Jenniffer Kalunda, a 36-year-old farmer from Mathiakani in Kitui County is expecting a bumper yield in the next rainy season after adopting climate change adaptation practices taught by the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance.
According to Mrs Kalunda, she decided to follow the advice on early farm preperation, soil and water conservation technology by digging terraces, and crop diversification.
The mother of four told our field officers that during the dry season she works at a nearby quarry, adding that she hopes the interventions will yield more produce for her family and for sale to her neighbours.
She noted that she had experienced the impacts of climate change and thanked PACJA for organising the Community training on Climate Change Adaptation, Natural Resource Management and Agricultural production that she believes will enable her to adapt to the impacts of climate change.
Contact Person: Mr. Kitali Wendo
Project Goal: Towards Enhanced Climate Change Governance in Kenya
About the Project
This project seeks to promote effective climate change governance in Kenya through coordination among civil societies to engage and advocate for a transparent, accountable, participatory climate change governance process. This will be possible when civil society explores ways to work together on thematic issues within climate change and the capacity of thematic working groups is built to meaningfully collaborate under the newly enacted Climate Change Act 2016 regime.
This will be realized through the inclusive participation of all stakeholders based on a complementary approach to support the government led climate change processes. The approach will be based on improved and enhanced CSO capacity to comprehensively engage and provide stakeholder-informed interventions through an enhanced participatory role.
Strengthened CSO thematic working groups provide informed input, technical review papers, and information on climate change processes including government-led climate change interventions with the participation of CSOs.
The strategy empowers CSOs to participate in governance and their own development by addressing climate change gaps within governance processes as well as enhancing CSO capacity to effectively engage, while at the same time offering informed perspectives that complement government’s work through enhanced participation.
The project covers a national scope.
- To catalyse and facilitate civil society and broader citizen participation in the implementation of the National Climate Change Act, 2016, review of the National Climate Change Action Plan (2018-2022), Implementation of the Nationally Determined Contributions and Influence the National Climate Change Council
- To track and monitor climate financing to ensure National Budget allocated for climate change and other climate finance streams meet the needs of the most vulnerable communities at the frontline of climate change impacts.
- To solidify gains achieved in the coordination of diverse groups aimed at consolidating a unified civil society voice in national climate change policy dialogues and interventions (This means consolidating the fragmented CSO efforts in the climate change space for unified and impactful interventions.
- Strengthened civil society for improved engagement in climate change governance in Kenya
GAZI BAY, Kenya (PAMACC News) - Putting on gumboots and armed with clubs and machetes, Hassam Bakari, 44, a forest guard in Makongeni mangrove fishing village at Gazi Bay along Kenya’s coastline slashes through a thick canopy, making his way along a trail of mixed shrub trees in swamps.
Hassam is among over 400 community members of the Mikoko Pamoja (in Swahili meaning Mangroves Together) project driving the expansion of Kenya’s first blue carbon credit scheme, providing multiple income generating activities and fighting climate change in the region.
“We now protect this area day and night because the livelihood and future of our children depends on these mangroves,” Hassam said during a visit of researchers and environment experts to the mangrove restoration project in the run up to the UN Environment General Assembly on December 2, 2017.
Like Hassam, the people of this coastal community say they are giving their all to make the mangrove restoration project a global reference, but for lack of financial means the impetus for expansion and protection is coming from the Global Environment Facility (GEF), via the United Nations Environmental Programme, UNEP.
According to Anne Wanjoru, Social impact officer of Mikoko Pamoja, the expansion of the mangrove restoration project had become necessary following increasing acceptance of the population to engage fully in the project.
“The population are now willing to voluntarily participate and this is driving the expansion and protection scheme of the project, “Anne said.
The expansion phase of the project that started in 2015 with funding of 100.000 dollars from GEF via
UNEP has seen the acres of the mangrove forest of Mikoko Pamoja increase by 117 bringing the total size of mangroves in Makonzeni, Gazi and Chale to 615 acres.
For the local population this means more income not only from a surging carbon credit sales, but also a multiplication of income generating activities.
“We are getting more and more tourists, scientists, researchers visiting and this means big markets for our fish, handicraft, restaurant business and improved income for the population,” says Jesphat Mmtwan the project coordinator.
The new community plan of action is not only limited to expansion. Efforts at protection have more than double. Every household in the community sends representatives to act as forest guards.
“We are one family here and need to protect what we have toiled to put together,” said Mohamed Ardi, another fisher man and trader in Gazi bay.
A tower of over 40 meters high has been constructed to permit community forest guards have an overview of the area against invaders while a 450 meters broad walk also set up not only to permit tourists and other visitors get a better appreciation of the rich mangrove forest but also to reinforce security, the project officials say.
The expansion of Gazi bay mangrove has made the project the biggest in Africa according to UNEP programme management officer, Gabriel Grimsditch.
On a global scale, the restoration expansion will serve as a push to ongoing drive towards including mangroves in the national Redd+ action plan and strategies.
Mangroves, scientists say has a higher capacity of capturing carbon than biomass (terrestrial rianforest trees).
According James Kairo, chief scientist with the Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute, KMFRI , pitlands in mangroves store three times more carbon than terrestrial rainforest.
The biggest storage on carbon is in the soil and in mangrove areas, tidal movement make sediments get trapped by mangroves and there is build up of carbon storage, he explains.
“Mangroves are unique tropical forest with an exceptional ability to capture and store carbon,” Kairo says.
The Gazi Mangrove project for example stores over 3000 tonnes of carbon per year which is sold at over 12,000 US dollars annually according to statistics from KMFRI. The carbons are bought mostly by Earth Watch and the money obtained is ploughed back into development projects in the community, the villagers benefiting from the projects admit.
Money obtained from sale of carbon credits is used to buy books for children and equip schools, making it easier and encouraging for parents to send their children to school, a complete break from a long standing tradition where children were initiated into fishing and many abandoned school because their parents could not afford.
“Schools in Gazi and Makongeni have been reconstructed with more classrooms, textbooks distributed to pupils for free and this has encouraged many more parents to send their children to school,” says Anne Wanjiru.
The Mangrove forest in the area had in the past suffered from serious degradation by activities of, commercial loggers, and industries dealing with wood from mangroves as well as local fishing community members smoking fish. The community members say illegal and abusive mangrove cutting use to scare fish away making life perilous for the fishing communities of Makongeni, Chale and Gazi villages.
“We could hardly get fish even to eat, talk less of selling to earn income to support our families and send our children to school,” says Josephat Mnwarima, fisherman and coordinator of the Mikoko Pamoja mangroves restoration and protection project.
But now things have changed for the better according to members of the fishing community.
“I now catch three times more fish than I used to before 2010,” says Wanga Ahmed a fisherman from Wasini Island one of the villages in the area.
He expresses hope that with the ongoing expansion scheme, their community will in the future by a haven for varied species of fish bringing more income and better living condition to the population
UNEP says the mangrove forest expansion scheme is a global project also happening in other countries in the continent like Madagascar, Mozambique.
“UNEP is supporting similar initiatives in other countries in the continent,” Gabriel says.
However the scheme is not without challenges.
“We have had a series of challenges driving the expansion scheme,” he admits.
These include difficulties in carrying out scientific assessment of carbon stocks, getting the mostly illiterate village communities understand the importance of the project and also getting more buyers of carbon stocks.
“We also have problems of leakages. In the course of protecting one area we sometimes discover the mangrove cutters have relocated to other areas,” Gabriel says.
As solution, he says UNEP is supporting the planting of casuarina trees, a specie that grows quickly for wood used by locals thus preventing the cutting of mangroves.
African authorities have saluted the support by development stakeholders to the Kenyan local community mangrove conservation initiative to fight climate change, calling on the project to be replicated in other coastal regions in the continent.
“We have to be proud of our continent and support good practices that serves as world model like the local community-led mangrove conservation efforts in Kenya. In the next African environment ministers meeting in South Africa 2018 efforts at replicating such initiative will be put on the table,” announced Pacome Moubelet Boubeya, President of African Ministerial Conference on the Environment, at the ongoing UN Environment Assembly in Nairobi, Kenya.
“The future of food – if the biosphere and her humanity are to be sustained – is local, organic, permaculture exchanged without intermediaries.” – Dr. Glen Barry
The global environment is collapsing and dying. For too long we have lived our lives as if nature doesn’t matter and have failed to embrace an ecology ethic. We have treated water, air, land, and oceans as resources to be plundered and as waste dumps. Nothing grows forever – certainly not economies on the back of finite ecological systems – and mass psychosis pretending infinite growth is possible is a death wish.
Such ecological imprudence is now catching up with us, threatening our very daily bread.
Climate change is having profound impacts upon agricultural systems including a lack of regular seasonality. That is, the boundaries between cold and warm, and dry and wet, periods have become highly variable. In much of the world this makes it difficult to know when to grow your food. Knowing when to plant and when to harvest is becoming extremely problematic and this aseasonality is decreasing yields. This climate weirding is the direct result of our haphazard changing of atmospheric chemistry.
Climate change is making it more difficult to grow food the way we have been. Huge swathes of farmland are faced by droughts and floods. Temperate region’s lack of cold weather and snow has meant an increase in agricultural pests. Similarly, factory animal agriculture and fisheries are being hammered from disease, parasites, and decreased feed stocks brought on by abrupt climate change.
Shifting seasonality, and at times even a lack of seasonality, simply exacerbate problems associated with industrial farming. Modern agriculture consumes massive amounts of fossil fuels which cause both warming and are finite. Factory animal farming’s prodigious amounts of fecal waste become even more toxic in the heat. Increasingly toxic GMO Frankenseeds are being peddled in conjunction with a soup of dangerous chemicals as a means to keep production high.
Our increased dependence upon limited genotypes mean that one crop or animal disease could swiftly kill vast amounts of agricultural products ushering in massive price increases and widespread hunger. Soils are eroding and becoming less fertile due to increased industrial intensification.
Any increase in plant growth from increased temperatures and/or carbon dioxide is quickly eliminated as another limiting factor such as water and nutrient availability goes unmet. In many cases rising temperatures simply kill plants. And the food that is grown is often stressed and thus contains fewer nutrients. The end result of climate-stressed industrial agriculture is low-quality junk foods that are killing our bodies and our planet. Much of the over-developed world is addicted to the sugar and additives found in this industrially produced crap.
As the global food supply becomes more precarious and subject to unexpected extreme weather events, the global population continues to soar and has now reached approximately 7.5 billion people.
Already nearly one billion people experience chronic hunger, sapping their soul and energy, and providing limited opportunity for a healthy and fulfilling life. Billions of emerging consumers now view steaks and hamburgers as their birthright, with all the attendant medical and ecological costs. In much of the world the cost of food is by far the greatest expenditure, and quality food is increasingly expensive in over-developed nations as well.
The world’s agricultural system is weak and vulnerable to major disruption that will soon result in an international famine of the sort that already ravages numerous nations such as Haiti and Somalia. Abrupt climate change may well be the final straw that ushers in global mass hunger and collapse into the bad sort of anarchy.
It is difficult to communicate the horrors that await us if the globe faces widespread failure of food systems. Suffice it to say that post-modern collapse will utterly strip cosmopolitan consumers of technological vestiges of comfort including variety of high-quality and nutritious food. Rural areas will face a shortage of open-pollinating seed due to seed monopolies, and lack of traditional farming know how. Everyday life will be a struggle to avoid murder, find food, and otherwise meet basic needs. Sadly this is already the reality for a billion people who live in abject poverty, and soon it will be all our fates if we don’t change.
It is increasingly probable that climate change will precipitate a massive crop failure on a global scale. Perhaps America’s wheat and corn crops fail. Or globally a drought persists for years that wrecks the majority of Earth’s foodstocks. Or a super pathogen takes out genetically modified corn. One can expect in our lifetime for periods where the supermarkets are mostly empty and each of us left to persist from what we can raise, exchange, or gather locally.
Imagine the coming horror of starvation in the heartland as formerly petite bourgeoisie experience the depredations of the street people they once ignored.
The solutions are difficult yet known. We must re-localize our agriculture systems. More of our food must be grown in our own bioregion, and exchanged and consumed locally. Much more of our population is going to have to find employment in growing food. Every human being will be called upon to grow an increasing percentage of their own food, and bartering and otherwise exchanging their surplus with those nearby.
The use of fossil fuels must be eliminated from the global food chain. Factory animal feedlots must be eliminated and whatever meat is produced come from time-tested small scale animal husbandry practices (or when desired eliminated).
Monocultures protected with synthetic toxic pesticides and herbicides are literally death traps. We must return to inter-cropping and no-till agriculture that focuses upon maintaining the soil’s structure and fertility. The emphasis must be upon organic food production and permaculture from natural seed stocks, whereby the boundaries between natural ecosystems, tree crops, and food crops are not strictly delineated.
Permaculture is committed to realizing the full potential of righteous land and soil management to benefit the community’s well-being including both high-quality food and ecosystems. Increasingly our forest tree crops and traditional garden vegetables will be intermingled, to the extent feasible given a bioregion’s flora, as forests and gardens merge.
In general, an agro-ecology ethic requires a profound shift in global consciousness to re-embrace our oneness with nature. Industrial agriculture has viewed natural ecosystems as decadent wastelands that should be destroyed, rather than embracing them as the ecosystem engines that make the biosphere habitable. And which provide the genetic seed stocks and inspiration for constructing semi-natural productive ecosystems.
Continued exponential growth in human populations, particularly as some have so much as many have so little, can only result in global ecological collapse. Human population growth must be limited with urgency through incentives, and educating all girls and boys, including in the use of contraception; or the global environmental system will seek balance far more harshly. And there is no path to food sustainability that does not include reducing military expenditures, a basic income, and more sharing. Fairness is not communism.
In sum, much more work must be done to achieve the balance between natural and semi-natural productive ecosystems necessary to sustain Earth, her humanity, and all creatures. My peer-reviewed science “Terrestrial Ecosystem Loss and Biosphere Collapse” suggests that 2/3 of Earth’s land mass must remain as ecosystems, 2/3 of which must be natural ecosystems (44%), and 1/3 semi-natural permaculture and other productive ecosystems (22%).
Or we face biosphere collapse and the end of being.
The future of food – if the biosphere and her humanity are to be sustained – is local, organic, permaculture exchanged without intermediaries.
EcoInternet is committed to re-localizing, detoxifying, and making global food systems ecologically sustainable. We are in the process of creating Internet resources which will help fulfill this vision. And we could use your help. More soon on these exciting initiatives.
This article first appeared on www.pamacc.org
The Arctic is melting with no turning back. Climate change increased rainfall during Hurricane Harvey by at least 15%. And several extreme weather events that occurred in 2016 would not have been possible without man-made global warming.
These are among the findings being discussed this week at this fall’s meeting of the American Geophysical Union in New Orleans, the largest gathering of Earth scientists in the world. Taken together, the findings show the deepening urgency of the fight against climate change.
“Climate change is hurting us without a doubt,” said James Byrne, a professor at the University of Lethbridge who studies climate change, at a press conference. “Houston, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, British Columbia — worst fire season ever. California, I think they declared it the worst fire season.”
Scientists have explored the link between climate change and extreme weather events for years, but many of the conclusions have relied on forecasts of potential future damage. This year, scientists say, the findings are no longer theoretical. Man-made global warming is causing problems here and now.
Take the American Meteorological Society’s report on extreme weather events in 2016, the sixth annual iteration of the report. In the past, the group found that likelihood had increased the chances of certain extreme weather events. But this year scientists found that 2016’s record global temperatures and historic warm waters in the Bering Sea “would not have been possible” in a world without human-caused climate change.
“These events were not just influenced by human-caused climate change,” said Jeff Rosenfeld of the American Meteorological Society at a press conference. “Some of the events in 2016 could not have happened without climate change.”
The report also highlighted global heat waves, an extreme occurrence of El Niño and bleaching of coral reefs. These extreme events are all closely tied to climate change, though they remain theoretically possible in a world without the phenomenon.
Another report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration found that the state of continued ice melt, loss of snow cover and warm temperatures will be the “new normal” in the Arctic. The signs of climate change in the region have been pronounced for years as air temperatures have risen there at twice the rate as they have globally.
The effects of a melting Arctic — and the strong likelihood that it will not return to a normal state anytime soon — has significant implications far beyond its boundaries. Arctic sea ice plays an important role moderating global temperatures as it reflects sunlight back into space. And scientists say that the swift warming in the Arctic is a concerning sign of what’s to come globally. “Unlike Vegas what happens in the Arctic doesn’t stay in the Arctic,” said Tim Gallaudet, acting NOAA administrator, at a press conference. “It affects the rest of the planet.”
Two separate studies presented at the conference showed that climate change worsened rainfall when Hurricane Harvey struck Houston earlier by somewhere between 15% and 38%. That storm brought nearly 50 inches of rain to some areas and caused billions in damages. The research comes as scientists increasingly try to draw explicit conclusions about the effect of climate change and individual storms, a practice unthinkable just a decade ago.
The warning from scientists comes as policymakers across the globe continue to grapple how to stem temperature rise. Countries have committed to trying to keep temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius (or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2100, but recent research shows leaders remain far from meeting that goal.
This article was published in http://time.com/
The Pan African Climate Justice Alliance has welcomed the commitments by developed states and private businesses to move away from fossil fuels toward greener enterprises in a bid to mitigate climate change.
Speaking in Paris, France during the One Planet Summit, PACJA Secretary General Mithika Mwenda lauded the commitments by private organisations to mitigate climate change, saying it was time rich nations took responsibility for the part they played in speeding up climate change.
Here are five of the major areas covered during the summit:
- Oil and gas
The World Bank said it would stop financing oil and gas exploration and extraction — representing about two percent of its current portfolio — from 2019, becoming the first multilateral bank to take such a step.
From next year the bank will publish a yearly index of greenhouse gas-related projects it provides funding for and will price in carbon costs when it comes to assessing future investments.
Insurance giant Axa announced it will cease investing in any company involved in the construction of coal plants and will withdraw about 2.5 billion euros ($2.9 billion) from the sector.
The French firm also said it will pull 700 million euros from projects linked to tar sands pipeline projects, and put nine billion euros into "green" infrastructural investment through 2020.
More than 200 large-scale investors, including HSBC and the major US pension fund CalPERS, have agreed to put pressure on the world's 100 most polluting companies to persuade them to reduce emissions.
The "Climate Action 100+" initiative will target oil giants such as BP and Chevron as well as transport behemoths Airbus and Ford and mining groups ArcelorMittal, BHP Billiton and Glencore.
The French Development Agency (AFD) signed agreements with a clutch of African states including Niger and Tunisia to help them in their fight against climate change, including countering the effects of erosion.
Under the agreements, 30 million euros will be set aside for 15 developing counties over four years.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the European Commission promised to earmark more than $600 million for agricultural research to combat the effects of climate change.
The Gates Foundation itself pledged $315 million to help the poorest players in the sector, notably in Africa, adapt to global warming, while the European Commission pledged $318 million.
The One Planet Summit was convened by President Emmanuel Macron of France, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres, and World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim.
More information from AFP
The Pan African Climate Justice Alliance, with funding support from Trocaire through the Irish Aid 2017-2021 Kenya programme, on Monday conducted a training on energy policies and adoption of available technologies in Mwingi, Kitui County.
The training that was held under the project “Enhancing Policy Change on Natural Resource Management and Climate Change at the National and County level’’ brought together 40 participants drawn from the Natural Resource Management (NRM) group and Community Disaster Management Rapid Response (CDMRR).
The groups were taken from Ngumi and Ngomeni Wards in Mwingi Sub-County in Kitui County. During the training, the participants were trained on to the existing policies at the county and national level. The participants also gained knowledge in the following critical topics: Energy Efficient Cooking stoves, Efficient Charcoal production (including Kitui county charcoal production regulation), Solar power, Biogas production, and Biomass.
The participants learned that by adopting clean energy technologies they would reap immense benefits including reduced time and cost needed to get energy services while protecting their local environment and subsequently, contributing to hunger and poverty reduction in their communities.
Speaking after the conclusion of the session, the participants noted that they are happy with the new knowledge and skills acquired during the training, adding that after the training they developed key policy message to address to their policymakers. A similar training is ongoing in Ishira-Embu County.
UNEA-3's Opening plenary UNEA-3's Opening plenary Over 4,000 stakeholders today (December 4) converged on the green terrains of the UN office in Nairobi, Kenya to witness the opening ceremony of the 3rd United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA3).
This year’s edition of the assembly, which is the highest –level decision-making body on the environment, aspires to consider new policies, innovations and financing capable of steering the world “Towards a Pollution-Free Planet.”
The UNEA-3 brings together governments, entrepreneurs, and activists who will share ideas and commit to taking positive action against the menace of pollution. UNEA-3 aims to deliver a number of tangible commitments to end the pollution of air, land, waterways, and oceans, and to safely manage chemicals and waste, including a negotiated long-term programme of action against pollution that is linked to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The High-Level Segment of UNEA-3, which will take place from 5-6 December, is also expected to endorse a political declaration on pollution, aimed at outlining policy measures for, inter alia: addressing pollution to protect human health while protecting the developmental aspirations of current and future generations.
The ministerial segment will debut the interactive ‘Leadership Dialogues,’ aimed at providing participants with an opportunity for high-level engagement and discussion on how to achieve a pollution-free planet. Other UNEA-3 outcomes will include voluntary commitments by governments, private sector entities and civil society organizations to address pollution, and the ‘#BeatPollution Pledge,’ a collection of individual commitments to clean up the planet.
Discussions at UNEA-3 will draw on a background report by the UNEP Executive Director, titled ‘Towards a Pollution-Free Planet.’ The Report explores the latest evidence, as well as responses and gaps in addressing pollution challenges, and outlines opportunities that the 2030 Agenda presents to accelerate action on tackling pollution.
Welcoming delegates to the assembly, Prof. Judy Wakhungu, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Natural Resources, declared that the assembly’s focus on beating pollution is very timely as pollution increases with every effort to provide services to our citizens.
“It is time, the world addressed this challenge without delay and agree on a common goal as a pollution-free planet cannot be achieved without working together,” she said. The environment is our responsibility; it is the source of our well-being. The fate of our world depends on the quality of the care we give it,” Prof Wakhungu added.
“Our collective goal must be to embrace ways to reduce pollution drastically,” said Dr. Edgar Gutiérrez, Minister of Environment and Energy of Costa Rica and the President of the 2017 assembly. “Only through stronger collective action, beginning in Nairobi this week, can we start cleaning up the planet globally and save countless lives.”
New report on the environment
According to a new UN Environment report, everyone on earth is affected by pollution. The report entitled “Executive Director’s Report: Towards a Pollution-Free Planet” is the meeting’s basis for defining the problems and laying out new action areas.
The report’s recommendations – political leadership and partnerships at all levels, action on the worst pollution, lifestyle changes, low-carbon tech investments, and advocacy – are based on analysis of pollution in all its forms, including air, land, freshwater, marine, chemical and waste pollution.
Overall, environmental degradation causes nearly one in four of all deaths worldwide, or 12.6 million people a year, and the widespread destruction of key ecosystems. Over a dozen resolutions are on the table at the assembly, including new approaches to tackle air pollution, which is the single biggest environmental killer, claiming 6.5 million lives each year.
Over 80% of cities operate below UN health standards on air quality. The report reveals that exposure to lead in paint, which causes brain damage to 600,000 children annually, and water and soil pollution are also key focus areas.
Also, over 80 percent of the world’s wastewater is released into the environment without treatment, poisoning the fields where we grow our food and the lakes and rivers that provide drinking water to 300 million people. According to the recently published report by the Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health, welfare losses due to pollution are estimated at over US$4.6 trillion each year, equivalent to 6.2 percent of global economic output.
“Given the grim statistics on how we are poisoning ourselves and our planet, bold decisions from the UN Environment Assembly are critical,” said head of UN Environment, Erik Solheim. “That is as true for threats like pollution as it is for climate change and the many other environmental threats we face.”
Corroborating the report, Ibrahim Jibril, Nigeria’s Minister of State for Environment in his statement at the plenary averred that “pollution affects the air, soil, rivers, seas, and health of Nigerians in an adverse way even though the actual cost has not been determined. Trans-boundary pollution, according to Jibril, “accounts for 28% of disease burdens in Africa.” The UNEA-3 will run from 4-6 December.
United Nations Environment in conjunction with UN Women, the African Union and the Pan African Parliament has today (December 2nd) launched the African Women Energy Entrepreneurs Framework at the United Nations Complex in Nairobi.
The launch was followed by a panel discussion on innovative solutions to empower African women in the energy sector.
The session, which was chaired by the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance, saw participants discuss the challenges facing women entrepreneurs in the clean energy sector.
Delivering the keynote address, Dr Joanes Atela from the African Center for Technology Studies said over 70 per cent of Africans don’t have access to clean and sustainable energy, adding that this energy poverty is driven by economic poverty.
“There is a close relationship between access to energy and social-economic development,” he said.
Dr Atela noted that women are at the center of energy needs in Africa, adding that women’s needs are much more critical in national and regional development.
Speaking at the same time, a representative from Strauss Energy Limited in Kenya noted that there are many policies developed on clean energy but the implementation takes time to be effected, this she said was punitive for investors in the clean energy space.
Her sentiments were echoed by Aminata, a clean energy entrepreneur from Sierra Leone, who said that one of the issues facing women entrepreneurs in her country is that policies are not harmonized between government and other agencies, which is discouraging them from venturing into clean energy.
She noted that women entrepreneurs are charged an exorbitant fee, which is also charged on other companies including mining companies, which have more funds.
The women entrepreneurs who attended the meeting noted that access to finance has proved to be one of the greatest challenges facing them, adding that it would help if development banks provided financing to women operating in the clean energy space.
They lamented that there are no incentives to ensure commercial banks support women entrepreneurs, adding red tape coupled with high interest rates has become an obstacle to women entrepreneurs.
However, speaking at the same function, Jennifer, a representative from Rafiki Micro-finance noted that the institution finances groups (chamas) made up of 90 per cent women membership under their Chama Product, adding that they don’t require collateral.
“We give women facilities that don’t require collateral to ensure the traditional custodianship of property does not affect them,” she noted.
A representative from Safaricom also gave a testimonial of the value that mobile-based loans have offered small women traders, adding that there is an opportunity in the space to enable more women entrepreneurs to get access to funding.
The meeting noted that it was important for women to be involved in the entire energy value chain, noting that for a large part, women have been consumers and distributors of energy, not generators.
The Africa Women Energy Entrepreneurs Framework (AWEEF) will be used as a platform to address the challenges and obstacles facing women entrepreneurs and to implement innovative solutions that will encourage the participation of women in the entire energy value chain.
The programme contributes towards the achievement of multiple Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular, SDG 13 (take urgent action to combat climate change), SDG 7 (ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all) and SDG 5 (achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls).
Martha Mbithi has lived at Jenini Village in Mwingi for over 40 years.
The 52-year-old mother of 12 has seen the impacts of climate change in her village, which have grossly affected her farming activities and livelihood for her family.
The Pan African Climate Justice Alliance conducted a field visit recently to assess how Ms Mbithi and other members of her village are coping with the effects of changing weather patterns following various trainings that have been carried out to educate them on how to cope.
Speaking to our team, Ms Mbithi explained in detail how the flora of the area has changed over the years, noting that some plants have completely disappeared and that farmers have abandoned the farming of certain crops due to harsh weather conditions and failed crops.
After attending a training organized by PACJA, Ms Mbithi has adopted better farming practices such as terraces, crop diversification, and early planting to adapt to the changing climate.
She noted that although this is her first farming season after PACJA’s intervention, she’s observing gradual changes on her farm.
Some of the changes she noted included, reduced surface erosion, increased water retention, increase on-farm organic matters. With the changes that have occurred, she believes that she will have an increase in crop yield and a good harvest in the next rainy season.