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Stories from the Digital Breakthrough Initiative: 2023 Climate Intersection Grantee, Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Story  

In its second year, the Climate Intersections Program, a key initiative under the Digital Breakthrough Initiative, supported generously by Cisco, reached new heights by fostering impactful collaborations and pioneering innovative approaches to address the intersection of climate change and technology.  

May 2, 2024

NetHope’s Climate Intersection Program emphasizes three pillars:  

  • Anticipatory Action—The emphasis on anticipatory action aims to increase resiliency through access to early warning systems, helping communities better prepare for and mitigate the impacts of climate-related events. 
  • Upskilling – To address the increasing need for skilled individuals in the field of climate data, the program aims to build the climate data skills of nonprofits and local communities, equipping them with the necessary tools to address climate challenges. 
  • Climate Equity – Aims to amplify and integrate community voices, experiences, and needs to foster a more inclusive and representative approach to climate action, thereby ensuring the inclusion and hearing of all stakeholders in the decision-making process.  

Climate Intersections Grant Program Grantee Spotlight 

The Climate Intersections Grant Program, through the support of the Digital Breakthrough Initiative, supports the development and scaling up of digital solutions for climate adaptation and resilience. This year, grants were awarded to three NetHope Members, including Plan International, Islamic Relief Worldwide, and the Wildlife Conservation Society. 

Read more about the impact of this grant from Jonathan Palmer, Executive Director of Conservation Technology at NetHope Member, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). 

“In partnership with Birdlife International and World Wildlife Fund, we are working together to protect and restore forests worldwide through the Trillion Trees program. To ensure that Trillion Trees is having a measurable impact, we developed FORMAPP, a monitoring system that allows projects to track their reforestation efforts. This system comprises a smartphone application, a database, and an online portal that facilitates data collection, storage, and reporting and is based on ConSoSci’s toolkit.  

When we applied for the NetHope Climate Intersections grant, our goal was to improve the FORMAPP system to increase data management efficiency and improve the accessibility of all FORMAPP-related resources.  

The Climate Intersections grant allowed us to improve the data integration technology behind the FORMAPP toolkit. It also allowed us to translate all FORMAPP-related materials into French and Spanish, including the website, training resources, video tutorials, and template forms. Finally, we made the FORMAPP monitoring forms available in the ConSoSci library, increasing the reach of those resources.  

The lives of hundreds of millions of people depend directly on healthy forests for jobs, food, medicines, and more. Some of these people are also on the front lines of forest protection. By improving the FORMAPP tracking tool, we are helping Trillion Trees achieve their goal and track their impact efficiently. For example, the project has helped WCS in Colombia map and monitor forest restoration sites in the Cañamomo Lomaprieta Indigenous Reserve. WCS has supported the local communities to restore forests to degraded watersheds, helping to stabilize soil and prevent erosion.  

As of 2024, Trillion Trees has directly supported the restoration of over 350,000 trees and 285 hectares through its projects, benefiting over 10,000 people. In 2023, Trillion Trees supported four new forest restoration projects, all of which received training and support on the use of the FORMAPP digital tools, thanks to the support of NetHope.  

ConSoSci and Trillion Trees aim to continue to strive for the highest standards of project performance and data transparency, and we are grateful that this work is being facilitated by NetHope.”  

Climate Intersections Program: A Roadmap for the Future  

As the program looks ahead, the program's strategic vision includes a commitment to meaningful progress in addressing climate change through innovative digital solutions, capacity building, and inclusive community engagement.  

The impact of the Climate Intersections Program in year two of the Digital Breakthrough Initiative underscores the transformative power of technology and collaborative efforts in addressing the urgent intersection of climate change and global development and paves the way for continued innovation and sustainable progress in the years to come.  

NetHope’s New Strategic Plan  

NetHope launched its 2024-2030 strategy focusing on bridging the new Digital Divides. A generation ago, the Digital Divide described the gap in access first to computers and then to the internet and essential technologies. Today, organizations face new digital challenges that threaten the advancement of international NGO missions as they grapple with the widening gap between available resources and growing needs. These new challenges—what NetHope calls the new Digital Divides—represent critical gaps in infrastructure, systems, capabilities, and knowledge. Over the next decade, we will lead collective action to bridge the New Digital Divides—skills and leadership, inclusion, protection, transformation and innovation, and climate adaptation and resilience—leveraging our powerful, proven model to advance the global good.  

Bridging the New Digital Divides: Digital for Climate Adaptation and Resilience  

Climate change is a crisis that underpins many of the challenges and growing needs facing our sector—both in the digital context and beyond. To foster a prepared and resilient NGO sector, we must develop adaptive responses and integrated tools for the coming and current effects of climate change. NetHope will use all of our convening, grantmaking, accelerating, and catalyzing power to scale effective digitally-powered responses to climate-related challenges across our sector, particularly for women, youth, indigenous people, and disenfranchised communities.  

Resources  

  • Find out more about how the NetHope community is using digital technology to protect lives, livelihoods, and ecosystems.  
  • Explore NetHope’s study exploring how digital technology can support climate adaptation and resilience in vulnerable communities.  
  • NetHope Members can join the Climate Intersections Working Group by accessing the NetHope Network for the latest information and to get involved! 
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