The world's poor are those most exposed to climate change that often brings drought, flooding, and other extreme weather.
DM2009 finalist projects aim to protect the most vulnerable from these disasters, while also helping them to develop economically. Overall, such initiatives are called "linking adaptation to development."
In Mozambique, droughts keep about 500,000 people in chronic food insecurity, and indications are that dry periods aggravated by climate change will stretch out beyond the current "hunger period" of October to January.
Helvetas Mozambique, one of the finalists, describes what happens:
"Without access to quality seeds, subsistence farmers practicing rain-fed agriculture continue recycling grain that has been exhausted after generations of cultivation, producing poor yields. Subsequent storage losses cause 22 percent of rural households to run out of stocks and suffer from food shortages during the..'hunger period.'"
To break this cycle, Swiss-based Helvetas proposes what it calls a "zero-emission fridge" consisting of low-cost storage facilities run by community-owned seed banks that "distribute quality seeds of improved crop varieties and serve as a social safety net to benefit 10,000+ rural households -- focusing particularly on the most resource-poor and vulnerable groups" (photo at left).