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United Way Mexico’s Climate Justice Through Community Support

Mexico is a resourceful country with a growing economy. In recent years, nearly 9 million Mexicans have been lifted above the lowest economic threshold. Despite this progress, 65.7% of the population experiences at least one form of social deprivation. Global environmental challenges are well-known. However, because of its geographic location, Mexico has a long history of dealing with disasters, especially earthquakes. In the past century, Mexico has experienced more than 180 earthquakes with a magnitude greater than 6.5. Recent natural disasters and health emergencies have prompted the United Way Mexico (UWM) team to ask: How can we prepare for emergency events?

In collaboration with the NGO CADENA and Marsh Brockman & Schuh, a global insurance brokerage and risk management consulting firm, UWM has developed a preventive strategy called "Comunidades Resilientes" (Resilient Communities). The project launched in a public school in Colonia del Valle in early September 2022. It aims to foster a culture of emergency prevention and resilience through 15 training sessions over four months. Two hundred beneficiaries received safety tools, enabling the formation of community civil protection brigades. Students and teachers at the school have learned to conduct drills that significantly reduce the risks their community faces in emergencies, including gas leaks, earthquakes and bomb threats, among others.

This experience, coupled with measures taken to combat COVID-19, has led the organization to develop actions, programs and projects aimed at achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. At UWM's annual meeting, Nancy Lara, CEO of United Way Mexico, outlined a new approach for executing and promoting projects through 2030. The initiatives will focus on three programmatic lines: Learning and Innovation; Sustainability and Dignified Life; and Food Security and Environment. The environmental initiatives consist of three innovative programs targeting three Sustainable Development Goals: Zero Hunger, Quality Education and Life on Land. The Resilient Communities program aims to bolster the food security of vulnerable communities through improved food availability, access, nutrition and stability.

Efforts to provide production assistance to communities will focus on ending hunger by ensuring that all individuals, particularly those in vulnerable situations including infants, have access to healthy, nutritious and sufficient food year-round. Lastly, strategies for sustainable, feasible and efficient environmental sustainability in businesses and communities will bolster the resilience of food production systems. Through these efforts, UWM hopes to implement agricultural practices that not only increase productivity but also contribute to ecosystem maintenance, strengthen adaptability to climate change, and mitigate the effects of extreme weather events, droughts and floods.

Like United Way organizations globally, UWM is committed to ensuring that everyone has an opportunity to thrive. In the context of Mexico's historical challenges with natural disasters, environmental prevention strategies offer a direct path to improving quality of life. To get involved or support strategies for environmental protection and disaster preparedness, contact your local United Way.