Women of the DR Congo WECAN/SAFECO program walk between the savannah and their tree nursery

The WECAN International ‘Regional Climate Solutions Training Program’ offers both online and on-the-ground trainings which focus on creating place-based action plans to address local socio-ecological need, develop climate solutions, and support women in their role as key environmental stakeholders. Trainings and curriculum are designed region by region in collaboration with local grassroots leaders, experts, and organizations - and are presented as holistic programs including education, advocacy, hands-on training, and work to link local efforts to the global movement for climate justice.

WECAN Regional Climate Solutions Trainings center on analysis of the root causes of climate change and focus on long-term, systemic change; offer inspiration and a framework for collaborative efforts focused on and led by frontline communities and local organizations; and a provide a platform for demonstrating real alternatives and just solutions within even the most challenging political landscapes.

Regional Climate Solutions Trainings Focus Areas Include:

  • Why women are key to climate change and sustainability solutions; how they are impacted and what they can do to advance climate justice at a local and global scale.

  • Design and implementation of regional climate action plans, including specific solutions in water, energy, food, forests, and carbon emission reductions.

  • Women's leadership and capacity building.

  • Connecting regional and international advocacy efforts.

  • Sharing WECAN's rights-based approach to solutions and systemic change.

  • Developing tools and skills for successful climate justice advocacy.

  • Rights of Nature education and advocacy.

  • Collective visioning - What does transitioning to a clean and just energy future mean in your region? What women can do personally in their daily lives and in their communities?

  • Reconnecting with the nature and understanding the vital importance of living within the earth’s carrying capacity.

WECAN Democratic Republic Of Congo

A training at the women’s reforestation site

Since 2012, WECAN International has partnered with Neema Namadamu and her organizations’, Hero Women Rising and the Synergy of Congolese Women's Associations (SAFECO), to build a coalition of women to protect the rainforest of the Itombwe region, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Stretching across central Africa, the rainforests of the Congo basin are the second largest on Earth, (only the Amazon is larger) - with approximately two-thirds of Africa’s intact forest found in the DRC.

Our collaborative work centers in South Kivu Province, which hosts two very important forest sites: the Itombwe Nature Reserve and the Kahuzi-Biega National Park (PNKB), both  of which have been listed as in danger since 1994 due to pressures from extractive industries and interrelated conflicts.

Through online trainings, on-the-ground workshops, and an ongoing reforestation program, WECAN International and SAFECO are providing a platform for local women to learn, strategize, build, and implement a plan for protection of the Itombwe Rainforest, their rich Traditional Ecological Knowledge, and their communities living in and around the rainforest.

Women prepare to plant diverse tree species by hand

Over the course of a series of program strategy sessions, the women have formed a local conservation committee, drafted a declaration, and met with government officials, military members, and local NGO’s to share their work and action plans, while calling for accountability and support from state actors.

In addition to education and advocacy work to stop illegal timber harvesting and promote forest conservation, the women of WECAN/SAFECO have successfully started tree nurseries growing over 25 local tree varieties, which have medicinal, food, fuel, and reforestation purposes. Over one-hundred thousand trees have been planted by women leaders and community members so  far - all by hand.

From November 2017 to March 2018, women involved in the initiative planted 39,730 trees, and prepared 35,000 coffee plants as part of a dual strategy that provides for community needs, while also helping restore and re-wild forest areas which have been severely degraded. Twelve communities are now engaged in the project, and every activity is carried out by hand, with no machinery, in remote areas. More tree planting is underway in 2019.

The initiative ultimately aims to sequester tons of carbon from the atmosphere, support healthy livelihoods for local women, and contribute to the protection of the second largest rainforest in the world.

A sign announcing the WECAN/SAFECO reforestation project outside of the Itombwe Center

Neema Namadamu, WECAN International Coordinator in the DR Congo, looks out over part of the reforestation project

We are very thankful to have Neema Namadamu serving as the WECAN Regional Coordinator for the Democratic Republic of Congo. Neema Namadamu is a visionary peacemaker from Bukavu, South Kivu Province in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, where she advocates for peace, women’s rights, rights for persons with disabilities, rights for Indigenous pygmy peoples, and Rights of Nature. She is Founder and Director of SAFECO, the Synergy of Congolese Women’s Associations and Maman Shujaa: Hero Women of the Congo. As WECAN DRC Coordinator, Neema leads workshops and trainings with local women to address deforestation, build women’s leadership, support Traditional Ecological Knowledge, and protect the rich ecosystems of the Itombwe rainforest.

Focus Areas Of The WECAN DR Congo Program

  • Analysis of local political, economic and environmental challenges; how are they linked?

  • Identification of key agents of change and ways to engage them.

  • Discussion about the value of the forest and the importance of its conservation and respect and renewal of Traditional Ecological Knowledge of Indigenous Peoples.

  • Sharing of local ethno-botanical and medicinal plant knowledge.

  • Study of concepts of climate change, climate justice and its impact on women living in rural communities,

  • Overview of mining and logging industry in DRC and globally.

  • Overview of local and global environmental protection laws and methods of forest protection.

  • Development of advocacy and action program to protect the forest and local livelihoods.

  • Advocacy to stop illegal timber harvesting

  • Planning, launch and growth of tree nursery and reforestation project.

  • Leadership training and capacity building for local women.

Key Moments:

  • 2014 - First online training! 5 week intensive course focuses on topics including women and climate change; connecting the local to the global; importance of forests and forest protection; and the Traditional Ecological Knowledge of region's Indigenous peoples.

  • 2014 - 3 day training in Mwenga, focused on topics including: skill sharing and presentations on local ethno-botanical knowledge; introduction of clean cookstoves; holistic Indigenous forest conservation methods; women's leadership and rights; and climate justice.

  • 2014 - Drafting of Women's Declaration calling for regionwide forest protection.

  • 2014 - Formation of local village conservation committees to share and implement tools and analysis for forest protection presented in WECAN trainings.

  • 2015 - 3 day online training in Bukavu, South Kivu, followed by a hands-on training in the Itombwe forest, focused on topics including - women's leadership; Indigenous rights; Rights of Nature; local and international environmental laws; development and implementation of regional climate action plan; and tree planting.

  • 2015 - Launch of initiative to use clean cookstoves and build a small women-led solar business - research and development phase.

  • 2015 - Design and creation of WECAN / SAFECO re-forestation and tree nursery project in South Kivu Province to plant, regenerate and protect over 25 species of native tree saplings.

  • 2015 - Visit of local government leaders, women's presentation, and tree planting ceremony to officially launch first ever reforestation project in South Kivu.

  • 2015 - WECAN DR Congo Coordinator, Neema Namadamu, represents women forest guardians of the DR Congo at COP21 climate negotiations in Paris, France.

  • 2016 - Women leaders nurture and plant over 20,000 diverse tree saplings by hand!

  • 2016 - WECAN DR Congo Coordinator, Neema Namadamu takes part in the COP22 climate negotiations in Marrakesh, Morocco as a representative of WECAN International.

  • 2017 - Women leaders nurture and plant over 22,000 diverse tree saplings by hand!

  • 2017 - WECAN DR Congo Coordinator, Neema Namadamu takes part in the COP23 climate negotiations in Bonn, Germany, as a representative of WECAN International.

  • 2018 - Women leaders decide to add a nursery and planting site for coffee plants, to continue to diversify their reforested areas, and provide income for their families. Over 35,000 coffee seedlings were bagged and distributed in 2018!

  • 2018 - Approximately 324 households participated in the reforestation program, where 4 tree nurseries produced 39,730 trees, with 69 hectares of land reforested. As a result, 10 years from now, the 39,730 trees will be sequestering 1,456 tons of carbon per year.

  • 2018 - Four community trainings were held to share knowledge and continue planning around the women-led reforestation effort.

  • 2018 -  WECAN DR Congo Coordinator, Neema Namadamu takes part in the Global Climate Action Summit in California as a WECAN International representative.

  • 2019 - Meetings and trainings, and the tree nursery and reforestation project, continue to grow!

Learn more about the WECAN DRC Regional Climate Solutions Training programs via blog posts and videos:

Explore more photos from the WECAN DRC/SAFECO program here!

Neema Namadamu leads a WECAN/SAFECO training with local women leaders

WECAN Middle East, North Africa (MENA) Region

Women from across the MENA region participate in the Global Women’s Climate Justice Day of Action

Women from across the MENA region participate in the Global Women’s Climate Justice Day of Action

WECAN International launched its first training sessions in the MENA region in 2014, gathering active women leaders ready to build leadership skills, head environmental projects, confront the social injustice of climate change, and address the direct effects of global warming in the region. 


WECAN MENA trainings provide key background in concepts of climate justice, women's rights, and local and global climate issues, as well as media and messaging skills, local action climate plan design, and exploration of Rights of Nature as a tool for systemic change.


Several trainings have been held since 2014 and participants continue to lead programs and projects locally.

We are thankful to work with Fadoua Brour, Imene Hadjer Bouchair and Soumeya Lerari, our WECAN Middle East/North Africa Region Co-Coordinators, to organize trainings and other efforts in this region. Meet the WECAN MENA team here.

Focus Areas Of The WECAN MENA Program Include:

  • Training in regional advocacy campaigning, climate outreach and messaging, including social media activism, blogging and media relations.

  • Women's leadership, rights, and capacity building.

  • Local solutions to water and energy issues; the importance of including women in the planning of water consumption; purification of waste-water; distances traveled to obtain clean water.

  • Biodiversity, food security and reforestation.

  • Sharing ideas, suggestions and proposals for on-the-ground projects to be implemented ongoingly in the MENA region.

  • Creation of adaptation projects throughout the MENA region to reduce the impact of floods, droughts, and deforestation, and other climate change crisis management planning.

Key Moments:

  • 2014 - Online training with focus areas including - women's rights and leadership; media and messaging for climate justice; MENA region water crisis and solutions; tool for local action plan development; importance of green jobs and trainings; and tools for engaging local leaders and stakeholders.

  • 2014 - On the ground training for women in rural Morocco, with focus areas including - effects of climate change on women; erosion, drought and desertification in MENA region; economic decline and emigration; youth movements and their role in the implementation of climate solutions; and gender injustice and climate impacts.

  • 2015 - Online training, with focus areas including - women's rights and leadership; media and messaging for climate justice; MENA region water crisis and solutions; tool for local action plan development; importance of green jobs and trainings; and tools for engaging local leaders and stakeholders.

  • 2015 - WECAN International was a partner for a four day on-the-ground training with 35 participants from Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, Iraq, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. Topics included, renewable energy in the MENA region; climate outreach through networking, media, messaging and storytelling; and strategies for environmental campaigning; evaluating false versus real climate solutions; and regional climate action plan draft discussion.

  • 2016  - Movement building amongst local groups.

  • 2017 - WECAN MENA co-Coordinator, Fadoua Brour, leads events at COP22 climate negotiations in Marrakech, Morocco, and co-Coordinator, Soumeya Lerari, participates in and supports WECAN events in Morocco.

  • 2018/2019 - Ongoing project development.

WECAN MENA Coordinators hold a training in collaboration with members of the Moroccan Youth Climate Network

WECAN Latin America/Caribbean (LAC) Region

WECAN International trainings in the Latin American/Caribbean  region focus on the development of grassroots women's climate advocacy and media skills, with a focus on Indigenous women and frontline communities.

Women leaders from Bolivia stand together in action to draw attention to the regions receding glaciers

Focus Areas Of The WECAN LAC Program Include:

  • Analysis of local and global policies that lie at the root of climate change.

  • Exploring how women can play a key role in sustainability solutions, and building women’s leadership and capacities.

  • Protection of women land defenders.

  • Design and implementation of climate solutions projects in the various Latin American countries to reduce the impact of food and water shortages, floods, droughts and deforestation.

  • Acceleration of collective efforts in women’s networks to stop extractive industries and protect forests.

  • Discussion of how women of the Global South and North can work in stronger collaboration, and explorations of how to recognize and act upon the historic responsibilities of industrialized countries and wealthier communities.

We thank Carmen Capriles and Kiyomi Nagumo of Bolivia, who have served at various times as our WECAN Coordinators in the Latin America/Caribbean region.

Kiyomi accompanied the WECAN delegation to COP21 climate negotiations in Paris, France where she built strategic alliances with women and Indigenous peoples of Latin America, and raised her voice for climate justice and Indigenous rights in her region. Carmen Capriles has joined WECAN International delegations to the United Nations climate talks over various years, including the COP21, 22, and 23, during which she has advocated for climate justice in Latin America, and worked extensively with the UNFCCC Women and Gender Constituency.

Carmen Capriles and Kiyomi Nagumo of Bolivia strategize with WECAN Executive Director, Osprey Orielle Lake, during COP21 climate talks in Paris

The Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) International is a solutions-based, multi-faceted organization established to engage women worldwide in policy advocacy, on-the-ground projects, direct action, trainings, and movement building for global climate justice.

  • Grey Facebook Icon
  • Grey Twitter Icon
  • Instagram - Grey Circle
  • Grey YouTube Icon


775 East Blithedale Avenue, #384
Mill Valley, CA 94941


© 2018 WECAN International | Website Designed by "Jess Right"