The green champions of change project is a project championed to ensure the participation of women and other marginalized groups in climate change process and other governance processes to ensure representation in decision making.
With the aim to ensure gender and eco-friendly alternative climate solutions are taken into account in policy, practice and budget allocations in Kenya, CRAWN Trust conducted a survey in three counties with the support of AMWA. Women, girls, youth and people with disability are highly disadvantaged in society with structural inequities impacting their contribution to their communities. Due to vulnerabilities created by climate change, women, youth and people with disability are most affected.
In a bid to understand the climate crisis and environmental destruction caused by climate change in the country, three Counties were selected for a baseline study. Through a inception meeting for gender and climate change vulnerability mapping, three counties were identified to be involved in the actions under the project. Focus group discussion, validation meetings and round table discussion with local government in three counties namely Nyandarua, Kwale and West Pokot informed the baseline report.
The finding from the study found a lack of awareness and urgency in the community in regards to climate change. Indicators are quite visible of the gradually changing climate but there is a disconnect on what this means for the community at large. famers in Nyandarua talked of drying rivers and reduced produced in addition to new pests and diseases. Herders and farmers in West Pokot talked of scarcity of waters and food which has lead to an incline in early marriages and school drop outs. Ironically when it rains in West Pokot, floods cover the land mass leading to loss of crops and animals yet when the rains stop, the community cannot get clean water. In Kwale, a well-known agricultural prominent area due to heavy rainfall is now struggling to feed the community with activities around the ocean such as sand excursion and pollution threatening marine life. This is turn threatens the core of their livelihood as tourism and fishing are big economic contributor in the county.
The study also shown that community members do not participate in government affairs or community activities that require public participation Thus, there was need to sensitize the locals on the need for public participation in County activities such as budget making, Policy making, citizen fora and county planning. The residents were also impacted with knowledge regarding Gender Differentiated Effects of Climate Change, mitigation actions and they need to do in collaboration with duty bearers.
Due to the structural inequalities that women and girls in Kenya face, they are hugely impacted by the climate crisis and environmental destruction. As systemic discrimination tends to be amplified in times of disaster, women and vulnerable communities are also often further marginalised by disaster and disaster response, so specific efforts are necessary to ensure that climate and environmental action reaches and is driven by these groups. Advancing gender equality at local, national, and global levels, including through women’s participation and decision-making, is fundamental to climate action and to environment and disaster risk reduction policy and response. “Women need to be empowered for them to understand their rights, understand the law and their responsibility as per the Kenyan constitution.” Mwanakombo Jerumani, NWSC coordinator, Kwale.