WATOTO WEMA VISIT - 6TH APRIL

On the Sunday of 6th April a good number of our members visited Watoto Wema children’s home in Ruai. This is an initiative that is usually coordinated by the Reach Out Program (ROP) of AYICC-K. ROP is a commitment to support the Watoto Wema Centre, an orphanage with over 56 children (35 of them are boarders) through visits, donations and mentorship.

AYICC - KENYA RAISES ITS VOICE DURING WED 2014 (WORLD ENVIRONMENTAL DAY) - "RAISE YOUR VOICE, NOT THE SEA LEVEL"

The world today is facing climatic challenges and the global south is at a higher risk of global warming. The sea water levels are rising and some of the people living in the coast lines will be forced to shift and change their way of life.

TUNZA GLOBAL YOUTH GATHERING - A PRE UNITED NATION ENVIRONMENTAL ASSEMBLY

The environment has become fundamental in development and the world is meeting again at the United Nation Office in Nairobi for an environmental assembly. The assembly is the part of the Rio+20 outcomes.

March 13, 2017

Why we should protect our water sources

1992 was a game changer for Kenya and the rest of the world who signed the Agenda 21 agreement and the Rio principles as it would see for the first time environmental issues being given the importance it deserved. The realization of the millennium development goals adopted in September of 2002 set the target as 10 of goal 7 as half by 2015 the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and sanitization. On 22nd of March of every year the world marks the World Water Day which is celebrated both locally and internationally.


Kenya happens to be among the enviable when it comes to water quality and diversity. With big shots like the Nile flowing into our Lake Victoria basin, outstanding desert lakes like Lake Turkana supporting the livelihoods of most of our people in the northern regions of Kenya, the numerous hot water springs distributed within the country, the Mara river that catalyzes one on the seven wonders of the world, it is undeniable that Kenya is deserving of jealousy. And this is to mention just but a few.

But our recent waves of activities over the past few years are proving to be detrimental to the well-being of our lakes and rivers. Increased poverty levels have seen the clearing of our forest as a means of generating income to sustain livelihoods which eventually is leading to the slow but sure death of our water bodies. Increased populations in our developing countries have also increased to clearing of our forest particularly the Mau forest for settlement and development which has greatly affected our water towers and has gone to the extent of affecting the people of Kenya together with the wildlife.


2016-2017 was tough period for Kenya. With the ongoing climate change and increased temperatures, the western parts of the country witnessed what they had never seen before. Their dependent streams which they used for domestic purposed seemed to have dried up. There was no difference between the stream beds and the normal usual grounds. This was in addition to the little to no rains that fell during the second growing period that left farmers in these regions with barely any little food to take them through to the next growing season.

From where we stand as a country, we have no other option but to act and to act fast. We need to recognize that this is our country and the situation we are in is as a result of the choices we have made in the past. We need not to seek to place blame but instead we need to claim responsibility for our future if we are to move forward.  The solution does not lie with the government or with foreign aid. The solution lies with you and with me. We need to work hand in hand with each other and with the government to find a lasting solution to our problem. We need to work as a team to curb this upcoming menace amongst us. Whether it is digging dams, planting trees or educating the community on the importance of conserving and protecting our water sources it should be a joint effort.

Article submitted by:
Dolphine Magero

February 27, 2017

NILE DAY WORKSHOP


 22nd February was The Nile day,it was an interactive and a very educative day.There was a healthy debate.a question asked by the common mwananchi is "why should Kenya be involved in matters on the Nile?"this is because the river Nile is not in Kenya!the fact is there is the river Nile and there is the Nile basin where Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi just to mention a few come in.So Kenya lies in the Nile basin!.The reason why we should be concerned is that the geo-politics around the Nile basin affect Kenya as a country. For example due to the agreement signed in 1959, Kenya is not allowed to practice irrigation using the water of lake Victoria. Only fishing is allowed hence increasing the chances of food insecurity around the lake region.More agreements might be signed and it will affect; that's why we should be concerened.(Abdirahman Hussein's Facebook post)

The running theme of the workshop: Our Shared Nile: source of food,water and energy for all was well covered as different speakers tackled separate aspects of the river. 

The morning session opened with representatives from 350.org(Prince Papa and AYICC-KENYA Phantus Wambiya giving a background of the Nile on its history and the topography associated with the river. It was an insightful opening moderated by Michael Musyoka
Landry Ninterestse at the workshop

Facts about the Nile:

• It is the longest river in the world(6670km long)
• There are two major branches of the Nile; they are the White Nile and the Blue Nile. The White Nile originates in East Africa, and the Blue Nile originates in Ethiopia. The two branches join at Khartoum (the capital city of Sudan located in North East Africa).
• The two major sources of the river are Lake Victoria which feeds the White Nile branch, and Lake Tana which feeds the Blue Nile branch. 

Unelker Maoga tackles the issue of the Nile as a potential source of prosperity for the region though faced with conflict on usage of the waters. In the article “The looming shadow behind River Nile” She writes:
It has now become apparent that unlike the 20th Century which saw oil cause global strife, the wars of the 21st Century will be over water, with the Nile, the longest river in the world, being the center of the conflict.

The second session was moderated by Rukiya Khamis. Paul Mutuku presented his piece titled “The Feeder of the desert” where he gave an in-depth view on the ecology of the Nile focusing on the biodiversity and the ecological importance it has. He dealt with the threats facing the Nile Basin among them pollution, climate change, construction and intense deforestation.
Paul Mutuku making his presentation
He discussed the opportunities around the
Challenges that the Nile faces:
• Awareness creation and investment in education and information sharing on the importance of the water resource
• Projects in the communities to alleviate poverty in the basin state communities
• Partner with governance and policy makers to formulate sustainable policies and ensure equitable allocation of the resource among stakeholders.
• Emulate good practices from other key players.  Act to restore forests and the quality of water in the basin.
Protect the wetlands from a state level to the regional level. E.g. L.Victoria (reduce the pollution, manage the alien invasive species etc.) Invest in research by partnering with institutions 
 
Edith Kemunto making her presentation






Edith Kemunto presentation titled “Our Shared Nile” was an eye-opener on the Nile basin repatriation and talked of all the treaties that had influenced the governance of the Nile.
She advocated for the importance of conserving mountain waters. R. Nile has its headwaters from high mountains hence a clear need to conserve mountain waters.
She gave solutions for conserving mountain waters:
• Secure boundaries of the catchment areas. Resolve any existing conflicts(learn from Mau complex water tower
• Develop an ecosystem management plan and institutional arrangements for its implementation
• Enhance capacity for integrated and participatory ecosystem management
• Restore the degraded ecosystem Identify and promote improved and sustainable livelihoods
• Enhance knowledge on ecosystem functioning for planning and management such as ecosystems assessment.
• Enforcement of criminal law with regards to mountain water management
panelists from  left: Prince Papa, Clifford Okwany, Benedict Kitonyi and Michael
Panelists from left: Prince Papa, Clifford Okwany, Benedict Kitonyi
The afternoon session which was moderated by Fredrick Ouma, started of with Clifford Okwany presenting on the political scenarios associated with the Nile. The Nile is potential source of conflict in the region as countries in the basin feel shortchanged on the usage of the water of the Nile as other countries build dams and have numerous development projects in their stretches of the river that threaten the survival of neighboring countries.
Ethiopia's current projects were a threat to the river existence as illustrated by Wangechi Kiongo in her piece on the International Rivers website. She debunks the myths from the facts about the projects especially the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance dam.
Benedict Kitonyi suggested means of how the river would be a means of adapting to climate change as long as it was conserved and it’s waters used sustainably.


Michael a youth from Siaya County showcased his initiative to harvest water hyacinth in Lake Victoria and use it to make various products such as paper, greetings cards and baskets .The process involves harvesting the hyacinth and boiling it then drying and making fiber out of the plant.

Group photo outside the Climate Change Dome of the Kenya Meterological Department
  the event was followed online using the hashtag #SaveTheNile and #NileDay





 It was an educative forum where attendees got a better understanding of the Nile River. The ecology, politics and Conservation of the river.

Venue courtesy of Kenya Meterological Department
Photo credits: Freddie McKay

February 14, 2017

A DWINDLE IN NATURE; A CALL TO ACTION- WATER IS LIFE



A DWINDLE IN NATURE; A CALL TO ACTION- WATER IS LIFE
by: Green Treasures Farms. 
A picture of rain droplets taken through a glass window.


 Also follow post at https://greentreasurersfarms.wordpress.com/2017/02/07/a-dwindle-in-nature-a-call-to-action-water-is-life/
The New Year was ushered in with a lot of enthusiasm in Kenya. In Nairobi, it was ululations and chants of thanksgiving all through. What many least expected was the unprecedented alert that water shortages were a thing to be expected in the city and its suburbs. Yes, according to the weatherman, the short rains in November-January period were not sufficient to reach the 84% that has been the level to sustain the city’s water needs.
As it stands now, the media announced that Ndakaini dam, the main reservoir that supplies water to Nairobi, is at or below a 48% level. North eastern (Isiolo),Tana river, Ktui and other counties are not spared on this. This is alarming, not just for the water sector, but also across other crosscutting sectors such as health and food. We stand the risk of disease outbreaks out of these water shortages, and we know this could be fatal even as our medics are on strikes.
The big question here is; are we really having competence in disaster preparedness programs? Are the citizens well aware of the pressing issues? What measures is the government taking in curbing these issues? Should we rather cut down trees in forests and harvest sand in our water bodies build more structures and skyscrapers at the expense of our nature? How can sustainable development principles drive all the processes and secure the future of the environment and humanity ultimately?
It’s a big hit on the back, to see people and livestock lose lives to hunger and starvation, which is mainly due to water scarcity or rather unavailability. Clearly, Kenya is part of the sub-Saharan Africa and droughts are expected every once in about 7years on the upper end. How then has this informed our responses to such scenarios?
Now, more than ever before, is the highest time that Kenyans understand that climate change is real, and that our combined efforts are vital to curbing its impacts. Look at the Mau complex for instance. I had my first tour to the forest this January and believe you me; things are over the frying pan into the fire itself. Forest degradation is a real-time occurrence and its effects are felt even by the inhabitants there. Most of the forest has gone away due to land grabbing and illegal settling. As an important water tower in the country, and a source of water to many rivers, including the Ewaso nyiro, the ecosystem is dwindling and slowly dying. We need to arrest these issues and really secure the survival of our future generations.
“ Njaanuary” as it is commonly known in Kenya, to mean a starvation month after the extravagance filled December holidays, has come with a double tragedy. No water and access to food is costly. People are now forced to buy water from street vendors, whose source and quality no one can assure.
Fellow Kenyans, fellow Africans. Let us learn to deal with the climate issues in our continent, and more to it, let everyone of us take a positive step to doing a thing to give nature the treat she deserves. If we do not neglect these efforts, then indeed we are neglecting the survival of our future generations. God did not place us in the only life supporting planet so that we destroy it. No, not. We ought to be true custodians of nature. Greed and Self-interests over natural resources should not guide and inform decision making and policies, rather, the people centered approach to serve all. #let the current water scarcity be a warning to many. Nature reciprocates the vices done to her in very high magnitudes.


December 1, 2016

THE WRITER`S WORKSHOP 26TH NOVEMBER 2016


AYICC Kenya members during the Writers workshop 2016
by Fredrick Ouma, Dolphine Magero

The writers’ workshop took place at the Institute of Climate Change, Chiromo campus. The forum which sought out to build capacity for the young writers emphasizing on their academic writing skills, was organized by the Africa Youth Initiative on Climate Change (AYICC) Kenyan chapter in collaboration with Chiromo Environmental Awareness club (CEAC) and the Institute of Climate Change and Adaptation (ICCA). Gracing the event were; Head of  Institute of Climate Change Directorate, Prof. Shem Wandiga, Dr. Onyango Onyoyo a writer cum climate change consultant from the Institute of Climate Change, renown media personality, Mr.Johnson Mwakazi and an Oxford Alumni Dr. Grace Mwaura. This team of intellectuals would give the “sermon” for the day.
To kick off the day, Paul Mutuku, the current AYICC communication coordinator, gave welcoming remarks to acquaint participants who had thronged the event from as far as Kenyatta University on the objectives of the forum. The AYICC national coordinator, Mr. Fredrick Ouma cordially welcomed the guests to the forum. The panelists then proceeded to give their insightful wealth of knowledge on the writing world.
The ball would then roll to Dr. Onyango Onyoyo, who in the bid to highlight the basics to climate change communication issues would grade lack of awareness as “black innocence”. He would proceed to confirm the authenticity of IPCC updates in communicating global issues like melting of the arctic ice and concur with the fact that GHGs was a present world disaster holding the very existence of mankind at gunpoint. He would then proceed to second the already known fact that the “blanket-stratosphere” was holding the solar radiation in the atmosphere causing dire effects like sea level increase at the same time turning the sea and the arctic ice to a scapegoat for excess carbon. He would then urge the young people to take up the initiative to curb this dogging menace through capacity building and awareness creation all in the spirit of embracing the futuristic aspect of climate change for the benefit of humanity. He would then touch on issues of water scarcity, blaming food insecurity on loss of soil moisture and unpredictability of rains, in addition quoting GMO dependence as a threat to food production. He attributed the increased snake bites in arid and semi-arid areas to the seeking of a safe haven in people’s homesteads. His concluding remarks were that the ICT tools were vital in climate change communication to the people to the extent of influencing a behavioral change and that young people were to be part of the solution while also respecting those in leadership.
The ball was passed to Professor Shem Wandiga who reiterated the need to get the history of Climate Change well to enable young writers have profound understanding of the operations of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) fund which Africa was yet to access. He mentioned “100 billion Dollar climate finance” noting that Kenya and a few East African countries are all that was needed to exhaust the climate finance kitty, reiterating its inadequacy. He also urged the participants to engage the national assembly on the implementation of the Paris agreement through writing to clerk@parliament.go.ke

Guest speaker, Mr. Mwakazi expresses a point during the workshop

The panel session would be ushered in and facilitated by Mr. Phantus Wambiya, the AYICC Deputy National Coordinator. This was the highlight of the day as the renowned Mr. Johnson Mwakazi gave the four pointers to good writing, that is, surety, simplicity, authenticity and brevity. He informed young writers to add pictures, animations and comics where possible in order to reach a greater audience and if possible use audio forms to gain more traction. He stressed on the need of having good presentation skills and not being too wordy as this would put them in danger of losing the audience.
Dr. Grace Mwaura, one of the panelists, made it clear that there were writing opportunities and it was up to the young people to take up the chances and to ace the times. Dr. Mwaura challenged the young people to take action as soon as yesterday reiterating that they had a key role in the implemention of decisions in the current world. She encouraged the young people to write as many times as possible, make as many mistakes as possible as this would help them improve their writing. Dr. Mwaura would then give a snippet of the writing process which would start by problem identification, idea organization, and the outline and then the writing process itself. The connection of the dots to the different bodies would help in linking of the story.
All said and done, we cannot fail to express our heartfelt gratitude to the Institute of Climate Change directorate for hosting the event and for the invaluable time and space shared by Prof. Shem Wandiga, and Dr. Onyango Onyowo, from the institute. We e



xtend our special gratitude to Mr. Johnstone Mwakazi and Dr. Grace Mwaura for creating time to be with the participants, and to the participants for being there. We also applaud the organizing committee led by Ms Dolphine Magero (Chiromo Environmental Awareness Club, CEAC), Mr. Fredrick Ouma (Africa Youth Initiative on Climate Change, AYICC) and Mr. James Kaoga (ICCA) for making sure that everything proceeded as planned. We thank God, above all for seeing us through the process.

GALLERY

Dr. Grace Mwaura enlightening the youth on better writing skills.      From left Dr. Grace Mwaura, Dr. Onyango Onyoyo, Mr. Johnson Mwakazi.


The panelist interacting with the audience.                  Environmental enthusiast and student, Dolphine Magero, from           
                                                                            University of Nairobi giving her presentation.








Mr. Stom presenting a spoken word                             
Mr. Phantus Wambiya from AYICC Kenya chairing the forum.



Attendees coming together for a group photo with Mr. Mwakazi.      Participants and guests following a presentation

November 28, 2016

Why Kenya should break free from fossil fuels!

Follow the story with The Conservationist's Sight ...

Desertification has now spread into northern Kenya, rainfall shortages in the past year caused famine across various regions of the country, not to mention the past El-Nino effects and the recent heat waves that were experienced by all. And now the ongoing torrential rainfall is set to damage the crops of many farmers. All a result of climate change.


Women and girls, caught in a small sandstorm, fetch water in Wajir, Kenya.

[Photo Credit: www.theatlantic.com ]


Science clearly shows that there is a strong correlation between the emission of greenhouse gases through the burning of fossil fuels and the average rise in global temperature. These emissions of greenhouse gases largely are, if not entirely, the result of human activity.

Many may say – especially in Africa – that climate change is the enemy from above. We get seasonal rains that water our crops from the clouds in the sky and when the rains fail as they have been over the past couple years, we instinctively look up. Agriculture is an important aspect of the livelihoods of the Kenyan people and the African continent. 70% of Africans are farmers, 1/3rd of the continents income is generated through agriculture; 95% of which are rain-fed crops, so when there are no rain, as a result of the impacts of climate change, we have no choice but to look up. But I would like to suggest something different, especially to the people of my home country; the enemy in truth does not stand above but rather, lies beneath.

Fossil fuels as we all know are the non-renewable energy resources which include oil, coal and natural gas. This energy or carbon store was formed when prehistoric plants and animals died and were gradually buried by layers of rock; over millions of years. In the past 100years, the burning of fossil fuels has caused the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere to increase drastically. Currently, 30 billion tons of Carbon Dioxide is released into the atmosphere every year. The amount of Carbon emitted and the rate at which it is being released, needless to say, is alarming. But despite how complicated climate science and global climate negotiations may seem to the average reader, the ultimate solution to the climate problem really is very simple; Break Free From Fossil Fuels!

Crude oil was first discovered in the northern part of Kenya in the year 2012.  Today our newspaper headlines constantly read in bold: ‘Kenya may begin exporting one billion barrels of oil by September’, ‘Kenya set to join Leagues of Oil Exporters’, and only one month ago, it was estimated that Kenya’s oil deposits can run her for the next 300 years! Indeed, these prospects sound breathe taking but sadly, they literally are breathe taking in reality.




Men working at an oil rig after oil was discovered in northern Kenya.



If we, as a nation, exploit our fossil fuel resources, we will, in turn, add to the effects of climate change even in our own country. Our carbon emissions will soon translate to even warmer temperatures and less rainfall and agricultural produce. It is not logical to drown the cries of millions of farmers who live off their next harvest, in crude oil. We may look at the history of the industrial revolution and conclude that the only route to economic development and advancement is through the exploitation of our fossil fuels but this is far from the truth. Renewable sources of energy; solar, wind, geothermal and hydroelectric power provide an alternate route to economic development that is far less dangerous. It may seem hard to believe that renewable energy can match the benefits that non-renewable energy offers, but before you resort to any preconceived opinions that you may have, I ask that you consider the following facts and statistics.

Wind power, which is the fastest-growing energy source in the world since 1990, has already taken root in Kenya.

Kenya was the first African country to tap geothermal energy from which she earns a net profit of KSH 11.5billion per annum from only one power plant.

Africa harbors the largest hydroelectric power plant in Egypt’s Aswan Dam, and yet the World Bank estimates that only 7 to 8% of Africa’s hydroelectric power potential is currently utilized.

Solar energy is the most abundant energy resource in the world, but the beauty with Kenya is; unlike many other countries that experience different seasons, the sun rises and sets 365 days a year and an extra day on a leap year, which simply means that we are a country that has a constant guarantee of solar energy and yet this resource remains untapped.


Potential of renewable energy in Kenya.

[Photo Credit: www.venturesafrica.com ]


 Despite all these shocking statistics, 80% of Africa’s electricity is still generated from fossil fuels but many have concluded that; with the right infrastructure, 50% of electricity generated in Southern and Eastern Africa can be obtained from renewable sources of energy by 2030. And so I ask; is the use of fossil fuels really necessary at the expenses of agriculture? Today, men and women in Kenya struggle to put food on their table for their families not because of their slackness, but because climate change has brought about major changes in our rainfall patterns. Food crops are failing.

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A smallholder farmer working a maize field in the district of Embu, Kenya.

[Photo Credit: www.dw.com ]


A wise man once said; when the rivers are all dried up and the trees cut down, man will then realise that he cannot eat money.

Africa’s land is the epicenter of natural resources that offer tremendous energy potential, majority of which surprisingly remain untapped. I believe that this situation still can be redirected. If we focus on exploiting and financing the use of renewable energy as opposed to mining for oil in the northern part of Kenya which is already facing desertification, then we have the solution to our problems.
Aside from this, many have rightfully argued that the historic responsibility of carbon emission lies with the Western countries and that they should take responsibility through Climate Finance and be the only nations to reduce their levels of green-house gas emissions. Now although more developed nations are chiefly responsible for the changes in climate we face today, the impacts will be felt by all. Drought, famine, floods, decreased rainfall, extreme weather conditions, spread of disease, loss of animal and plant species, melting of polar ice caps, rise in sea level, increase in average global temperature, you name it, climate change remains a global phenomenon with a global impact, so a global response will only suffice to address this global issue.

It has often been repeated that our generation is the first one to experience the impacts of climate change, but what we largely do not seem to realize is that our generation is also the last one that can do something about it, if only we would break free from fossil fuels.



- Unelker Maoga