The Panafrican Climate Justice Alliance (Pacja) has changed focus to the grassroots to achieve faster mitigation and adaptation to effects of climate change.
Climate change has greatly affected rain patterns and caused high temperatures, flooding, livestock diseases, water shortage, all which affect the human populations economically, on matters nutrition and their general health.
Effects of Climate change are evidenced in Embu County as currently felt through unpredictable and unreliable Rainfall (both annual and seasonal), steadily increased temperatures and emerging pests and diseases.
The climate crisis has a gender dimension to it, especially when it comes to getting potable water.
Women and children tend to be the ones tasked with that job, and sometimes have to walk several miles to access water. On their ways to the scanty water points they risk being attacked or abused sexually as has been reported in the media previously.
The same lot gets overworked, as it is still tasked with house chores and looking after their livestock where there are.
They are, therefore, an important focus in the Pacja work.
The negative effects of climate change also include reduced agricultural production, reduced food security, increased cases of drought, widespread disease epidemics, and increased risk of conflict over scarce land and water resources.
A few people have adapted to the changes, but many are those who suffer diseases or inflation.
Last week Pacja conducted a training of Local Government officials who are mostly in touch with local communities in an attempt to empower them and impart more knowledge and the latest ideas on climate change.
We met community members and chiefs from Kamarandi, Kamwangi, and Iriatune Locations within Embu County.
The residents of Embu county had started to cope through various adaptation strategies which include agricultural production diversification, planting of drought tolerant crops, water harvesting, soil fertility manipulation, soil conservation, conservation agriculture and climate information use.
Despite the commitment of the farmers to the aforementioned efforts, little achievement has been made considering the little knowledge, inadequate capacity, finances and technical knowhow coupled with little or no commitment from the county and national governments in supporting effective and sustainable adaptation.
This caused the need to build capacity of the local leaders and the community, who will later become the champions of climate change adaptation at the community level.
There were at least 40 participants in the two-day training comprising of NRM Group leaders, religious leaders, opinion leaders, locals and OSA-ISHIARA parish project staff.
The training was conducted to ensure the capacity of representatives of the local community of Evurore ward of Embu County was adequate on natural resource management and climate change adaptation while focusing on socio economic activities that are adversely affecting the state of the natural resource management within the ward and county as well as contributing to climate change. The focus was on:
- Deforestation, which is mainly caused by the local population in the quest for getting fuel wood and charcoal
- Sand harvesting especially in Mbeere North and Mbeere South sub-counties. The county’s decision makers were found to be at peace with the economic activity as it was a good income generator
- Water resource pollution resulting from various human activities attributed to agricultural development and other minor industrial work.
- General land degradation attributed to high levels of soil erosion due to overgrazing and other forms of over exploitation of the land resources.
- The facilitator should also attribute various topics to the different agro ecological zones within the county.
The training was held at Mountain Breeze Hotel in Embu between May 16 and May 17, 2019.
The participants were happy with the training and they called for more sessions.
The participants learnt about the causes of land degradation, climate change, and climate change policies and how they could prevent the land degradation and also adapt to climate change.
Participants requested to be climate change champions in their various groups that they lead and be the trainers of trainers on matters climate change.