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Pamoja voices climate-resilience planning toolkit for cooperatives

A simple and affordable toolkit method to identify the climate adaptation priorities of men, women and young people using participatory learning and action methods for cooperatives.
Multiple Authors
Front cover of report - female member of a seaweed cooperative engaged in harvesting her crop.
Women and young people are often left out of climate-related decisions. We worked with communities in Tanzania to change this.
  • Level: Introductory
  • Time commitment: 2 days
  • Learning product: Toolkit
  • Sector: rural, multi-sector
  • Location: Tanzania
  • Language: English and Swahili
  • Certificate available: No


Climate change affects women, men, and youth of different ages in often very distinctive ways.For example, women and youth are 14 times more likely die during natural disasters.In rural regions their livelihoods are more likely to be dependent on the natural resource base, highly vulnerable to a changing climate. Furthermore, women and youth are more likely to encounter obstacles to accessing resources, information, skills and knowledge. Despite this added vulnerability, they are often excluded from the key decision-making forums determining how such climate challenges should be overcome. Incorporating their perspectives and priorities is thus essential to ensuring socially justice and effective climate action.

Please find the Pamoja Voices climate-resilience planning toolkit available for download in English in the right-hand column and in Swahili under Further Resources

Institutional background and trainer

The development of this toolkit has been a collective undertaking by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), Zanzibar Climate Change Alliance (ZACCA) and Pamoja Youth Initiative (PYI), working jointly with Shaurimoja, Juhudizetu and Shirikani Cooperative Societies and the Government of Zanzibar’s Department of Cooperatives Development.

Who would find it useful?

It is intended for use by cooperatives and those that support them including government, civil society and academia, to understand, represent and integrate local climate priorities into inclusive planning and decision making.


Use of tool


  • » Creating a space for discussion, generating knowledge and collectively identifying solutions to challenges/constraints facing cooperative members, especially those most marginalised.

  • » Evaluating climate change impacts on cooperative business activities, reviewing current coping measures and identifying long-term adaptation strategies.

  • » Evaluating governance and decision-making structures, noting and addressing any gaps.

  • » Developing an action plan to overcome business operations challenges resulting from gender constraints, governance issues and climatic challenges.

  • » Informing decision-making at all levels within the cooperative to recognise and lobby for appropriate support for effective climate change strategies.

Other Organisations Use of tool

National government

(including departments responsible for cooperatives, climate, environment, gender, youth development, and elderly)

  • » Evaluating gender considerations and representation of women, men and youth in cooperative leadership and decision-making positions, to promote more inclusive approaches and reduce vulnerability of marginalised groups

  • » Implementing gender and climate change policies and programmes supporting emergence of inclusive climate-resilient cooperatives.

  • » Implementing climate action plans and strategies, including nationally determined contributions and national adaptation plans supporting inclusive cooperatives and climate-resilient economies.

  • » Guidance on climate change adaptation awareness, planning, management and implementation of climate change adaptation strategies in local communities.

  • » Guidance on how to develop a participatory planning and evaluation system in partnership with the various stakeholders.

Local Government Authorities (LGAs)

(responsible for cooperatives, climate, environment, gender, youth development and elderly)

  • » Informing interventions working with cooperatives, regarding integration of climate risk considerations.

  • » Evaluating gender considerations and representation of women, men and youth in leadership and decision-making positions; developing action plans to address such issues.

  • » Informing and supporting implementation of local adaptation planning, as well as district development plans, policies and programmes.

NGOs and community-based organisations

(supporting cooperatives and local businesses)

  • » Establishing gender and climate risk baselines to better inform programmes working with local cooperatives.

  • » Supporting cooperatives integrate gender and climate risk management into their decision-making structures.

  • » Supporting national governments to assess impact of climate change on cooperatives.

  • » Supporting partner country governments assess gender and power dynamics existent within cooperatives; identifying suitable actions to overcome these challenges.

Donors, development partners and funders

  • » Incorporating gender, governance and climate risk assessments into local-level programmes, ensuring priorities of women, men and youth are equally heard and addressed.

  • » Supporting local-level partner programmes incorporate gender, governance and climate risk assessments into their programme design.

  • » Using recommendations from toolkit’s application to inform improvement of gender, governance and climate aspects of development cooperation programmes.

Academia, Research and Development Institutions

  • » Guiding participatory research practice in inclusive approaches to climate planning, research studies and baseline analysis

  • » Providing a joint approach working in partnership with cooperatives, to evaluate gender and climate constraints and governance structures of cooperative businesses, and work together to identify solutions

Financial Institutions

  • » Informing programmes that provide financial support to cooperatives, regarding climate risks and gender constraints, and solutions to address these challenges

  • » Supporting more inclusive management of financial loans, credit and grants provided to cooperatives, by evaluating existing cooperative decision-making structures, identifying gaps and actions to address them

Training Material

The four exercises outlined below (gender analysis, climate risk assessment, cooperative action plan and governance analysis) are presented in the format of a practical step-by-step guide. The guide aims to be as easy to follow as possible, and includes illustrative images as well as practical tips.

The toolkit requires two days to carry out the four exercises, though this is dependent on there being two separate rooms to conduct the male and female focus groups in parallel.

Exercise 1: Gender Analysis

The first exercise involves conducting an analysis of the cooperative’s activities, from the very beginning of production through to the processing and marketing of the product (if relevant), using visuals drawn on a timeline. The purpose of this is to establish who is involved in each activity (older men, older women, young men, young women, or a mixture of each group), who is responsible for decisions, and who controls resources. Each focus group is then invited to reflect on what has been discussed, consider any specific challenges faced by that group, and identify solutions.

Exercise 2: Climate Risk Assessment

Exercise 2 builds on Exercise 1, using the same timeline of activities to identify key climate hazards affecting the cooperative’s activities. These hazards are drawn on the timeline and ranked from least to most severe, with participants then asked to reflect on current coping strategies, as well as identify any long-term adaptation solutions.

Exercise 3: Cooperative action plan

For Exercise 3, the four groups are brought together into a single room to hear a summary of the key priorities, challenges and solutions discussed during exercises 1 and 2, as well as the key climate hazards identified and the long-term adaptation strategies put forward to address them. This consensus meeting allows the group to listen as a collective to the challenges facing their members, before agreeing on the actions they will take to overcome them, who will be responsible for such actions, and the timeline for their completion.

Exercise 4: Governance analysis

The final exercise consists of reviewing the cooperative’s governance structures, noting the current representation of older men, older women, young men and young women in leadership positions, and the desired representation for the future. This exercise involves remaining in the same large group that completed Exercise 3.

Learning outcomes

The Pamoja Voices toolkit consists of four exercises that can help cooperatives identify actions that can make them both more inclusive and more resilient to a changing climate.

The toolkits help cooperatives to undertake a review of their day to day activities and business operations, identify gender constraints and climate risks, and come together to agree collective solutions. As well as cooperatives, the toolkit can be used by NGOs, community-based organisations, academia, research, financial institutions, and national and local governments when working with cooperatives to support achievement of these aims. The exercises create a safe space that allows all voices to be heard, bringing all voices together to overcome identified challenges.

Evidence indicates a cooperative is more productive when all members can contribute to their full potential, while strong social networks, equity and cooperation are vitally important when dealing with a changing climate. This toolkit aims to support more inclusive approaches, in particular by ensuring the most vulnerable contribute equally and meaningfully to decision making on the unique challenges they face, so these can be overcome.

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