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

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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In Kenya, the women farmers of the Indigenous Information Network (IIN) have worked to improve community resilience in the face of the climate crisis, which has worsened droughts and limited water access for Pastoralist communities even before this pandemic, which has made access to water for handwashing all the more important.

Despite these challenges, IIN’s ongoing efforts to promote the harvesting of rainwater are helping to offset COVID-19’s impact on Indigenous communities. Thanks to the meaningful support of advocates like you, Indigenous women now have access to water tanks and storage containers, which they use to collect and store water for handwashing and sanitation -- vital practices for life-saving hygiene efforts. Because of your generosity, IIN is now expanding their reach to other rural Indigenous communities through a network of women’s centers. Thank you for standing with us, especially in times of uncertainty!

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Our partners at the Indigenous Information Network (IIN) in Kenya fight to protect their communities who already suffer the effects of climate breakdown, including drought. Add to that the immense difficulties the pandemic brings -- such as needing water to wash hands -- and you’re faced with a serious problem. But these Indigenous women leaders are up to the challenge.

IIN is providing hand washing stations at women’s centers throughout remote Indigenous communities. And Indigenous women’s groups have learned to collect rainwater in order to cook, drink and wash their hands. These Indigenous women leaders are ensuring their communities have what’s needed to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Thank you for making this life-saving work possible!

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With barely enough water to drink, it’s all the more difficult to stay safe during a pandemic. In communities facing worsening droughts, handwashing seems unimaginable. But thanks to your generosity, our partners at the Indigenous Information Network (IIN) are able to support six drought-affected communities in Kenya. They are distributing masks and setting up handwashing stations with soap by using water tanks previously provided by MADRE to collect rainwater. Now, in addition to dispensing drinking water, the tanks make handwashing -- a critical way to prevent the spread of the virus -- possible.

Not only does your generosity help meet the immediate needs of these communities, it has also enabled IIN’s network of Indigenous women leaders across Africa to share vital information and urge the government to respond to the pandemic. IIN’s multi-pronged approach demonstrates their ability to leverage their strength and leadership to save lives. Thank you for making this vital work possible!

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Naiyan finishing a jiko stove.
Naiyan finishing a jiko stove.

Land and water equal life to the Indigenous Peoples of Kenya, and without it, the community struggles to thrive. Luckily there are women climate defenders like Naiyan who protect their local communities. Naiyan has creatively and effectively used alternative ways to preserve the environment. She implements the use of a jiko stove, which uses 80% less firewood than traditional stoves, to allow Indigenous women to help their families cook meals and stay warm, while saving resources.

Thanks to your support, Naiyan has helped distribute 100 jiko stoves. At an exchange between Indigenous women who live in remote communities, Naiyan demonstrated how to make the stoves, and gave some away to women who attended. Now these women have stoves that are more environmentally friendly. What’s more, they’re taking what they learned from the demonstration and teaching others in their communities how to make these stoves. By sharing her knowledge across communities, Naiyan is taking her leadership to the next level.

Deforestation is a major challenge Naiyan and her community face. Forest cover is one of the easiest ways to adapt and mitigate climate change impacts. Naiyan believes that trees need to be planted to create an environment conducive to rainfall so that they never experience drought in their village again. In organizing with local women, she has helped plant over 100,000 seedlings since 2009! Tree nurseries protect clean water, help reforest the land and protect biodiversity. The planting of trees allows women to harvest products including pawpaw, mangoes, oranges and medicinal plants, which they can use to feed and care for their families and sell for additional income. Naiyan’s work is making all this and more possible.

Along with Indigenous women from nearby villages, Naiyan started an initiative called SEED SISTERS to exchange seeds for vegetables, beans, medicinal plants, flowers and trees that are more resistant to a dry environment. As a result, an Indigenous group from Transmara decided to send food from their next harvest to women in West Pokot who were suffering a severe drought in their community. After the exchange, a group of Maasai women, who had visited West Pokot and learned about a poultry project, launched their own poultry initiative to generate income for basic needs and send their children to school. Naiyan has not only shown leadership in the SEED SISTERS initiative but has also been a constant source of inspiration for peer rural women to support each other.

Due to climate change, grazing land and water for cattle are scarce. Because Indigenous women had to transition from raising cattle and find a new way to support their families, raising chickens is a life-sustaining alternative. They’re easier to raise and provide eggs to feed families and sell at markets. And with more income, women can help their daughters stay in school longer and wait until they are older to marry. Naiyan has been crucial in teaching women how to care for chickens and brainstorming how they can use this opportunity to create a steady revenue source.

Together with MADRE, our local partner IIN and you, Naiyan is propelling grassroots women's solutions to climate breakdown and developing sustainable ways of living. From jiko stoves to planting seeds to supporting women’s participation in sustainable climate efforts, Naiyan is leading the way. Courageous and creative, she has dedicated her life’s work to the greater good of rural communities in Kenya. Thank you for making this life-changing work possible! And make sure you don’t miss our next report to find out how Naiyan brings her work to the international level!


Photo credits: First photo, Poppy Miyonga; Second and third photos, MADRE

Naiyan with seedlings she is growing.
Naiyan with seedlings she is growing.
Naiyan with chickens she raises.
Naiyan with chickens she raises.
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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
67 donations
$4,710 to go
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Pay Bill: 891300
Account: GG19485

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