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In the implementation of actions to promote the green economy and climate justice in Central Africa, the Secretary General of the Economic Community of Central African States signed on Friday agreements with UIL, ROSCEVAC and the PACJA.

This is a win for PACJA, the Gabonese people, and ROSEVAC.

 

Nairobi - Mzalendo Joseph Mithika Mwenda has had an interesting journey in his fight for climate justice, and can now look back with a smile.

He takes us through his life, family, education, and the Climate Justice fight

Early Life

Slightly over four decades ago, one Mithika Mwenda was born to a humble family in Anchenge Village, Akachiu Ward in Igembe South Constituency of Meru County in Kenya.

His parents, Alois Mwenda and Susana Thirindi, had no idea they were raising a man that would one day be recognized globally for his efforts to achieve climate justice, especially for poor communities.

Mithika, a son of many mothers (his father had three wives), and brother to many, was the firstborn to his father's third wife.

He understands the social fabric of African settings, where children belonged to the community. His father, a teacher, cared for his three wives and children and treated them equally. Courtesy of this, Mithika got a humble upbringing, turning out as an example to many children of his age in his village.

Mithika underwent all the rites expected of him, including going through traditional Meru circumcision, where they were prepared for their future.

Mithika lost his father long before he could start fending for himself, thus his mother was left with the burden of taking care of him and his siblings. Mithika had no choice but to assume responsibilities of supporting his mother to cater for other siblings right away. This shaped his social life and later, his career.

Education and Leadership

Mithika considers his training as a teacher accidental, and blames the system of education that tends to dictate what learners study, saying it is a mistake. "By the time I was getting to Second Year in the university I had discovered that I was not made to be a teacher. I, however, didn’t have a choice, as the system had condemned me to do so..." he says.

His leadership prowess started emerging when, in Third Year at Moi University, he was elected the Vice-Chairman of Moi University Students Organisation. As a student leader, he joined the rest of the students in Kenya in agitating for national values and good governance, both at university level and nationally.
Mithika joined hands with other students to oppose wanton destruction of land grabbing and forest excision across the country, which had seen parcels dished out to politically well-connected people in the Government. The memorable moment came when Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai led Kenyans to invade Karura Forest in Nairobi to protest annexation of thousands of acres for the benefit of individuals. "It is the solidarity of comrades that liberated Karura Forest from the jaws of land grabbers...and travelling more than 500 kilometres from Moi University to express solidarity with conservationists like Wangari and students from Kenyatta University and Nairobi University was indeed a sacrifice worth undertaking," says Mithika.
Mithika was hugely inspired by Wangari Maathai and by the time he was leaving Moi University, he had made his choice; to fight for the most oppressed by whatever means possible. He joined a reform movement, then led by powerful civil society organizations and the clergy, among them Timothy Njoya, Kibutha Kibwana, Kamau Kuria and Davinda Lamba. Within time, he was elected the youth Coordinator for Eastern Province for the National Convention Assembly, which was instrumental in agitating for Kenya's new Constitution that was later promulgated in 2010. He eventually became the Co-convenor of the Movement, reaching the pinnacle for his activism.

Formed Newspaper, Arrested

When information was highly controlled by Government, he founded a newspaper, "Mzalendo", which he distributed and used as a tool to articulate his views and those who he considered lacking voice in a widely elitist and State-controlled media. With connections he had gained at national level, Mithika started several community initiatives to create awareness, but which came into conflict with State security enforcement bodies such as police. In such times, finding oneself in police cells and courts on trumped-up charges was not alien. Mithika was arrested and charged several times, but he proved his innocence demonstrating to courts that his activism was for the good of the society.
During the agitation for the new constitution, he missed death by a whisker when police descended on him and other activists, accusing them of mayhem. It took an intervention of fellow activists for police to produce him in a hospital at a time activists were being killed. He won the case against the State.

Environmental activism

It is during this period when activists had no space in Kenya that Mithika joined the environmental activism movement, where he has gained global recognition as one of the most influential people on climate policy in the world. "After we liberated Kenya from oppressive constitution, I thought my skills were needed elsewhere and that's why I decided to join the climate justice movement," he told reporters one time. "And leading PACJA (Pan African Climate Justice Alliance) into a formidable environmental movement in Africa is a fulfillment of my ambition, which I set 10 years ago," Mithika says.

Mithika was in March 2019, declared one of the World’s Top 100 Most Influential People on Climate Justice. This achievement has been celebrated by many, including the Pan African Parliament that recently recognized him and said it was glad to associate with Mithika because of his ceaselessly hardworking nature.

This September 14th Mithika will receive Sierra Club’s prestigious Earth Care Award in the United State for his “unique contribution to international environmental protection and conservation”.

“You were nominated for this award by the Sierra Club’s International Environmental Justice Team in recognition of your work,” Ellen Davis, the Sierra Club Honors and Awards Committee chair, told Mithika in a congratulatory message in July.

Wednesday, 21 August 2019 00:00

PACJA follows up on its project in Embu County

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KENYA - The Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) has done a monitory visit in Embu County.

The monitoring was spearheaded by Ms Sellah Wanjekeche, the PACJA’s M & E Officer. She was accompanied by a team from the PACJA secretariat to follow-up meetings with Mr Benson Ireri, an MCA from Embu County. They mapped out stories of change under the UKAM-funded “Community Resilience and Climate Change Adaptation project” that was done in the county by PACJA.

Mr Ireri was full of gratitude for the support PACJA has given them towards creating awareness among the county’s Ward Representatives, specifically those within the Lands and Natural Resource Committee of the County Assembly, on matters climate change.

“We are grateful for PACJA’s support in the ongoing climate change process,” said Mr Ireri.

Nicholas Ngece, the Chief Officer, Department of Environment, Environmental Approvals and Natural Resources in Embu County, appreciated the support PACJA has given them towards putting in place the County Climate Finance Bill.

Even before it is passed into law, some development partners such as the Adaptation Consortium, have expressed interest in supporting some of the aspects within the Bill specifically those related to investment.

YAOUNDE — The Pan-African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) is partnering with the Pan-African Media Alliance on Climate Change (PAMACC) to deliver training for African journalists on the sidelines of the Eight Conference on Climate Change and Development in Africa (CCDA VIII).

More than three dozen journalists will be introduced to the latest climate change science and debates during a whole day of seminars and workshops at the African Union Commission conference facilities in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on 27 August 2019.

The training will include three formative seminars by a leading scientist, a government representative and a civil society activist; followed by workshops during which journalists will share experiences, promote learning and chart next steps.

PACJA believes media and journalists both play a critical role in raising climate change awareness, influencing policy and inspiring action, but often lack the tools and skills to accomplish these tasks.

Since its inception, the Alliance has led the field in improving the quality of media reporting of climate change in Africa. Its flagship media initiatives include the establishment of PAMACC, a network of climate change reporters, the creation of the prestigious annual African Climate Change and Environmental Reporting Awards (ACCER) and the running of the ACCER Wards Finalists Academy (TAAFA) in partnership with the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDNK).

The annual CCDA is the foremost gathering for climate action in Africa. Journalists have a unique opportunity to meet frontline actors from government, civil society and the private sector during the eighth summit from 28 to 30 August 2019.  

 

The PACJA Gabon platform has just strengthened its governance structures, with its extraordinary general assembly.

During the August 10, 2019 meeting at its headquarters in Angondje, Sherko City, members representing more than 60 Gabonese civil society organisations were briefed on the new provisions regarding the life of the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance. "We have organised this general assembly to not only upgrade the new measures taken by headquarters to improve our management capabilities but also we are here today to reflect on the life of our platform. We need to strengthen the cohesion between us members and recall the role of each one as a member of the PACJA," said the Chairman of the Supervisory Board Nicaise Moulombi.

Members were also entitled to the balance sheet of the different activities carried out by the various PACJA Gabon platform coordination committees between May 2018 and August 2019. Speaking of the new provisions, the National Coordinator of the PACJA-Gabon, informed attendees about the vision at the highest levels of PACJA, which aims to strengthen the management capacity of national platforms.

"We do not need to reach 2,000 members who do not know where we are going, who do not understand our vision and the scope of our commitment to Africa and the world. We must therefore co-opt new ones, but we must, above all, manage our projects well and deserve the confidence placed in Gabon. And for that, we need the involvement of everyone," said Fabrice Ntchango as he gave his presentation. He said it would take a lot of awareness to get to where PACJA wanted to be.
Another highlight, President Nicaise Moulombi, installed the newly promoted advisors to the Supervisory Board. They are Mr Flavien Mincko, who will assume the human rights pole, Mrs Elodie Bigondou, who will follow the financial planning, and Mr Ditenx Ibinga, the new head of the political pole.

At the level of the general secretariat, Mr Esdras Epmi is the new manager. He will be supported by Mr Breigneiv Mambila (in charge of external relations) and Mrs Ingrid Boussamba (in charge of legal relations).

The nominations that have been successfully received by the members of the General Assembly have not failed to encourage the new, with pledges already made to the task within the platform. All of the Council's proposals have been approved by members and the PACJA platform is now expected at the foot of the wall.

Wednesday, 07 August 2019 00:00

Our Success Story: Burkina Faso

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The Burkina Faso team, through Association for Education and the Environment (A-2E), has been implementing the REDD+ project in Northern region and Central North Region, specifically targeting Ouahigouya, Gourcy, Yako and Kaya locality. A-2E convened several meetings with CSOs and the REDD+ coordination office, and also championed a media campaign that has seen local stations teach communities about environment conservation.

Miss Salimata Dabal, the general secretary in the North region of Burkina Faso (second in command from the governor), says: “This is my first ever training on climate change and REDD+. I want to thank PACJA and A-2E for this training, which is an eye opener for me and for the community in this region. I pledge full support from the government to this initiative. Our doors are open to you. In fact, call us any time and we will respond as government. We are ready to walk with you all the way”.

 

L’équipe du Burkina Faso, par l’intermédiaire de l’Association pour l’éducation et l’environnement (A-2E), a mis en œuvre le projet REDD+ dans les régions du Nord et du Centre-Nord, en ciblant plus précisément les localités de Ouahigouya, Gourcy, Yako et Kaya. A-2E a convoqué plusieurs réunions avec les organisations de la société civile et le bureau de coordination de la REDD+, et s’est également fait le champion d'une campagne médiatique qui a vu les stations locales enseigner aux communautés la conservation de l'environnement.

Mlle Salimata Dabal, secrétaire générale de la région du Nord du Burkina Faso (commandant adjoint du gouverneur), a déclaré: «Il s’agit de ma toute première formation sur le changement climatique et la REDD+. Je tiens à remercier PACJA et A-2E pour cette formation, qui est une révélation pour moi et pour la communauté de cette région. Je promets que le gouvernement soutiendra pleinement cette initiative. Nos portes sont ouvertes pour vous. En fait, appelez-nous à tout moment et nous vous répondrons en tant que gouvernement. Nous sommes prêts à marcher avec vous tout le temps ».

Wednesday, 07 August 2019 00:00

Our Success Story: Mozambique

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Similar successes are being recorded in Mozambique, where the project is implemented by PACJA with Community Land Initiative (CLI). The capacity building has been on access to rights (land); governance systems at community levels; and payment for environmental service business model. CLI has been developing standards to improve governance systems for rural communities. The organisation, through a working group, has also facilitated establishment of Community Based Natural Resource Management Network (CBNRMN) to serve as platform that will share information, lessons and monitor performance of REDD+ and other CBNRM initiatives towards sustainable natural resources management. CLI has also prepared training materials to be used countrywide, especially in Zambezia Emission Reduction Programme area to sensitize communities on implementation of REDD+ programme in Mozambique. Training workshops are underway.

“The constitution of the network and your operation will constitute a reference platform for Standardisation of instruments for better management of natural resources in the country, supporting and strengthening community empowerment for your greater involvement and your process improvement of livelihoods. The network will support the private sector, the Government and CSO in their actions to achieve the best results on your performance in the face of natural resource management. The network will recommend for each case the best models of management through pilot studies, in addition to working as a quality control body, based on regular and ongoing monitoring and evaluation of the instruments developed for this purpose,” says Nelson Virgílio Rafael, Member of CBNRM Network, representing Zambezi University Academic Institution.

 

Des succès similaires ont été enregistrés au Mozambique, où le projet est mis en œuvre par PACJA avec l’Initiative des terres communautaires (CLI). Le renforcement des capacités a porté sur l’accès aux droits (terre); systèmes de gouvernance au niveau communautaire; et paiement pour le modèle économique de services environnementaux. La CLI a élaboré des normes pour améliorer les systèmes de gouvernance des communautés rurales. L’organisation, par l’intermediare d'un groupe de travail, a également facilité la création d’un réseau de gestion des ressources naturelles à base communautaire (CBNRMN) qui servira de plate-forme permettant de partager des informations, des leçons et de suivre les performances de la REDD+ et d'autres initiatives de CBNRM en matière de gestion durable des ressources naturelles.

Le CLI a également préparé du matériel de formation destiné à être utilisé dans tout le pays, en particulier dans la zone du programme de réduction des émissions du Zambezia, afin de sensibiliser les communautés sur la mise en œuvre du programme REDD+ au Mozambique. Des ateliers de formation sont en cours.

«La constitution du réseau et votre opération constitueront une plate-forme de référence pour la normalisation des instruments permettant une meilleure gestion des ressources naturelles dans le pays, soutenant et renforçant l'autonomisation des communautés pour votre plus grande implication et votre processus d'amélioration des moyens de subsistance. Le réseau soutiendra le secteur privé, le gouvernement et les organisations de la société civile dans leurs actions visant à obtenir les meilleurs résultats possibles pour votre performance face à la gestion des ressources naturelles. Le réseau recommandera pour chaque cas les meilleurs modèles de gestion par des études pilotes, en plus de fonctionner en tant qu'organe de contrôle de qualité, sur la base de suivi et d'évaluation réguliers et continus des instruments développés à cette fin », a déclaré Nelson Virgílio Rafael, membre du Réseau CBNRM, représentant l’Institut Académique de la Zambezi University.

 

Another Mozambiqan, says “The National Network of Community Management of Natural Resources is very important, as it will guarantee models for sustainable use of natural resources, management of land conflicts, strengthening of communities and development models according to each reality in the country. (A Rede Nacional de Gestão Comunitária dos Recursos Naturais é muito importante, pois irá garantir modelos de uso sustentável dos recursos naturais, gestão de conflitos de terras, fortalecimento das comunidades e modelos de desenvolvimento de acordo com cada realidade no pais)”

Un autre Mozambiqan, dit "Le réseau national de gestion communautaire des ressources naturelles est très important car il garantira des modèles d’utilisation durable des ressources naturelles, de gestion des conflits fonciers, de renforcement des communautés et de modèles de développement en fonction de chaque réalité du pays. (Redear Nacional de Gestón Comunitária dos Recursos Naturais est important, il est important que les modèles soient conservés de manière naturelle, les gestes de conflits de terres, les droits de reproduction et les modèles de cartes de crédit)"

Wednesday, 07 August 2019 00:00

Our Success Story: CONGO

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PACJA’s Congo platform, through CIREK, is empowering civil society organisations to engage in community activities focusing on REDD+ and the fight against climate change. The REDD+ Strategy is being implemented in 48 localities of Sangha and Likouala in the north of the country, on which more than half of the national forest sits, by strengthening permanent information systems on REDD + achievements in local languages.

There is enhanced participation of all relevant actors within REDD+ discussions including communities directly affected by Climate crisis.

CIRECK has invested in production of training manual on REDD+ including the REDD+ guide in seven local languages to reach communities in the 48 villages in Sangha and Likouala. Up to 60 community trainers have been trained and are busy working in the villages.

Congo:  “We, the indigenous people, have been living in the Congo forest for many, many years. We are upset when we see the Congo Forest exploited and destroyed by foreigners. We are very happy because of the training from CIRECK because they have taught us how to protect our forest. They have enlightened us about REDD+ and we now feel engaged in the process,” said Yanne-Loic Mbadinga-Zihou, an Indigenous Person, Congo Forest, Republic of Congo.

 

La plate-forme Congo de PACJA, par l’intermédiaire du CIREK, donne aux organisations de la société civile les moyens de participer aux activités communautaires axées sur la REDD+ et la lutte contre le changement climatique. La stratégie REDD+ est en cours dans 48 localités de Sangha et Likouala, dans le nord du pays, sur lesquelles plus de la moitié des forêts nationales sont implantées, en renforçant les systèmes d’information permanents sur les réalisations de REDD+ en langues locales.

La participation de tous les acteurs concernés aux discussions sur la REDD+, y compris les communautés directement touchées par la crise climatique, est renforcée. CIRECK a investi dans la production d’un manuel de formation sur REDD+ comprenant le guide REDD+ dans sept langues locales pour atteindre les communautés des 48 villages de Sangha et Likouala. les 60 formateurs communautaires ont été formés et travaillent dans les villages.

Au Congo: « Nous, peuples autochtones, vivons dans la forêt du Congo depuis de très nombreuses années. Nous sommes bouleversés lorsque nous voyons la forêt du Congo exploitée et détruite par des étrangers. Nous sommes très heureux de la formation dispensée par CIRECK, qui nous a appris comment protéger notre forêt. Ils nous ont éclairés sur la REDD+ et nous sentons désormais engagés dans le processus», a déclaré Yanne-Loic Mbadinga-Zihou, une personne autochtone de Congo Forest, en République du Congo

The Ivory Coast’s platform of the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) and Page Verte, a not-for-profit organisation, have collaborated to help encourage healthier living in schools in the country.

Through its Youth and Intergenerational Equity Committee, PACJA and the Page Verte have been organising a ceremony to have the partnership agreement signed with the municipal school of Bonoua on the theme: "Study in a healthy environment".

The general objective of this initiative is to make young people aware of environmental protection and the fight against climate change in Côte d'Ivoire. The teams involved hope the initiative will eventually lead to the end all forms of poverty, combat inequalities and reasonably reduce the effects of climate change on planet Earth.

Key in this initiative are Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 4, 13 and 15, whose objectives are aimed at ensuring quality education, protecting the environment and combating the effects of climate change respectively.

For the founding president of Page Vere, Mrs Boye Born Jeanne Irène Koumo, these ideals fit well with the vision of PACJA, whose Côte d'Ivoire platform continues to multiply actions for more convincing results, with the effective involvement of the Civil Society Organisations in the country.

This ceremony resulted in the official signing of a partnership agreement between the NGO and the Bonoua Municipal High School.

More than 500 participants were present during the event that was marked with involvement in several activities.

Tuesday, 06 August 2019 00:00

Our Success Story: Ethiopia

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PACJA is implementing the FCPF Project in Ethiopia, with our sub-grantees Ethio Wetlands and Natural Resources Association (EWNRA) contributing to better forest management and improvement of local communities’ livelihoods. This includes maximising on non-timber forest products (NTFPs), an initiative that has seen tangible results, with beekeepers in Nono-Selle, Didu, Ale, Halu and Becho getting trained on production of quality of honey. The organised PFM groups (marginalised, women, youth, the poor) that have received capacity building are in Woredas (Nono-Selle, Didu, Ale, Halu and Becho), Illu Ababora Zone and Oromia Regional State.

As a result, there is better understanding of the Oromia Forest Landscape Programme safeguards instruments and their rights and obligations. The communities will also be supported to establish Grievance Redress Mechanism. A comprehensive bee keeping study was commissioned and the report has supported development of honey value chains in Ethiopia.

From as early as 2017, the training on REDD+ Project had started receiving praise from many, among them the Ethiopian government.

“Ethiopia considers REDD+ an opportunity and transformational tool for climate change mitigation through emission reduction and climate change adaptation,” said Ato Kebede Yimam, who was then Forest State Minister of Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change.

 

La PACJA est en train d’exécuter le projet FCPF en Ethiopie, avec les associations sous-bénéficiaires Ethio Wetlands and Natural Resources Association (EWNRA) contribuant à une meilleure gestion des forêts et à l’amélioration des moyens de subsistance des communautés locales. Cela inclut l’optimisation des produits forestiers non ligneux (PFNL), une initiative qui a donné des résultats tangibles, les apiculteurs de Nono-Selle, Didu, Ale, Halu et Becho étant formés sur la production de miel de qualité. Les groupes de GFP organisés (marginalisés, femmes, jeunes, pauvres) qui ont bénéficié d’un renforcement des capacités sont situés dans la zone de Woredas (Nono-Selle, Didu, Ale, Halu et Becho), dans la zone Illu Ababora et dans l’Etat régional d’Oromia

Par conséquent, il y a une meilleure compréhension du programme de Paysage forestier d’Oromia qui sauvegarde des instruments, leurs droits et obligations. Les communautés recevront également un appui pour mettre en place un mécanisme de règlement des plaintes. Une étude approfondie sur l’apiculture a été commandée et le rapport soutient le développement des chaînes de valeur du miel en Ethiopie.

Depuis 2017, la formation sur le projet REDD+ a commencé à recevoir les éloges de beaucoup de personnes, parmi lesquelles le gouvernement éthiopien.«L'Ethiopie considère la REDD+ comme un outil de transformation et d’attaque pour l'atténuation du changement climatique grâce à la réduction des émissions et à l’adaptation au changement climatique», a déclaré Ato Kebede Yimam, ancien ministre des forêts du ministère de l'Environnement, de la Forêt et du Changement climatique.

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