Climate change mitigation initiatives for the Lake Victoria basin
Communities living within Lake Victoria basin, Matungu district, in western Kenya, are especially vulnerable to climate change impacts on water resources – both through flooding and droughts. The region is witnessing dramatic changes due to rapid deforestation and population growth. This has serious consequences on the environment and livelihoods which mostly depends on agriculture and livestock.
The Combat Global Warming Initiative (CGWI) is key to changing long-established patterns of social behaviour. It can help address the unsustainable production and consumption patterns that are responsible for environmental degradation. It is through practically-oriented training of women, men and youth across the district in solar oven making, environmental awareness and protection, tree planting, nursery management that climate change mitigation can take place.
CGWI aims to establish 20 tree nurseries and plant one million indigenous trees (including fruit trees) in region, so as to empower people with the awareness, skills and knowledge to pursue successful action for sustainable, environmentally-sound development. CGWI’s main characteristics can be boldly defined in terms of two linked goals: training and education towards the protection and enhancement of the environment, and training participants to improve the quality of life for human communities.
CGWI will promote the concept of solar cooking throughout the region to create a market that is large enough to establish production at a level that achieves the economies of scale necessary to make the product affordable to all. Whilst training volunteers in tree nursery management, environmental awareness, establishing tree nurseries and planting trees to combat global warming also offers sustainable livelihoods. This is a great way to translate environmental awareness into action.
APE’s support for this project will allow local communities in western Kenya to manage and adapt to climate change, to improve food and nutritional security, provide employment to local people, improve the economy and reduce poverty through solar cooker technology, agroforestry and environmental education, that serve as climate change adaptation and mitigation techniques. This will develop new paths to prosperity as a means to greater prosperity, environmental sustainability and growth.
Education and training will be key to succeess in CGWI’s ambition to build a future on environmental knowledge.
The focus will be on testing the effectiveness of a range of collaborative planning and decision-making techniques whilst working with public officials, entrepreneurs, community leaders, women groups, environmental action groups and neighbourhood advocates to promote broad public education and involvement in the assessment of climate change risks and the implementation of risk management strategies. CGWI are particularly concerned about the disproportionate impacts that poor communities experience as a result of sea level rise, storm intensification, coastal erosion, changes in precipitation patterns, creation of heat islands, and threats to infrastructure, water supplies and endangered habitats. CGWI have three role-play simulations that will be tested in the coming year to determine the extent to which they help stakeholders model the collaborative decision-making processes necessary to formulate community based risk-management strategies.
We have finished workshop training on solar cookers, tree planting and biochar systems. Biochar was incorporated because it improves soil fertility, stimulating plant growth, which then consumes more CO2 in a feedback effect. And the energy generated as part of biochar production can displace carbon-positive energy from fossil fuels. Additional effects from adding biochar to soil can further reduce greenhouse gas emissions and enhance carbon storage in soil.
These include :
- Biochar reduces the need for fertilizer, resulting in reduced emissions from fertilizer production.
- Biochar increases soil microbial life, resulting in more carbon storage in soil.
- Because biochar retains nitrogen, emissions of nitrous oxide (a potent greenhouse gas) may be reduced.
- Turning agricultural waste into biochar reduces methane (another potent greenhouse gas) generated by the natural decomposition of the waste.
Our participants are able to construct solar oven cookers using local materials; this will reduce the large number of trees being cut for fuelwood and reduces smoke that is unhealthy to children and women and migitates climate change.
We are developing five groups to start producing clean cookers in their villages. We have started tree beds and we hope to plant more trees in 2011.
The knock-on effects from these workshops is significant. Prince Kabila, founder of this project reports: “One participant who attended our workshops was from Uganda. He has called us to ask that we go to Uganda and see thework he is doing there. The knowledge he gained from our solar cooker workshop, has so far reach 30 people who have made 22 solar cookers and iseducating more Ugandans on these techniques. We shall make every effort to reach Uganda and see this great work in the fight against climate change.”