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 partnership with you, MADRE works with women and girl leaders who create their vision of the future for their communities. We build on this foundation by bringing the voices and expertise of women and girls to the United Nations, International Criminal Court, and other influential forums to create lasting change for human rights and gender justice. We move beyond uplifting one community — or even one country — to winning new laws that will benefit millions of women and girls for generations to come. Far too often, women are left out of essential decision-making conversations in the legal and policy arena. MADRE partners are examining their human rights struggles in the context of international law — and winning significant accomplishments.

MADRE has been supporting spaces that uplift our partners at the United Nations for over 22 years. The United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII), among other international spaces, allows MADRE partners to gather and share the challenges they face and their solutions for climate and gender justice. In April, for the 10th consecutive year, MADRE co-hosted with Rosa-Luxemburg Stiftung-NYC a delegation of partners from Nepal, Panama, the Philippines, Sudan, and the US-Mexico border participated in the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. During the forum, Indigenous women and girls inform and help shape global Indigenous rights agreements. This year’s theme looked at the critical role that Indigenous women and girls play in climate justice advocacy. MADRE’s in-person event, “Reflections on Climate Justice from Indigenous Feminist Peacebuilders Around the World,” co-hosted with Rosa-Luxemburg Stiftung-NYC, was a conversation about what climate justice looks like in action, what challenges we face to achieving climate justice, and how we can leverage and apply international tools for advancing climate justice.

In Kenya, long droughts, the rise of food insecurity, COVID-19, and inflation have increased land disputes as well as threats of ethnic tensions. MADRE partner, the Indigenous Information Network (IIN), positions Indigenous women leaders–who for years have mobilized their communities to mitigate the impact of climate change and advocate for peacebuilding to lower risks of conflict across communities and advance climate justice. Additionally, MADRE has advanced opportunities for women’s and girls’ leadership, autonomy, and economic empowerment that contribute to improved community development and social cohesion. As core to our programming, MADRE provided partners with funding, training, and skills-building opportunities to create and/or strengthen community-based, women-led, and democratically-led climate adaptation and mitigation programming. For example, in Kenya, MADRE supported Indigenous women’s and girls’ Indigenous-knowledge-based solutions for conserving biodiversity, promoting reforestation, harvesting rainwater, protecting local water sources from contamination, and fostering alternative livelihoods, including growing and selling seedlings and surplus vegetables. We also continued to resource seed exchanges between women of different Indigenous communities that have cultivated deep connections and mutual solidarity.

We have built a foundation of trust with partners because we don’t prescribe solutions, instead, we listen to their expertise and serve as a bridge to connect them with resources and forums where they can advocate for their own solutions. By amplifying the voices and solutions of women and girls on the frontlines of crisis and allowing them to be heard in the global policymaking arena, we are using the power of the law and advocacy to improve women’s human rights for generations to come. Thank you for helping us make this important work possible. 

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With your generous support, MADRE partners in Africa participated in an intergenerational delegation of 12 women and young women leaders in November 2022 at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27) in Egypt. MADRE partners contributed vital, and often missing, grassroots perspectives and movement organizing to demand action from States and decision-makers. They called for strengthened linkages between climate discussions at COP27 and efforts to protect biodiversity at the Convention on Biological Diversity, which was held in December. 

Partners uplifted the work and expertise of Indigenous and rural women and girls in addressing the impacts of the climate crisis through sustainable management of natural resources, reforestation and agroecology initiatives, and community-led water conservation efforts, among other strategies. The delegation also demanded that any funding to mitigate the impacts of climate change must be given directly to Indigenous and rural communities on the frontlines.  

In an important step toward justice for countries and Indigenous communities bearing the brunt of climate breakdown, and after years of advocacy by partners and activists, an agreement was reached to provide “loss and damage” funding to compensate at-risk nations from climate-induced disasters. MADRE partners highlighted this as a significant outcome of the conference and have discussed ways they can strengthen advocacy at the national level to ensure any potential funding reaches grassroots communities in need. 

Partners also reported creative ways in which they have shared their COP27 experiences with their communities. For example, MADRE partners organized tree planting activities with community members and invited youth, local government officials, and other key stakeholders, including radio stations, to discuss and put their learnings into practice.

Thank you for your support and meaningful solidarity for environmental activists in Africa. When we come together to listen and learn from MADRE partners, we make positive steps toward creating a healthier planet for all. 

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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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Organization Information

MADRE, An International Women's Human Rights Org.

Location: New York, NY - USA
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @madrespeaks
Project Leader:
Yifat Susskind
New York , NY United States
$5,290 raised of $10,000 goal
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