KANGEMA YOUTH FOR CLIMATE JUSTICE

To initiate the Youth for Climate Justice project whose main goal is to promote, disseminate and adopt biogas technology as an alternative source of fuel for communities in Kangema district.  

Access to sustainable, clean and safe energy is a big challenge to the majority of the poor communities living in Kangema District in Central Kenya.  The main sources of energy are paraffin, and wood/ charcoal which are dirty, costly and exert pressure to the already disappearing natural forests. It is from this background that Kangema Youth Group has initiated the ‘Youth for Climate Justice Project’ with the main aim of enhancing climate protection through the promotion, dissemination and adoption of domestic biogas technology as a local source of energy for marginalized rural communities.

Agroforestry project in Kangema DistrictAgroforestry project in Kangema DistrictBy introducing the Biogas technology in the community, the project will help to reduce pressure on trees which serve as CO2 sinks and at the same time reduce large volumes of CO2 emissions associated with the traditional sources of energy. To achieve the main project objective, the project seeks to carry out activities such as training workshops, community climate change outreach events, tree planting, and the promotion of best agricultural practices including agro-forestry, the use of organic fertilizer and planting of drought resistant food crops.

Young people will be identified and trained in the construction and installation of local biogas plants, and the utilization of bio-slurry (discharges from bio-digester) as fertilizer for agricultural production. Additional training subjects will include environmental management, causes and effects of climate change, climate change coping mechanisms, sustainable farming approaches, and the linkages between climate change and poverty. After training, the trainees will be facilitated to establish community youth environmental management committees to develop biogas facilities and create awareness on climate justice in their communities. The community outreach events are aimed at sensitizing and mobilizing community members towards adopting the usage of biogas technology for domestic cooking and lighting as one way of protecting our climate system for future generations.The activities will include distribution of pamphlets, posters, and theatre performances.

Tree Nursery in Kangema DistrictTree Nursery in Kangema DistrictThe project will construct one biogas unit for demonstration. Tree planting activities which will include both afforestation and reforestation whereby more than 200,000 will be planted within the district. Through the ‘Cut 1-Plant 2’ reforestation strategy, community members will be motivated to be planting two trees whenever they cut one tree either for domestic or commercial use. Improved agricultural practices will significantly reduce the vulnerability of community members to the effects of climate change such as food insecurity. Climate Change mitigation and adaptation knowledge creation through trainings and Community outreach activities will help to generate collective action towards climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts at the local levels. It is hoped that the project will contribute to the reduction of carbon emission, enhance carbon sinking, improve living conditions of poor community members, enhance food security, and promote awareness on climate change in 10 locations of Kangema district and expand to other areas.

UPDATE 2014

Access to sustainable, clean and safe cooking fuel is a big challenge for poor rural communities living in Kangema District of Central Kenya.  The main sources of cooking energy are paraffin, and wood/ charcoal which are dirty, costly and exert pressure to the already disappearing natural forests due to unprecedented tree cutting for firewood and charcoal. It was from this realization that the Kangema Youth Group initiated the Youth for Climate Justice project.

The main objective of the project was to enhance climate justice through the promotion, dissemination and adoption of domestic biogas technology as a local source of energy for rural communities in Kangema. The specific objectives included;

  1.       I.         To protect the climate system through reduced carbon emissions and increased carbon sequestration.
  2.      II.         To enhance the participation of local communities in climate change issues by stimulating conversation and dialogue at the community level.
  3.     III.         To promote knowledge and adoption of biogas technology among families in Kangema district for improved living standards.
  4.     IV.         To promote best agricultural practices for enhanced food security and reduced vulnerability to the impacts of climate change.

By adopting and utilizing biogas for cooking, the project hoped to reduce carbon emission, enhance carbon sinking, improve health conditions for the poor community members, and enhance food security. Additionally, by implementing this noble project, we hoped to enhance public awareness on the effects of global warming among rural communities and help the communities in developing best practices for climate change mitigation and adaptation. The main project activities included training of community members, particularly youth on climate change issues, community outreach events and construction of biogas plant, and tree planting initiatives. Although we had envisioned implementing the project in 10 locations, this was not realized due to limited funds and we only managed to cover 4 locations.

Starting with training workshops, the project identified and trained 50 youth (both women and men) in the construction and installation of local biogas plants, and the utilization of bio-slurry (discharges from bio-digester) for agriculture. Other training subjects included environmental management, causes and effects of climate change, climate change coping mechanisms, sustainable farming approaches, and the linkages between climate change and poverty. After training, the trainees were facilitated to establish community youth environmental management committees to develop biogas facilities and create awareness on climate justice in their communities.

The community outreach events were aimed at sensitizing and mobilizing community members towards adopting the usage of biogas technology as one way of protecting our climate system for future generations. The activities included distribution of pamphlets, posters and sporting activities. The project also constructed 2 biogas units for demonstration. During the outreach events, the project reached 5000 people.

Tree planting activities involved the development of community mini-tree nurseries and planting around 50,000 tree seedlings in depleted forests and in farms as a way of promoting agro-forestry. Through the ‘cut 1-plant 2’ reforestation strategy, community members were motivated to be planting two trees whenever they cut one either for domestic or commercial use.

Kangema Youth Group would like to express its sincere gratitude to APE for accepting to fund our ‘Youth for Climate Justice Project’. Although young people have the potential in terms of energy, skills, time, and creativity to contribute to the fight against global warming, they lack access to adequate resources to actualize their potential. The funding by APE to our project is a clear recognition by the APE Trustees of the crucial role played by young local people in contributing to the protection of the climate system through appropriate clean technologies and community mobilization. At KYG, we are very excited to be associated with APE through funding and we are certain that grant will contribute immensely to the changes we desire in our society. A big thank you!
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