By Michelle Wachira

Kilifi County, Kenya, is one of the most vulnerable regions in the country to the devastating effects of climate change. The county is experiencing frequent flooding, rising temperatures, recurrent droughts, sea level rise, land and forest degradation, loss of biodiversity, and desertification. Despite these challenges, Kilifi County is at the forefront of climate action in Kenya. In 2021, the County enacted the Kilifi County Climate Change Act, a groundbreaking piece of legislation that provides a framework for mitigating the impacts of climate change and enabling citizens to adapt to an ever-changing climate.

Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN) in partnership with the Kenya Platform for Climate Governance (KPCG), and Oxfam, the Kilifi County Government is working to build the capacity of civil society organizations and communities to advocate for climate-conscious and responsible fiscal policies at the county and ward level. This work is essential to ensuring that the county's budget reflects the needs and priorities of the most vulnerable communities, who are disproportionately affected by climate change.

One key milestone in this partnership is the development of the County Climate Change Fund Regulations. These regulations will establish a fund to support climate change adaptation and mitigation projects and programs in the county. The passage of these regulations will be a major victory for climate justice advocates in Kilifi County. It will send a clear signal that the county is committed to tackling climate change and protecting its citizens and resources.

ALIN is committed to continuing to work with the Kilifi County Government and other partners to tackle the effects of climate change. The organization will lobby for the Kilifi County Assembly to pass the draft Climate Change Fund Regulations, support the review of the third generation County Climate Change Plan, and ensure community priorities are included in the County Integrated Development Plans. ALIN also calls on the county government to invest significantly in climate change adaptation and mitigation projects and programs, and to provide support and resources to vulnerable communities in the county to build their resilience in the face of climate change.

Climate justice can only be achieved if both state and non-state actors actively and effectively take part in advocating for a sustainable future, especially women, young people, and civil society organizations. Kilifi County is setting a powerful example for other counties in Kenya and across the continent by demonstrating how to take bold action on climate change.

Many residents of Kilifi county do not have enough knowledge about climate issues. This was revealed after the completion of a workshop that brought together stakeholders, activists and community organizations associated with environmental issues in Kilifi.
As the effects of climate change continue to be witnessed around the world, efforts to deal with those effects continue to be made in different ways.

Currently, it has been found that many residents of Kilifi county do not have sufficient knowledge about the issue of climate, this was revealed during a workshop that brought together various stakeholders to discuss climate issues in Kilifi on August 31, 2023.

It may be that various parts of the coastal zone have been affected by climate change, including infectious diseases. This was evident in the conference on health and climate change held on August 30, 2023.

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Despite being among the least contributors to global Greenhouse Gas (GHGs) emissions, Kenya continues to grapple with the ever-increasing burden of Climate Change. Climate Change hits first and hardest on vulnerable populations especially women, youth, persons with disabilities, indigenous communities, and marginalized communities highly reliant on a Kenyan economy that is dependent on climate-sensitive sectors of agriculture, water, energy, tourism, wildlife, and health. ‘With 2030 nearing and yet the promise by 193 nations to leave no one behind with the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, seems unachievable due to global inaction on issues such as climate change.’ When ever-increasing climate disasters of unprecedented heavy downpours cause a rise in water levels in Lake Nakuru, Elementaiata, and Naivasha, as prolonged and frequent droughts in Nakuru County; while no one is safe from these climate adversities, how can the most disadvantaged adapt quickly and also contribute to Mitigation efforts?

Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN) is cognizant of the fact that there are few avenues where the most impacted by climate change can demand climate action. The Voices for Just Climate Action Programme supported by Word Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) provides this avenue that comprises Civil Society Organisations in Nakuru County working on climate action at the forefront advocating for climate action. The Civil Society Organisations drawn from youth, the Ogiek community, persons with disabilities, women, and marginalized persons organisations on 5th July 2022 set the Agenda to advocate for the implementation of the Nakuru County Climate Change Act, 2021 and the Climate Change Fund Regulations, 2022 in order to ensure prioritisation of community needs in the county action plans and receive support for their locally identified priority adaptation actions.

Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN) has been supporting Civil Society Organisations in collaboration with other Voices for Just Climate Action (VCA) working in Nakuru County to realize their set agenda by building their capacity on the Nakuru County Climate Change Act, 2021 and Climate Change Fund Regulations, 2022 that provides for the establishment of the Ward Climate Change Planning Committees (WCCPCs) and the Financing Locally Led Climate Actions (FLLoCA) Programme by the National Treasury that aims to strengthen local resilience to climate by delivering capacity building and climate finance for community-led actions that aim to strengthen local resilience to climate by delivering capacity building and climate finance for community-led actions. Duty bearers are at the forefront of implementing climate actions;

ALIN has been forging partnerships with the County Government of Nakuru to cultivate a collaborative environment where CSOs can engage and ensure that decisions made on climate change are participatory, inclusive, and transparent and utilize effective collaboration between the County Government of Nakuru and non-state actors to secure climate justice. Further, ALIN is working towards securing climate justice by highlighting and giving close consideration to the implications that existing gender inequalities, coupled with climate change have on exacerbating vulnerabilities of climate change.

The people of Kajiado County have long been accustomed to periodic drought and famine greatly impacting livelihoods heavily reliant on pastoralism for their sustenance. But when an ever-changing climate is bringing about unprecedented temperatures, altered rainfall patterns, and extreme weather events, their lives and livelihoods continue to be drastically impacted. A decade of grappling with the reality of crop losses, livestock losses, and a high prevalence of pests and diseases, drought and floods became a regular occurrence, wreaking havoc on their livelihoods, leaving communities vulnerable and unable to cope. The County Government of Kajiado’s response measures with limited resources hinder their efforts to cope with the climate menace. Thus, the non-state actors especially at the grassroots level, supporting those who were most affected by the climate crisis are an essential component in response to the climate crisis, and strengthening their capacity to advocate for climate justice and climate finance would directly benefit the most vulnerable in society.

Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN) with support from Oxfam, has been working to strengthen Civil Society Organisations Engagement with the County Government of Kajiado on Climate Justice and Climate Finance to ensure the effective influence of the county priorities on climate action and hold the county government accountable in implementing climate conscious and responsible fiscal policies that benefit the ward level. Already, Civil Society Organisations have engaged the County Government of Kajiado on the County Integrated Development Plan 2023-2027 and presented a Joint CSO submission during the Public Consultative Forum for the Preparation of the 2023-2027 County Integrated Development Plan (CIDP). This is a step closer to realizing ALIN’s many goals in achieving climate justice for “Democracy, climate justice, and public education for all in Kenya,” supported by Oxfam and a green economy advocated by women, young people, and civil society alliances that achieve sustainable, gender transformative and equitable socioeconomic futures for communities in Kajiado.

As an organization committed to sustainable development, we recognize that reducing energy costs is paramount for those most vulnerable. The interest is providing a low-cost and high-quality energy service that the community can use as well. It was in 2011 that Nguruman and Isinya Maarifa centres in Kajiado County initiated a community green energy conservation project to help with cooking and lighting. They did this by developing biogas systems that work with cow dung and other biomass material through recycling. ALIN was involved in carrying out a rapid assessment among pastoral farmers to gauge interest in installing tubular biogas technology to help mitigate climate change and sustainable energy resources. To get the word out about biodigesters, which are high-quality yet low- cost products, we created a participatory process with pastoral farmers where they could try out technologies first-hand during an intensive four-day workshop on installation and maintenance techniques.
To install a tubular biogas system, you need a 10-meter-long heavy-duty silage plastic tube of 10metres, long by 3.2 meters, two PVC tubes and pipes, gate valves, sockets, nipples and flexible tube for connecting to the specially fabricated biogas burner. In addition, you will need 200 litres of both cow manure and water. Not only is the Kenyan bio-digester a low-cost system that farmers in Kenya can use to produce gas but also it costs 5,000 shillings, and each farmer needs fresh cow-dung mixed with water for it to begin producing gas in 5-7 days after installation. Tubular biogas technology is affordable and has many benefits including;

Mama Lucy Ndung’u of Nguruman runs a hotel at Endasopia Market in Kenya and she said,"After training at the Nguruman Maarifa Centre in March of 2011, my family's activities have changed. I have cut down on firewood consumption and I am able to save up money (USD 40 monthly) that would otherwise be spent on wood. I am saving to invest in my family. I cook clean food every day in a smoke-free environment. Before I began using biogas, I was having recurring chest congestion but this problem has ceased and I can attribute this to using biogas since it is smokeless! I have always been worried in times of changing rain patterns. Now I feel great to be part of the initiative mitigating climate change."

The tubular biogas technology is affordable and farmers have been trained to use it and are motivated to transfer the technology at a small fee therefore still earning daily bread. The abundant amount of cow dung, goat, and chicken droppings has enhanced the adoption of the technology among the community.

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