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Local Knowledge: Global Goals

Location: Bosawas, Nicaragua | Priorities: Climate Change, Education, Indigenous Peoples

Agents of Change

The Local Knowledge: Global Goals project in the Bosawás Region of Nicaragua has received support from the Fund for Innovation and Transformation (FIT), a fund generously supported by Global Affairs Canada and the Inter Council Network.

This project is designed to prioritize local Indigenous knowledge and gender equality to build conservation capacity in order to improve the sustainable management of the BOSAWAS Biosphere Reserve, which is essential to the survival of Indigenous peoples in the face of climate change.

CFCA has been working in the BOSAWAS region for over 20 years to support health, economic development and education projects.

The Challenge

Despite contributing the least to the causes of climate change, Indigenous peoples are among the first to face the direct consequences of it, given their dependence upon, and close relationship with their environment and its resources.

Women and girls are disproportionately impacted by climate change, both in their traditional gender-based roles and responsibilities, as well as in progress towards greater gender-equitable participation and opportunities. Women’s traditional roles as primary users and managers of natural resources to meet the needs of their households are highly vulnerable to climate change given their dependency on the natural environment. Women report increasing challenges in providing food and medicines for their families from the forests and gardens they tend as a result of deforestation, changing weather patterns, and destructive extreme weather events. Climate change can also negatively impact processes currently underway towards greater gender equality with the BOSAWAS Indigenous communities.  For example, short-term survival strategies often sacrifice girls’ education, result in early child marriage, increase women’s workload, and further limit women’s opportunities to a career and paid work.

This project aims to build the capacity of women and girls to be agents of change and leaders in conservation and climate change adaptation efforts in the BOSAWAS Biosphere Reserve.

The Project Pillars


Local human resource capacity is critical to the success of this innovation. In the BOSAWAS region, the majority of those working in environmental conservation and management jobs are men. This project will pilot curriculum materials developed in conjunction with the Ministry of Education emphasizing female participation in land defense leadership, land management, and lobbying. Girl students have previously not been encouraged to pursue their education in “green jobs” and STEM, due to cultural norms and the lack of livelihoods available locally.

Local students trained in technology by our Technology and Training for Quality and Equality in the BOSAWAS project will use SMART Conservation Software or MAPEO (connecting BOSAWAS to conservation efforts worldwide) to upload Citizen Science (CS) data collected by Indigenous forest rangers, coupled with Indigenous and local knowledge (ILK) from elders, natural medicine practitioners and agricultural innovators.

Goal: Improve the local population’s capacity to protect their traditional territories.


Globally, there is new respect for and desire to collect, share and utilize the rich traditional knowledge of Indigenous peoples of their environments as a tool to respond to climate change. This project will design and deliver programs for local indigenous agricultural innovators and natural medicine practitioners, including field-testing drought resistant and hearty seed varieties. The innovators and practitioners will deliver seminars and conduct field trips with local students , highlighting adaptations and resilience, and sharing their knowledge about the collection cultivation, and use of medicinal plants.

Goal: Apply local knowledge interventions to encourage adaptation, strengthen resilience, and improve self-sufficiency.

Improved Governance

In an effort to de-colonize local Indigenous governance, the process of comprehensive community planning (CPP) will be piloted, while also focusing on improving gender equality in governance structures.

Goal: Improve governance capacity of the Indigenous government (GTI-MITK).

Gender Equality

This project seeks to address vulnerability to climate change through a gender lens. Throughout every stream of activities, gender inequalities are addressed and activities are designed to positively transform the root causes of gender inequality. All activities are designed to advance gender equality and challenge existing inequities and discriminatory policies and/or practices.

Project Partners

Change for Children partner organizations on this project are: URACCAN and The Indigenous Territorial Government (GTI).

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