The number of climate-influenced disasters has doubled in the past 20 years. Floods, hurricanes and other events can devastate communities.

Our work with local Church and ecumenical partners is designed to help communities prepare for these disasters and recover as quickly as possible. We focus on five key areas to address issues related to climate:

Improving Food and Nutrition
In underserved areas, we work with community members to expand food access and availability, creating long-term strategies that help families feed themselves while protecting the environment and generating new forms of income. In our work with small-scale farmers, crops and livestock are often vulnerable to erratic rainfall, droughts, floods, pests and diseases. To ensure enough healthy and nutritious food, we support small-scale and family farms with tools and seeds, as well as training on climate-smart agriculture, animal management techniques and crop diversification. We empower communities to embrace sustainable agriculture by planting trees to improve soil and reduce erosion, anticipating and planning for weather changes and leveraging the unique knowledge and experience of women farmers.

Creating Economic Stability
It’s very difficult to recover from climate-influenced disasters if communities do not have the resources needed to get back on their feet. Our programs strengthen communities and empower individuals and families to find creative ways to maximize their earning power and potential. We provide management and financial training to help people start and expand small businesses and build partnerships that offer loans and insurance products. Gaining access to local markets and participating in Savings with Education (SwE) groups enables families to pay school fees, save money and plan for unanticipated emergencies.

Providing access to Clean Water, Hygiene and Sanitation
Clean water, proper sanitation and hygiene education are critically important to prevent the spread of disease, as well as protect communities when climate-influenced disasters occur. Our work to create clean and safe water for drinking and other household use includes building wells and piping systems to prevent waterborne illnesses and installing water stations and systems like rainwater catchment tanks. Sanitation programs include building or improving sanitary toilets, educating people on the proper hand-washing techniques, installing of hand-washing stations next to latrines and protecting land and water sources. We also empower local community health workers to train residents in safe garbage and waste disposal.

Reducing the Impact of Disasters
If communities are prepared and ready to adapt when a climate-influenced disaster occurs, they are much more likely to successfully recover. Our work is designed to help communities anticipate, resist, cope with and recover from climate-influenced hazards and events. In all of our programs, we provide critical assistance to help alleviate suffering, restore dignity, build resilience and jump-start economic recovery. Using a wide network of Episcopal dioceses and other church institutions in the US, we offer resources and training to help people prepare for disasters and provide emergency support so vulnerable communities can make a full and sustained recovery. Globally, our disaster programs help people prepare for crises through the coordination and training of local partners and communities so they are better able to serve and care for at-risk populations.

We also provide targeted activities that address the specific needs of women and children in humanitarian responses. Through our partners, we remain long after the crisis is over to help communities heal, recover and rebuild long-term.

Managing Environmental Preparedness
The best defense against climate-influenced disasters is to be as prepared as possible before disaster strikes. Our staff and partners are committed to properly safeguarding land and other natural resources to protect the environment, lessen the impact of disasters and minimize suffering and damage that often hinder the recovery process. Working in diverse local contexts and disaster situations, our programs promote tree planting and support other sustainable practices such as preventing deforestation and soil erosion. We also train communities to understand and identify where they are most vulnerable and how to protect themselves in advance of disasters. Activities may include providing tools and resources, installing early warning systems or protecting homes in flood-prone areas.