Sunday, 3 August 2014

Indigenous Peoples and Climate Change in Kenya

By Stella N. Rakwach, MDP 2nd Year Student 

For the second half of my field placement, I have worked mostly on the CRM (Changieni Rasili Mali) Project. CRM Project aims at promoting climate change adaptation for natural resource dependent communities in Narok County. CRM is a joint project being implemented by Indigenous Information Network (IIN), our host organization, and Kenya Forest Working Group (KFWG) courtesy of funding from Act!. CRM aims to improve the participation by communities in the governance and sustainable utilization of natural resources in Kenya.

Stella at climate change meeting at UNEA
The Indigenous peoples in Kenya, who mostly live in arid and marginalized communities in Kenya, have suffered more from the effects of climate change. Hence their sources of livelihoods have been hugely affected in relation to food security and agriculture, livestock and pastoralism, water resources, forestry and energy. Through the CRM project we jointly developed three main interventions /adaptation mechanisms:

          Policy development within the counties; 
          Capacity building & strengthening of local natural resources community institutions; and
          Knowledge management i.e. sharing of climate change related knowledge on policy, best practices and technologies. 

Out of the numerous activities involved in a project of this magnitude, I have been involved in quite a number including: 

a) Establishing a community resource center to collect, store and disseminate on continuous basis reliable climate change information; 

b) Preparing a checklist and questionnaire for undertaking a baseline survey for benchmarking key elements of climate change adaptation. Aimed at identifying challenges, vulnerable areas, current coping mechanisms, existing policies, climate change awareness and livelihoods support system;

c) Design of climate change awareness materials such as: t-shirts, brochures, lessons (traditional wrap fabric worn by women) and posters;
d) Research on existing climate change policies, legislation and strategies in Kenya plus on-going climate change adaptation mechanisms in the areas of agriculture, energy, livestock, water resources and forestry; and

e) Developing a work plan for the second phase of the project and reviewing budgetary allocations towards implementation activities. 

Ewaso Nyiro River (in Narok County) drying up

Last but not least, I also took part in a civil society organizations (CSOs) stakeholder round table discussion of the Climate Change Bill & Policy courtesy of Transparency International. The discussion culminated into proposed amendments and recommendations that would be forwarded by the CSOs representative to the Kenyan Parliament for consideration when the Climate Change Bill, 2014 is brought to the floor of the house at the second stage. 

All in all, I have had a great time in Kenya and I am grateful to the MDP fraternity together with IIN, my hosts, for making this field placement a success.

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