of the project will build on the previous project activities and add additional initiatives to alleviate poverty. Through a community-based approach, it will promote and increase the organizational capacity, community awareness and knowledge within risk mitigation and disaster preparedness towards natural hazards. The project will build upon existing community structures and already established stakeholder relationships. The communities will be directly engaged in implementing preventive heat mitigation measures, and training before, during and after specific interventions are implemented.
The greening approach will have multiple benefits and co-benefits utilizing urban planning, change of land use cover and building design. Planting fruit trees, creating vertical vegetable gardens, and lower scrubland vegetation on hillsides and channel banks will, beyond the cooling ability, enable soil nutrition protection and slope stabilization, reducing erosion and, thereby, the risk of landslides and floods. During periods with warm sunny days and droughts, more water can be preserved and constrained within vegetated soils cooling the environment. Trees will likewise provide shade and shelter for strong winds during storms enabling livelihood generation activities.
The project contributes to the UN Sustainable Development Goals regarding “Climate action”(#13), and thereby resulting in synergies to addressing “No Poverty” (#1), “Good health and well-being”(#3), and “Life on land” (#15).