As a 34 year old Kenyan lady, my passion for addressing climate change is drawn from my exposures to the negative effects of climate change on local communities through my work: In the nongovernmental sector, doing campaigns and advocacy on matters of land, agriculture, foreign investments and the environment, as a formulator of policies in the government, as a young person determined to better the world and as an award winning social entrepreneur informed by the reality of socio economic challenges that climate change has exposed people in Africa to. Through these lenses, my speaking experience and leadership influence both in Kenya and internationally enable me to raise key issues.
As a human rights defender, I have witnessed forceful evictions to pave way for large foreign land acquisitions and investments in various countries to pave way for growth of bio-fuels. High potential agricultural land is given up at the expense of producing food. Meanwhile, food security remains a threat and people still die of hunger and children of malnutrition in this era. Yet, they have land but lack control on decisions regarding its use. The toll on women resulting from increased burdens on their traditional gender roles is witnessed as global citizens continue to push for human rights and dignity for all.
As an award winning social entrepreneur, I founded the Green Agri Ventures, famously known as “The Green Bank’, informed by declined agricultural production, increased unemployment is rural communities and the unsustainable land use in different parts of Africa. The Green Bank enables small holder farmers to grow fruit trees and pool resources for value addition in cottage industries from which they can earn from over time. This is a local intervention to the global menace of climate change. Unpredictable rainfall patterns and other climate conditions have demoralized financial institutions from funding farmers. Rural households opt for alternative livelihoods some of which are quasi legal and compromise the well being of the local and international community.
As a formulator of policies, I witness a lot of resources being channeled to address avoidable negative effects of climate change in the agricultural sector. This includes include social protection mechanisms to cushion farmers. While this is commendable, it happens at the expense of the growth of other sectors like infrastructure, ICT, health and urban planning. This nurtures skewed development in other sectors. Despite this, the underlying reality is that, it is impossible to focus on other components of development before meeting the basic human needs, of which food is one of them.
As young leader, I have a strong conviction of the potential of the resources in Africa to address various challenges. However, I consider positive partnerships between the west and the global south an important ingredient in actualizing this. Having citizen focused climate change mitigation strategies and policies will contribute to this remarkably.