In rural Gambia, a climate-resilient culvert is transforming lives by ensuring access to healthcare services during the rainy season. The culvert was constructed through a “Cash for Work” project, providing employment opportunities and improving community resilience to climate change. The initiative addresses the challenges faced by community members like Sarata Ceesay, who used to risk her life crossing floodwaters inhabited by crocodiles to reach the health center.
The project, funded by the European Union and implemented by the UN Capital Development Fund and International Trade Centre, has not only enhanced access to healthcare but also boosted local incomes in an impoverished region. Unreliable rainfall patterns in The Gambia often render routes to essential services impassable during heavy rains, forcing residents into costly and uncomfortable journeys.
Access to healthcare on foot is critical in a region where many families struggle to afford even a modest consultation fee. The initiative has significantly reduced infant mortality rates and promoted better health outcomes. By building climate-resilient infrastructure, communities can effectively adapt to the changing climate, ensuring the well-being of their residents.
The local adaptation approach championed by the project is seen as a lifeline for many communities in the region. It emphasizes innovative financing solutions and local engagement in addressing the impacts of climate change, playing a crucial role in enhancing climate resilience and improving lives.
Through initiatives like the Cash for Work project, community members participate in small-scale construction projects, such as building culverts, which not only provide crucial access but also inject much-needed funds into households. The completion of the culverts has bridged communities, boosting trade opportunities and improving livelihoods.
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The project reflects the significance of locally-led climate adaptation efforts in addressing the real-world impacts of climate change. It empowers communities to find solutions to their specific challenges, reinforcing their resilience against the evolving climate.