COVID-19 and climate change impacted Malawi and Rwanda simultaneously starting in 2020, posing fundamental challenges to the economic prosperity and welfare of their citizens. These crises compounded each other, with the most vulnerable social groups in both urban and rural settings disproportionately experiencing resilience challenges related to health, food security, sanitation, employment, and livelihoods. There was a recognized need to better understand the implications of COVID-19 for climate resilience in order to shape sustainable and equitable post-COVID-19 public health and climate policy for the short and long term. This research aimed to address this knowledge gap.

The CCC19 project, spearheaded by the Center for Climate Justice at Glasgow Caledonian University, was guided by the following key question: What is the interrelationship between the COVID-19 pandemic and climate resilience?

With uptake and adoption pathways identified with the ministries responsible for health, environment, and climate change in both countries, we adopted a critical public health and equitable resilience framework and followed a mixed-methods approach with a robust participatory component. The project provided vital new data on the interrelated determinants of public health and climate resilience among the most vulnerable people in Malawi and Rwanda and ensured the uptake of recommendations for short and long-term post-COVID-19 recovery in both countries that are sustainable, equitable, and gender-sensitive.

One of our project outputs was a 20-minute digital storytelling documentary. Our research participants narrated their experiences with the pandemic and climate change in their own words. Here is my interview clip on the gender dynamics of both COVID-19 and climate change in rural Africa.

Below is the documentary in its entirety.