SheRises Foundation

Climate Change – Coastal Kenya

Climate Change

Climate change is a global problem. It is one of the most discussed topics due to its effects, especially on vulnerable people such as young women and girls living in coastal cities. This blog post will do a deep dive into the details of climate change, impacts of the climate situation in Kenya’s coastal cities, and the role young women and girls will play in climate resilience and adaptation efforts.

Understanding Climate Change and Coastal Vulnerability

Climate change is primarily caused by human activities, which include the emission of greenhouse gases and deforestation. Climate change is manifested in the form of rising temperatures, extreme weather events, or even sea-level rise. All these changes pose significant challenges for the coastal cities of the world, including those in Kenya. With about 70% of the population living within 150 km from the coast, the country’s coastal regions are very vulnerable to climate change impacts.

Climate change worsens the existing vulnerabilities, which are poverty, food insecurity, and inadequate infrastructure in Kenya’s coastal cities. For example, an extreme weather event like flooding and cyclones will destroy their houses, disrupt their livelihoods, and contaminate their water sources, hence posing health risks. In addition, sea-level rise threatens not only coastal ecosystems and infrastructure but also exacerbates erosion and flooding in low-lying areas.


Impact on Young Women and Girls

Due to gender inequalities and societal norms, young women and girls bear a disproportionate burden of the impacts brought about by climate change in Kenya’s coastal cities. Many times, they are exposed to more risks and challenges while trying to acquire basic services and resources like clean water, health care, and education. For example, when climate-related disasters occur, the young women and girls are left with the responsibility of caring and doing household chores, hence limiting their access to education and economic opportunities.

Moreover, climate change worsens gender-based violence and discrimination, as women and girls are left very vulnerable and easy targets for exploitation and abuse in times of crisis. Lack of access to reproductive health services and information also exacerbates reproductive health risks for young women and girls in coastal communities.

The Role of Women in Climate Action:

Despite facing disproportionate impacts, women and girls also play a crucial role in climate action and resilience-building efforts. Research shows that women are often at the forefront of community-led initiatives to address climate change impacts. For example, women’s groups and cooperatives engage in sustainable agriculture, reforestation, and renewable energy projects to mitigate climate risks and enhance community resilience.

Furthermore, women’s participation in decision-making processes is essential for developing effective and inclusive climate policies and programs. When women have a seat at the table, climate interventions are more responsive to community needs and priorities, leading to more sustainable outcomes.

Addressing Climate Challenges: Empowering Young Women and Girls:

An approach with many folds in dealing with climate challenges in the coastal cities of Kenya and in the empowerment of young women and girls is thus required. The approaches SheRises Foundation takes include:

  • Education and Awareness: Investment in climate change education and awareness raising programs can give knowledge and skills to adapt to climate impacts to young women and girls and the ability to advocate for climate action.
  • Access to Resources: Ensuring equitable access to resources, such as clean water, healthcare, and education, is a critical step in young women’s empowerment and resilience building. This comprises investments in infrastructure, social services, and economic opportunities tailored to the needs of the coastal communities.
  • Economic Empowerment: Providing economic opportunities and livelihood options for young women and girls is a clear way to enhance their resilience against impacts of climate change. It may include supporting entrepreneurship initiatives, vocational training programs, and microfinance schemes that enable women to generate income and support their families.
  • Gender-Responsive Policies: Gender-responsive climate policies must be prioritized by policymakers, addressing the specific needs and priorities of women and girls. This includes mainstreaming gender concerns into climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies and ensuring the representation of women in decision-making at all levels.

SheRises Foundation

This is an organization that is dedicated to mobilizing and empowering young people in Kenya to take part in fighting the effects of climate change. In coastal areas, such as Mombasa, Malindi, Lamu, among others, climate change brings particular challenges, including rising sea levels, coastal erosion, and marine ecosystem health hazards. Sherises Foundation raises awareness and implements projects geared towards responding to coastal issues. Some of the activities the organization engages in are:

Running campaigns: Sherises Foundation organizes campaigns through events, workshops, and outreach programs that sensitize the coastal communities on climate change and how to adapt and mitigate the impacts.

Community projects: they work with local communities to implement community projects for sustainable development, including mangrove restoration, waste management, and renewable energy projects.

Advocacy: reach out to local and national governments to advocate for policy change and action that will lead to the reduction of climate change impacts in vulnerable groups in coastal regions.

Capacity building: they impart training and other resources to youth in the coastal areas, empowering them to become leaders and mentors to advance change at the community level.

The organization partners with other non-governmental organizations, government agencies, and international bodies to leverage collective efforts and broaden and deepen activities that target coastal climate change in Kenya.

In conclusion, climate change presents significant challenges to Kenya’s coastal cities, especially to young women and girls. However, it also presents opportunities for empowerment and building resilience. By identifying the distinct vulnerabilities and contributions that women and girls have in this respect, more effective and inclusive climate solutions can be developed that benefit entire communities. Empowering young women in Kenya’s coastal cities is not only important for the climate resilience of the people but also for the creation of an equal and sustainable future for all.

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