Rural women and their communities have little to no contribution to climate change but are adversely affected by the phenomenon.
In a national precursor event to ActionAid International’s launch of their research- How the Finance Flows: The Banks Fueling the Climate Crisis, ActionAid International Kenya (AAIK) held a forum where rural women, the youth and children recounted how climate change has impacted their lives.
ActionAid Kenya, partners and representatives from various communities launch the Climate Justice Campaign dubbed ‘Fund Our Future’ at an event held at Desmond Tutu Conference Centre in Nairobi, Kenya.
Following the drying up of the iconic River Ewaso Nyiro, Consolata Lomilo from Oldonyiro Isiolo County noted that women and girls had been trekking long distances in search of water.
“Trekking long distances in search of water meant that women and girls had little time for personal development and rest. Girls had to drop out of school to help out with house chores. When ActionAid came to our community, accessibility to clean water was one of the main intervention areas we identified. They (AAIK) drilled a borehole for the community that is now being managed by the women network,” said Lomilo.
Women from Kishushe, Taita Taveta and Elangata-Wuas, Kajiado County, added that human-wildlife conflict during these treks were many. The animals are also looking for water.
Jennifer Kibon, who attended COP27 in Egypt, noted that Kenya could borrow systems from the land of Pharaohs and produce more than sufficient food for the nation.
Representing the youth, Moses Thuranira said that young men and women in the rural areas afflicted by the climate crisis migrated to urban centres in search of livelihoods since farming is no longer viable.
Mwanajuma Hiribae, the Acting County Secretary and Head of Public Service Tana River County, was the keynote speaker.
“Africa is disproportionately affected by the climate crisis, and it only accounts for 4% of the harmful gases. The most developed countries are the main culprits in climate change, who use fossil fuel power and engage in industrial agriculture who must fund our future,” pointed out Hiribae, a former staff of ActionAid International Kenya.
On his part, Dr. Mithika Mwenda, co-founder and Executive Director of the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), said:
” It is time to repair the damage caused by climate change. We must slow the change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and minimizing unavoidable climate change’s adverse impacts. The issue of gender in Africa is very critical to the Climate Crisis, and it should not be a matter of tokenism,”
Pupils from Marafa in Kilifi, Kishushe in Taita Taveta, Nyokal in Homabay, Elangata-Wuas in Kajiado, Kathonzweni, Makueni County, Makima in Embu and Nairobi called on each person to be part of the solution to climate change. Their key message is:
“If you damage nature, nature will destroy you in return. Plant and nurture trees, preserve the soil and do not pollute the atmosphere, and our future will be secured.”
Setting the atmosphere right for the research launch on September 4, 2023, ActionAid International Secretary General Arthur Larok brought the matter to our tables when he said:
“When boiling milk rises, you remove the fire to prevent the milk from pouring over. Consequently, we will be calling these ‘fires’ by name, asking them to cut finance flows to fossil fuel and industrial agriculture.”
The event was graced by community members from areas where AAIK does programming in partnership with local organizations, the youth, school-going children, and peer organizations, including Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), Pellum Kenya and Christian Aid. Also in attendance were Njoro legislator Charity Kathambi Chepkwony, AAIK Board members led by the chairperson Sam Muga and staff.
Author: Mary Consolata Makokha, Communications Officer ActionAid Kenya. Edited by Ezra Kiriago ,Communications Coordinator ActionAid Kenya.