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Women's Earth & Climate Action Network, International
The Women's Earth & Climate Action Network is a solutions-based, multi-faceted effort established to engage women worldwide to take action as powerful stakeholders in climate change and sustainability solutions. For Our Earth and Future Generations A project of Women's Earth and Climate Caucus and its partner eraGlobal Alliance

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Leonida Odongo

Organization: Fahamu Africa
City/Country: Nairobi


Leonida Odongo Leonida Odongo Leonida Odongo

At Fahamu Africa we have a project on climate justice which works with 5 frontline communities in different parts of Kenya .These communities include indigenous people in the Embobut Forest, a marine ecosystem community in Malindi, small holder female farmers in rural part of Kenya , in informal settlement in Nairobi (Mathare ) and a fisherfolk community based in Lake Victoria. The project aims at Enhancing Effective Civil Society Participation towards an Equitable and Ambitious Post- 2015 Climate Regime. We have noted that for fisherfolk, climate change means loss of livelihoods as fish migrate deeper into the lake, some get killed because of industrial wastes which are directed into the lake. For indigenous communities , climate change means cultural genocide as this community has been evicted from their ancestral home ,being accused of environmental destruction while in reality , they have been living in the forest for over 200 years. For female small holder farmers climate change means reduced yields, disrupted education for children because some of these women are widowed and depend entirely on agricultural production. For marine communities in Malindi, the climate change crisis is coupled with expansion of salt lagoons by salt industries .This implies inaccessibility to fresh water for domestic use, women having to travel long distances in search of water and wilting of crops due to acidity.It also means loss of livelihoods as the population comprises of farmers as well as fisherfolk.Fish have migrated to deep sea due to pollution, this has disrupted livelihoods. In urban centres climate change is most felt by the presence of industries which emit noxious gases.Poor populations cannot vacate their houses for lack of alternatives.With the onset of rains , which have not become unpredictable, are forced which mainly depend on roadside vending have to close businesses , children cannot go to school as roads become impassable. The Political message to leaders at COP 22 is that frontline communities those unable to cushion themselves from the negative impacts of climate change are the ones who are most affected.Climate change threatens the very survival of frontline communities . The continued militarized response to frontline communities resistance to forced evictions should also stop.These communities are being deprived of their homes, economic activities and the forced eviction is tantamount to cultural genocide

We shared about issues of climate change through social media , this is also a continous process.Communities are becoming more aware about climate change and we are working towards changing the attitude of self blame. Our key message : Frontline communities are not to blame for the climate crisis, their contribution to climate change is very minimal.There is need for allocation of historical responsibility to the climate crisis to the major polluters .