Women, the cornerstones of African families, raise their children and nurture their families against many odds. Rural women have to overcome poverty, unemployment, gender discrimination, poor access to resources, illiteracy, and lack of empowerment on how to engage in leadership. At times the challenges can be even greater as women who are already disadvantaged face greater violence in their lives.
This January, the Green Belt Movement (GBM), with support from Agence Française de Développement (AFD), began filming our upcoming documentary to show the lessons learned from the AFD Aberdares Rehabilitation Project that started in 2006. The objective of the project was to plant 2,000 hectares of degraded forestland with indigenous trees. To date 3.8 million trees have been planted on 3,800 hectares of public and forestlands. Nearly double the project objective! GBM tree nursery groups grew indigenous trees and planted them in strategic areas that will in time increase tree cover, having a positive impact on ecosystem services like water volume and biodiversity.
This month the Green Belt Movement has joined the Size of Wales to plant 8000 trees in the Mathira District on the slopes of Mt Kenya. We wanted to share a little more about Mount Kenya and why have we chosen to plant trees in this region and why it is so crucial.
The launch of the report ‘Preparing for the Future? Rethinking Support for Adaptive Capacity to Climate Change’
The African Climate Change Resilience Alliance (ACCRA) has, together with the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), produced a new report on how development interventions can contribute to the adaptive capacity of communities and households. Intrigued by the topic, I went to the launch of the report that was held at the ODI on the 25 January 2012 to take part in some interesting discussions with the co-writer, Simon Levin among others.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) announced yesterday that four of Kenya’s most influential leaders are due to face trial on the charges of helping orchestrate the violence which killed more then 1000 people in the aftermath of the disputed 2007 presidential election. Two of the four men accused are this year’s presidential candidates: Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and former Education Minister William Ruto.
At 2 am on the 2nd of November 2011, Sasha Hank set off on her final ascent to Lenana Point, the peak of Mount Kenya. In the darkness, she trekked through rock, sand and snow before she made it to Lenana Point – sitting 4,985m (16,355 ft) above sea level. Sasha and her companions reveled in their triumph as they sat among the clouds on the third highest peak of the tallest mountain in Kenya. Her accomplishments extended beyond the mountain for Sasha’s trek was one of dedication and commitment to the Green Belt Movement (GBM).
Late in December 2011 Edward Wageni presented a paper on the Green Belt Movement’s (GBM) grassroots experiences on sustainable development, agriculture and food security in a seminar hosted under the auspices of World Bank Development Leadership programme. The programme is designed to provide participants with an opportunity to deepen their knowledge and skills to enhance sustainable development.
The UN climate change talks ended over a week ago in Durban. The talks over ran by 36 hours as governments struggled to find agreement. Many NGOs, including the Green Belt Movement, condemned the talks as too little too late to stop catastrophic climate change. According to science we are still on track to experience over 4 degrees increase in temperature which will be devastating for much of Africa. The deal done in Durban falls short of creating a mandate for emission cuts that is ambitious enough and also means the next commitment period will only come into force possibly in 2020. Countries including the US, Canada, China, New Zealand, Poland and India received Fossils for their poor performance in weakening the potential deal.
Prior to and during the recently concluded COP17, I attended many meetings on women, gender and climate change. Following climate change debates and getting a handle on all the players and issues involved in this complex topic is quite daunting. One of the issues still debated is a conceptual one; whether discussions should focus on women and climate change or gender and climate change. Both would take their place in climate change discussions, but they would require different approaches.
It is 5:30 pm in Durban on 6th of December 2011, the 9th Day of the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP 17) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the 7th Session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the parties (CMP 7) to the Kyoto Protocol. The High-level segment has started and I am sitting watching the big screens in the second row in the King Protea Plenary hall, which is an overflow area from the main plenary hall- the Baobab hall. I am in the midst of the COP17 negotiations. Since I arrived in Durban for COP17 every morning I have taken a 25 minute bus ride from Umhlanga up the coast on the Indian Ocean, to the conference centre the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre (ICC). At the start of the day I am very keen to get a copy of the daily programme to familiarize myself with the happenings of the day and a few documents highlighting the previous day's negotiation sessions. I am often torn between what events to attend as there is so much going on in various locations both inside the ICC and beyond and my day is spent attending negotiation meetings, that are open to observers and NGOs, attending official side events and press briefings. It is important to be up to speed with the current status of the climate change negotiations.