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This is How To Tackle Climate Change To Solve Food Sustainability

Patrick Ashby co-founded his non-profit VISO, the Voluntary Initiative Support Organization, in 2004 to focus on countering violent extremism in Northern Uganda, a region racked by nearly 20 years of civil war and a recent influx of over one million Sudanese refugees.

The area, he says, is now plagued by “strife between the communities, high unemployment, and now climate change has wreaked havoc causing dramatic food shortages that have resulted in people only having one meal a day.”

To tackle this thorny problem, Ashby recently gathered a group of community members together to use AREA to solve food security, safety and sustainability. He says that while his organization, “VISO has implementation strategies, they are technical, so we needed a creative solution and that’s where we thought to use the AREA Method that I learned when I met Cheryl long ago at a State Department workshop on countering violent extremism.”

He adds, “solving food sustainability is such a big and complex problem. We needed a long-term solution for multiple communities. We needed an organized way to gather evidence that included all stakeholders and put strengthening relationships and building trust between the communities at the very center of the problem solving. We also needed a way to confront bias and assumptions. AREA does all of that.”

Patrick began by identifying and co-creating a Vision of Success with the community representatives he gathered: We will identify sustainable food supplies that will be responsive to how climate change has altered the landscape.

Together they derived their Critical Concepts:

Sustainable: What has happened to the climate? How is it impacting food production in our region?
Food supplies: What food supply options do we have and how might those options fare amid continuing climate change predictions in our region?
Altered the landscape: Are regions impacted evenly? What does it mean for food production if they are not?

Listen to my conversation with Patrick about his amazing story to tackle climate change, food sustainability, and civil unrest in Northern Uganda here.


To learn more about VISO and supporting its mission please click here:

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