Achieving community self-reliance, improving community self-confidence
The aim of this community awareness initiative was to enhance the capacity of the community to adapt hands-on sustainability philosophies and practices to address impacts of climate change at the grassroots levels. The project focused on participatory community engagement to promote agro-forestry practices and protection of existing forest cover through tree nursery extension, planting of indigenous tree species, protection of threatened riparian vegetation and wetlands along River Nzoia stretch.
At household level, the project promoted and facilitated the installation of energy-efficient cook stoves to reduce emissions from avoided deforestation, working closely with local small scale farmers, equipping them with skills on sustainable agriculture and bio-char technologies.
In order to undertake these activities, a team of 25 community mobilizers were recruited and trained.
- Three tree nursery with capacity of 40,000 each established in three strategic points along the river
- 76,000 tree seedlings distributed and planted along river Nzoia.
- 37 small scale-farmers reached and trained on site on bio-char and bio-energy technologies
- 1 Bio-char demonstration point set up in the community
- Two community groups trained on alternative livelihoods
- Grassroots awareness, education and dissemination using local channels was successfully undertaken:
- 3 Presentations and ‘Awareness Creation Forums’ were undertaken at the National Youth Conference on Climate Change resulting in The National Climate Change Response Strategy, Roadmap to Copenhagen COP15.
- 7 environmental clubs were established at 7 primary schools in the district
- Education and communication materials (fliers, posters) were disseminated via different partners such as Arid Land Information Network (ALIN) and NEMA.
In context, the levels of climate change awareness are still low amongst the communities. This does not imply that the effects are not felt: the impacts are evident, but the link between lifestyle and climate change needs to be demystified to enable effective adoption of related approaches to adapt to the effects. This calls for policy formulation that is in tandem with local needs, whereas at the same a scholastic link with the national and international climate change frameworks is necessary.
The successes of the project need to be sustained with practical action at household level, cascading to the community levels. The next phase of this project should focus on adaptation to the impacts of climate change. This should be coupled with more awareness and education on sustainable practices, such as scaling-up promotion of energy-efficient cook stoves, sustainable agricultural practices and bio-char production, utilization and adoption. Working with local schools to inculcate knowledge at earlier stage of life is of the essence. In addition the pool of community mobilizers should be provided with refresher training to equip them with relevant and up-to-date information.