The Cellphone that Keeps the Water, and Data, Flowing by Ken Banks

The Cellphone that Keeps the Water, and Data, Flowing by Ken Banks.

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Gender and Climate Change – Doing our best no matter our size

I recently participated in meeting that had great minds and we were discussing gender and climate change. it was refreshing to listen to stories of how women and communities are managing despite the changes in the climate around them and the devastating effects. A group of women in Asia had been suffering devastating effects due to floods. They kept losing their chicken every time it flooded and decided to keep ducks. One of the women said – “What are ducks if not water proof chicken”. The discussions were great but the discussion on climate resilience got me a little worried and I asked myself are we pushing the agenda of resilience and forgetting the drivers of climate change? And if so, at what cost?

It has really hit home on how much we really need to change as humanity with regards to our choices and decisions on natural resource use. Wangari Maathai kept saying for many years that there will never be peace on earth until that day we will have equity in the utilization of our natural resources and that time when we will learn to take care and protect our environment. Driving through many ASAL regions in Kenya, you see piles of logs along the dusty road standing out in the emptiness of the surroundings. There are no trees anymore in the area and the few that remain are being burnt to make charcoal. It is now common to see children making their way to schools where they know they will get their only meal for the day through the supplementary feeding in schools. Life has not been easy for many families in and around their villages as their crop yield has been poor due to lack of rainfall, many families are experiencing the negative impact of climatic change as a result of human activities. But of these communities, those seriously affected by the change are women and children who constitute the most vulnerable groups. The women here are highly dependent on local natural resources for their livelihood as they have to feed large families and the drought and uncertain rainfall is making it harder for them to cope. I am just reflecting on the disadvantages they have faced such as limited access to decision-making and economic assets and I realize the burden the women have to bear. The men in the community migrate to look for jobs in the tourism industry nearer to the beach and these causes a disproportion on the workload at the household level which means extra chores as they are now responsible for the household.  The decisions on the family size are not made by the women and education for the girls is not a priority. This are sentiments that many women and girls share.

But out there, some great innovators are doing a fantastic job – from the guys insuring seeds from disasters (Kilimo Biashara), programmes like Prolinova, farmers adopting simple technologies such as bench terracing, seed bedding finger millet and the list could go on prove we are reselient but should we just become reselient or should we also be tacckling climate change drivers
Like in the story of the humming bird in the burning forest, we should all do the best we can to make a change; a great lesson taught by Wangari Maathai, a true Icon and champion for the environment, I say her legacy lives on.

Check out the video of the humming bird by dirt on you tube.

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