Crowd4SDG is a research project promoting citizen science initiatives  with a focus on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Citizen science is a significant resource as it can both produce social innovation to achieve the SDGs and provide non-traditional data to track the progress made towards them. The project is steered by a consortium of partners with UNITAR responsible for enhancing policy relevance and usability of the citizen science data.

For its second GEAR (Gather, Evaluate, Accelerate and Refine) cycle, Crowd4SDG is supporting projects centred on Climate Change (SDG 13) and Gender (SDG 5). Participants are challenged "to develop a project that tackles these SDGs using crowdsourcing: information gathered or actions taken by large numbers of ordinary citizens", addressing some pressing issues.

Crowdsourced data, and more particularly gender and sex-disaggregated data, is extremely valuable as it can help highlight the gendered experiences of women and men facing climate change and fill in data gaps.

Without relevant data, solutions risk not only leaving women behind but also, negatively impacting them.

On the 3rd of February 2022, during the online Challenge-Based Innovation Workshop (CBIW), two projects were selected to go to the last phase of the GEAR cycle, "Womer" and "Donate Water". Each of them proposes an innovative approach to answer the Crowd4SDG challenge.

"Womer" reminds everyone that invisibilizing and marginalizing a group also means neglecting valuable knowledge, resources, and skills which, in turn, undermines everyone's efforts in the fight against climate change - or any other fights.

Merlyn Johanna Hurtado and Longmun Dawam's have put an emphasis on intersectionality and decided to focus on the 185 million indigenous women who are excluded from the decision-making processes in the fight against climate change despite everything they can bring to the table. Indeed, indigenous women possess valuable local knowledge and actively manage natural resources in sustainable ways.

A co-creative process involving researchers, contacts with local associations, and indigenous women, highlighted the need to collect, analyse and spread data about these too often forgotten stakeholders, their knowledge, living areas, occupations and actions. Data collection will be achieved with the Epicollect App while data visualisation and sharing will be achieved with the Womer App.  

"Donate Water" was launched by students Rachael David, Francisca Timothy, and Daniel Ugwu, to assess women's vulnerability during climate change-induced droughts in Nigeria. Today, more than 1 in 4 people do not have access to safe drinking water services. Rural communities are hit the hardest and, within them, women experience many hardships, especially during droughts as they are often the ones in charge of the daily collection of water.

Using two crowdsourcing tools, VisualCit and the Citizen Science Project Builder, as well as a reporting platform "Donate Water" aims to generate data about access to water in rural communities, defective and functioning water pumps. The project also proposes a climate-responsive solution in the form of solar-powered water pumps which are easy to install, easy to maintain and can be enhanced with sensors to detect issues. Collecting and spreading such data would help identify problems and accelerate interventions, therefore decreasing women's hardships and vulnerability.

Although they were not selected to go the next phase of the GEAR cycle, other projects also presented very interesting approaches to the climate change-gender nexus and considered the importance of gender-disaggregated data in their reflection with potential to result in valuable innovations.

"Crisis Heroes" is a perfect example as it focuses on a simple yet extremely important topic which is the assessment of unequal impacts of "natural" disasters on women and men. The project proposes the creation of an online platform so stakeholders may provide data about an ongoing disaster (type, beginning, location), receive adapted solutions and contacts of users who encountered similar situations as well as feed the database with their own experiences. The latter would be a critical source of information for the design of gender-sensitive policies in the area of disaster response and risk reduction.

Another project is "Andapé", which takes an interest in the natural and social impacts of pavement infrastructures. On the one hand, the composition of pavements tends to decrease permeability and participate in the heat-island phenomenon. On the other, damaged pavements deeply influence the experiences of more vulnerable pedestrians such as elderly people, women with children, and people with disabilities. Cities are increasingly concerned with climate change and are difficult to navigate. Andapé offers complementary solutions to these issues: it aims to identify faulty infrastructures and users’ needs using crowdsourcing and surveys, and help repair these pavements with recycled materials decreasing cities' vulnerabilities to climate change and disasters.

The two finalists, "Donate Water" and "Womer", are presenting their projects during the Geneva Trialogue taking place on 17th March 2022.

We invite you to check the Crowd4SDG website as well as follow the social media page to stay informed about all inspiring projects and innovators who took on this adventure!

About Crowd4SDG

Crowd4SDG is an EU-funded research project exploring how citizen science can track progress towards the SDGs and how grassroots innovation can help achieve such progress. UNITAR'S Strategic Implementation of the 2030 Agenda Unit is a member of the consortium along with the University of Geneva, the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), the Politecnico di Milano, and the Université de Paris-CRI.

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