Gender, Climate and Security

Climate change is the long-term alteration of earth’s climate patterns, particularly the rise in average global temperatures due to human activities, primarily the emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Worldwide, people are growing more conscious and vocal about urging decision-makers to confront this human-activities leading to climate change. Emerging young innovators are testing with new solutions and exploiting new sectors while older generations are taking charge, to restore the ecosystem to what they grew up with. Businesses are responding, and policymakers are taking decisive steps towards climate change resilience. 

Climate change has had a profound impact on food security in East Africa, a region already characterized by high levels of poverty and vulnerability. The region heavily relies on rain-fed agriculture, making it highly vulnerable to climate variability.

Kenya, like many other African countries, is experiencing the effects of climate change due to the increased deforestation, overgrazing and unsustainable land use practices. The country is characterized by its vulnerability to climate-related hazards such as droughts, floods, and erratic rainfall patterns. The women who are the caregivers are mainly affected by these challenges as they have to go around looking for water and food which exposes them to more risks stress and also some attacked by wild animals.

Interventions and The Role of Women

The Horn faces various challenges related to climate change, including rising temperatures, food insecurity, changing rainfall patterns, and increased frequency of extreme weather events. Women, as key members of the community, play a significant role in climate resilience and adaptation. Therefore, it is crucial to engage them in meaningful discussions and empower them to take action and be involved in formulating climate change policies.

One of the primary concerns is the impact on staple crops such as maize, which is a vital food source for many people in the region. Maize yields could decline by around 40% by 2050 in East Africa, further exacerbating food insecurity.  Adopting irrigation farming by some farmers has helped minimize the lack of food for their families. The women have also taken part in managing kitchen gardens from where they get vegetables for domestic use and also sell to support their families.

As a result of these rapid changes Sisters Without Borders a platform of women led organizations working on Women Peace and Security, held discussions with community members and leaders on the intersectionality between gender climate and security in Kilifi, Kajiado, Wajir, Isiolo Busia and Lamu counties. SWB sought to create awareness of climate change implications, facilitate information sharing among women stakeholders and also empower stakeholders with knowledge to develop climate adaptation strategies.

The engagement also helped the women understand how highly they are exposed to various risks and the huge role they can play in mobilizing communities for climate action.