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The first Leg of the visit landed the team at The Caritas offices in Kitui where the team on the ground briefed PACJA officers of the progress being made so far. The major highlights are on the progress of the legislative process ongoing at the County Assembly to adopt and pass the Policy Framework on Climate Change for Kitui. In addition, the team was appraised on the level of preparedness among the communities for the expected rains arising from the trainings on Natural Resource Management that was done by PACJA earlier in the project. Some of the challenges highlighted include the need for cascading the policy training to the Ward mangers and village administrators in view of getting their support in mobilising the community to participate in the hearings and contributions to the bills from the County assembly once they are ready for discussion at the Public Participation forums. In addition, these Cadres of administrators are vital in the policy and legal implementation once they are passed and enacted into law.

At the Community Level, the PACJA team visited two demonstration farms at Ngomeni and Nguni where they had the opportunity to meet the partners of Caritas Kitui on the ground and saw first hand the work being done at the demo farms. The challenges of Climate Change were evident from the visit and the members of the community shared with the team on the heavy repercussions of climate change. There has been delayed rains in the last two seasons, and the rain is insufficient bring down yields and burdening the communities with food insecurity. these have had further repercussions on families who have not only suffered from food shortages but also have had to deal with the shortage of water that has forced both women and children to travel long distances for the precious commodity.

It was evident that women and children are disproportionately suffering from the effects of climate change, not only because they have to walk long distances for water, but also carry the heavier burdens of diseases among children from lack of adequate water for sanitation. Women particularly of childbearing age have been reported to suffer heavily from the challenges of shortage of water, that some are know to have miscarried and others gotten premature babies as a result of the water challenges and changes in the weather conditions.

Caritas Kitui and PACJA have partnered to support the community in building resilience against climate change on the ground. Caritas through the demonstration farms in which Agro-ecology has been taught and knowledge and skills imparted to the communities to help them cope with the changing times. PACJA continues to support them through various efforts to effect and bring about policy and legislation that is climate relevant and ensuring that both the County and National governments put in place the relevant legislations.

 By Mike O'maera.

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