February 3, 2016

Kenyan University students join the climate change movement

By Njeri Gatiba
As World leaders rush to meet the deadlines to present a binding agreement to address climate change and its effects at COP 21 Paris, France, University students in Kenya have joined the climate change movement to urge leaders to make this fair and binding agreement. They are also committed to local actions to address the global challenge. This was during “1st Inter university dialogue on the climate change adaptation and mitigation policy and practise” that was hosted by AYICC KENYA in collaboration of Kenyatta University Environmental Club (KUNEC) and the Kenya Inter University Environmental Students Association (KIUESA) ON 15TH October 2015 at K.U.
The dialogue themed “be the driving force” was a culmination of a series of mini dialogues undertaken by AYICC Kenya during university clubs weekly meetings. The aim is to create awareness on international policies under (UNFCCC and Conference Of Parties process) and national climate change polices (National Climate Change Action Plan 2013-2017) and how young people can translate this into local action by embracing knowledge, courage and actocacy. Participating student delegates represented the following universities:
  • Kenyatta University
  • Zetech University,
  • Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT),
  • University Of Nairobi (UoN),
  • Mount Kenya University (MKU),
  • Eldoret University
KNOWLEDGE!
They had an opportunity to interact and learn from each other and speakers that included Mr. John Kioli, Chairman of Kenya Climate Change Working Group (KCCWG) who expressed his delight in interacting with university student eager to take action in tackling climate change and affirmed his support in this endeavour, Mr. David Wainana of REACT Music and Advisor to AYICC and Susy Wandera of SUSWATCH and convener of road to COP, together they were involved in the organising the road to Durban youth caravan. They highlited they need to constantly acquire knowledge on climate change and turn indivual talents and passions into tools of creating a cleaner and better environment for all. E.g. Using social media and photjounalism to create awareness on climate change.
Mr. Karen Musikoyo- Program Director, USIU Global Agribusiness Management and Entrepreneurship Centre, Catherine Njoki Karanja- Junior program Officer-Green Society, Hivos spoke about opportunities for youth within Climate Change adaptation and mitigation with specific focus to agriculture and food security. Participants were informed of existing opportunity at USIU Global Agribusiness Entrepreneurship and Innovations centre where they are offering scholarships for courses in innovative agriculture for young farmers.


COURAGE!
Kennedy Liti, Research Fellow at African Centre for Technological studies/Founder Green Bits Initiative on climate finance noted that “the money is there and donors are looking for the right projects to fund, projects that will provide solutions in combating climate change but how you present your project is the key to it being funded


Finally, Resson Kantai Duff of Save the elephants who enthusiastically discussed careers in the environment and climate change sector and how to present yourself in write winning application letter, C.V. and in person. She was keen to mention that volunteer activities and internships are areas where one can get mentorship and guidance on their career paths and on personal development.
AND ACTVOCACY (action and advocacy)!
Later in the evening, the students delegates met in groups to discuss the roles and actions they will take in their respective universities and communities to address climate change and also messages to local and worlds leaders on their action towards combating climate change. The participants agreed that :
  • Individually, everyone should evaluate their carbon footprint and come up with a reduction plan of this greenhouse gases emissions by changing of lifestyles.
  • University clubs should carry out massive awareness creation to address low knowledge about climate change and its effects in Kenya.
  • Climate smart Agriculture should be popularized for adoption by Kenyan small and large scale farmers.
  • In Kenya, we have very good policies but their implementation is wanting, the government should engage in proactive policy implementation after their formulation.
  • The Kenyan delegation to COP 21 should emphasize on the responsibility of developed countries in paying for historical emissions injustices.
  • All countries need to ratify the Kyoto protocol for a combine effort to address climate change.
  • Countries should shift their gear from business as usual and endeavour into a green economy.
And FUN!
Tear drop, a reown poet and artist entertained the students with a musical poem on importance of the environment
Social Media
The students blew the hashtag #KenyanYouth4COP21 by storm with informative messages from the days presentations and discussions. This conversations continue and we continue to reward active users of the hashtag with AYICC gift hampers.
We look forward to seeing you again!
We shall be hosting a second interuniversity dialogue at African Nazarene University, good reasons for you to keep in touch on our social media for more information.
Also, we love visitors and for this we invite you to our weekly meetings at the YMCA central branch (on state house road) every Wednesday from 5:30 pm. See you soon.
Compiled by Gladys N. Gatiba


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