Women are key players in environmental protection

Women can leverage their existing networks to promote the much-needed behavior change.

In Summary

•Thus, their involvement and empowerment on increasing the forest cover as well as adopting clean cooking in their homes is vital also in improving their health condition, even as the struggle with the effects of COVID-19.

•The current country strategy is of pursuing long-term, transformative development and accelerate sustainable climate resilient economic growth.

A group of women sing and dance.
A group of women sing and dance.
Image: COURTESY

Government efforts of meeting the national target of increasing the country’s forest cover to 10 per cent must involve women as key players given their cultural gender role relating to tending to the farms, cooking, and looking for firewood.

Thus, their involvement and empowerment on increasing the forest cover as well as adopting clean cooking in their homes is vital also in improving their health condition, even as the struggle with the effects of COVID-19.

The current country strategy is of pursuing long-term, transformative development and accelerate sustainable climate resilient economic growth, while slowing the soaring rates of GHG emissions emanating from the forest sector will count on the effort on involvement of women and girls in the reforestation interventions.

And the ministry of Environment and Forestry in partnership and UNDP who are implementing the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) REDD+ Readiness Project in Kenya in collaboration with partners drawn from both national and county-level institutions and agencies are aware of this.

The Clean Cooking Association of Kenya (CCAK) has through various studies established that women play critical roles in scaling the adoption of clean cookstoves and fuels because of their central responsibility for cooking and managing household energy.

In addition to deciding whether to use clean cooking products, women can catalyze the market as micro-entrepreneurs and small-sized enterprise owners through the distribution and delivery of clean cooking technologies and after-sales services that will contribute to the creation of a thriving global market. Since men do not commonly cook as much as women in the household, women’s experience can help them conduct point-of-sale activities.

Similarly, women can leverage their existing networks to promote the much-needed behavior change that the ministry is working to achieve the critical mass required to adopt tree planting in their daily lives.

Given the central role played by women and girls in procuring fuel for cooking and heating, empowering women and other vulnerable groups in society including girls and children to better manage their daily chores of procuring the requisite energy and promoting clean cooking technologies would yield tremendous benefits to the national effort by the government.

It has been shown that women are critical enablers in scaling up of the adoption of clean cookstoves and fuels owing to their central responsibility for both cooking and overall management of household energy resources.

There is need to involve more women and enhance their knowledge participating in conversation and natural resource management as primary caregivers on the same.

This is well captured in our policy documents especially on clean cooking as should be implemented.

“Given the central role played by women and girls in procuring fuel for cooking and heating, empowering women and girls to better manage their daily chores of procuring the requisite energy and promoting clean cooking technologies would yield tremendous benefits to the national effort by the government” Sammy Muraya the project manager, Voice for Women and Girls Rights project was recently quoted.

A policy by the CCAK notes that to exploit the full potential of women in promoting the adoption and scaling up of uptake of clean cooking solutions, the Kenya Government needs to mobilize resources required to support women and the youth, notably girls to increase uptake of available clean cooking solutions and venture into clean cooking enterprises.

In addition, there is a need for County Governments to establish affirmative funds or special vehicle kitties to support the involvement of women and girls in both the business and use of clean cooking technologies.

Recently, Sango Information Hub (SIH) with support from Betika organized a series of environmental protection events including the distribution and planting of over 5,000 tree seedlings on the areas bordering the Lake Victoria, and the run out and interest by women in tree planting was very encouraging.

The organization has asked women to form groups, which will assist them fit in the organization’s work model is informed by its strong commitment to build a strong ecosystem that will ensure the environmental protection and development is largely achieved through human behavior change with key focus on the youth, women and local leadership along the L.Victoria Basin.

We need strong partnerships that will assist in re-engineering resilience to environmental protection through community engagement activities and more specifically, the tree planting activities which largely receive high levels of community attraction.

Country efforts must focus on community involvement to plant trees thus creating a micro-climate unique to the region. Trees will aid in increasing air moisture through evapotranspiration, as well as trapping moisture emanating from the lake improving the rainfall regime for the region.

Victor Bwire works for Media Council of Kenya