By Matilda Atieno
The County Government in partnership with the Youth Women Christian Association ( YWCA) held a community engagement forum in a deliberate effort to address climate change actions and inclusion, targeting the vulnerable groups ( Women, PWDs, youth and the elderly) in the ward level.
The project targets 5 ward climate change committees together with community members,with the first leg of engagement being Nyakach West and North Nyakach followed by South East Nyakach and finally Kolwa East and Central in the 6 day adaptation planning meetings.
A growing demand to address the threats of climate change and social inequality has led to the emergence of inclusive climate action, a project supported by YWCA. The project is linked to Sustainable Development Goal 13 which is a call for
urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts in order to strengthen community resilience and adaptive capacities to the effects of global warming.
Kisumu is already experiencing the unavoidable effects of climate change that are becoming more common and more severe causing climate vulnerability, bearing in mind its tropical climate that ensures two rainy seasons annually.
This calls for climate actions to support adaptation and mitigation plans that consider the impacts of climate change now and into the future.
By bringing inclusivity to the forefront of climate action, the project commits to improve decision-making and address inequalities by ensuring voices of vulnerable communities are heard and to foster a truly inclusive community.
According to the County Director of Climate Change Evans Gichana the adaptation plans seek to be more climate friendly as well as lay the foundation for resilience through Community led adaptation plans.
The County Government together with its partners have taken steps to support the communities affected with proper tools for resilience.
Valarie Oyando the Branch Manager YWCA Kisumu, acknowledged that it will always be much more cost effective to invest early in climate resilience than to live with the costs of inaction. Ms Oyando also stated that “the Climate action and inclusivity seeks to promote Adaptation Plan that brings together priority areas in actions that together provide a blueprint for more resilient community where everything from our homes to the way we grow our food is protected from the worst effects of climate change.”
The exercise is a review of the previous Participatory Climate Risk Assessment that was undertaken in the 35 wards in Kisumu. It also recognizes that locally led adaptation can be more effective than top-down interventions, as local communities are more aware of the context and what is needed to build resilience towards sustainable climate change action.
“Climate change is a global challenge, but its impacts are felt in local communities and in our homes. Taking action to prepare for these impacts will make our communities safer, protect our environment, and support our livelihoods,” The ward climate change committee member for Kolwa central, Mr. Stephen Apiyo said.
Kisumu has a history of solving challenges through innovation, resourcefulness and determination, thus adapting to climate change is no different.
Currently, the published Kisumu Climate Change Act and a Climate change Action plan helps identify where action needs to be taken. The ward Adaptation Plan will also outline the measures to be taken over the next five years to address climate change.