Help Women in Kenya Confront Climate Change

by MADRE, An International Women's Human Rights Org.
Help Women in Kenya Confront Climate Change
Help Women in Kenya Confront Climate Change
Help Women in Kenya Confront Climate Change
Help Women in Kenya Confront Climate Change

In Kenya, The Indigenous Information Network (IIN) works with Indigenous women at the forefront of effectively managing environmental issues related to the climate crisis and leading longer-term solutions. 

With support from you and MADRE, Lucy, the Executive Director of IIN, and her team provide trainings to Indigenous women throughout Kenya, focusing on the impact of Climate Change on food production and land use. Indigenous women also learn how to protect and conserve the environment to ensure the rehabilitation of their land. 

IIN hosted a “Youth Climate Change Workshop” because, through their partnership with the Ogiek Youth Council, they learned that most young people are unaware of the technical term, “Climate Change” and its impacts on the environment. The topic was very new to them and during the workshop, they shared their willingness to learn and take action against climate change. Indigenous women from older generations helped in mobilizing the younger Indigenous girls and shared real-life experiences and strategies to combat the effects of climate change during the trainings. Now having this knowledge, participants can educate other people in their communities on why taking care of the environment is vital.

One of the participants was a young Indigenous girl named Esther. She loves to learn new things and from the expertise of Indigenous women before her, she learned the importance of planting trees and protecting the environment from animal overgrazing and deforestation. She asked the Ogiek Youth Council to support her initiative to start planting trees in her home garden and in nearby places in her community. She continues to plant trees and encourages girls to plant their own to further protect the planet. 

Esther’s story, along with many other Indigenous women and girls in Kenya, demonstrates the power of creating opportunities for young women and girls to learn and educate themselves about the climate crisis – which in turn fuels their self-determination to protect the earth. 

Thank you for supporting Esther’s tree planting efforts in Kenya.

 

*Name has been changed to protect the individual. 

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With your and MADRE’s VIVA Girls initiative's support, our longtime partner, Indigenous Information Network, provided trainings for more than 3,500 girls across Kenya. The young women learned about their rights and how to combat issues such as gender-based violence and the climate crisis. 

Led by intergenerational grassroots activists, the trainings were rooted in advancing education on the intersection of climate change and girls’ sexual and reproductive health – uplifting solutions to prevent harmful practices including early marriage, Female Genital Mutilation, teenage pregnancy, and peer pressure. The workshops provided opportunities for collective teamwork to gain confidence and know their rights and work alongside peers through friendship and acts of encouragement.

One of the girls, Makena, who participated in a training in Kacheliba, Kenya, shared, “girls are facing a challenge of staying at home during the rainy seasons so as to prepare their household’s land for greater yields. Their parents tell them to either choose to stay days without food or go to school, and this forces them to stay home for them to care for their families’ needs first.” 

The trainings and community gatherings provided a safe space for girls to work together and uplift one another to speak on issues related to gender abuse and equality. Towards the end of each session, the girls felt motivated and ready to continue educating other girls in their communities and beyond.

Thank you for making this life-changing opportunity possible across rural communities in Kenya where girls are being encouraged to continue their education and have brighter futures free from gender-based violence.

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MADRE partner, Cindy, at COP26
MADRE partner, Cindy, at COP26

This past November, MADRE was pleased to accompany an intergenerational delegation of our Kenyan partners from the Indigenous Information Network (IIN) to participate in the 26th Annual United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow, United Kingdom.

The COP26 conference provided an exciting opportunity for MADRE to support IIN’s Executive Director, Lucy, and two Indigenous youth activists who receive mentorship from IIN, Faith of the Olorukoti Resource and Knowledge Center and Cindy of the Ogiek Youth Council, to advocate on their communities’ behalf at the international level, including an audience comprised of 120 world leaders and over 40,000 participants. Through this delegation, MADRE’s partners uplifted the voices of Indigenous Peoples to ensure they are included in the movement for climate action as a matter of justice. Together, Lucy, Cindy, and Faith urged policymakers to center locally-rooted and gender-responsive climate solutions that meaningfully integrate and address the demands of Indigenous women and girls.

For example, MADRE is excited to share that Cindy was selected to give a High-level Statement to the COP26 Chair on behalf of Indigenous Peoples. She stated, “I am happy to be part of the COP26 session because it is an opportunity to remind parties that the participation of women, girls, and young people is at the center of climate action.

With Lucy’s continued mentorship, Cindy’s and Faith’s advocacy at COP26 provided participants and decision-makers with vital, and often missing, insight into the perspectives and self-identified priorities of Indigenous girls and young women who are disproportionately impacted by climate breakdown. In doing so, they created a powerful feedback loop between grassroots youth activists’ demands and global policymaking, demonstrating how Indigenous girls and young women can be seen as active contributors to climate justice policies. 

Thank you for making these invaluable experiences and opportunities possible for Indigenous leaders like Lucy, Cindy and Faith! We greatly appreciate your support.

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MADRE and Indigenous Information Network (IIN)--our partner in Kenya and a recognized leader of the African Indigenous women’s movement--are building intergenerational leadership and growing the movement for Indigenous girls’ rights across East Africa. 

With MADRE’s support, IIN recently expanded its programming to include Indigenous girl-centered workshops in Kenya, as well as with the Pastoralist Information Development Organization (PIDO) in Tanzania. To date, IIN and PIDO have organized more than 15 socially-distanced workshops that created a safe space for over 700 Indigenous girls to openly discuss issues impacting their daily lives, such as the connections between the impacts of climate breakdown and increased instances of gender-based discrimination or violence.

These workshops were integral to building girls’ knowledge of their rights and self-confidence, further contributing to their personal growth, path to autonomy and leadership, and ability to speak out about the injustices they face. Collectively, these workshops represent a significant movement-building space for girls where they learn how climate change is an issue of gender justice and are given the tools to drive action towards climate justice in their communities.

Thanks to your generous donation through GlobalGiving, young women and girls in Tanzania and Kenya are becoming the next generation of Indigenous leaders advocating for gender equality and climate justice.

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MADRE
MADRE

Thanks to your generous gift through GlobalGiving, MADRE continues to support our Kenyan partner, the Indigenous Information Network (IIN), to train Indigenous women in the production of high-quality seeds and help organize community seed banks that conserve local crop varieties. Thanks to your support, Indigenous women have been able to multiply seeds of local varieties—which are rare or becoming less obtainable—and make them available every season. Your generosity also supports IIN’s efforts to not only protect biodiversity but provide women and families with nutritious food. 

Over the past year, IIN produced 70,000 seedlings for planting, helping to significantly combat fertile land from becoming unsuitable for agriculture and promote reforestation. IIN and their network of Indigenous women leaders have worked with local youth to plant trees at schools and around their communities to encourage children to play an active role in environmental conservation, preserving cultures and traditions for future generations to come!

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Organization Information

MADRE, An International Women's Human Rights Org.

Location: New York, NY - USA
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Twitter: @madrespeaks
Project Leader:
Yifat Susskind
New York, NY United States
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