What are local communities doing to cope with the vagaries of climate change? This was the question that a team of high ranking officials from governments in Eastern and Southern Africa sought answers to during the Regional Workshop on Climate Change a workshop held in Nairobi 1-3 March 2010.
Part of the answer was in ILRI’s Kitengela Conservation Program which they visited on March 2, 2010. It includes maintaining open rangelands (where wildlife and livestock share pastures) through a land lease program. In this program, community members are paid four (4) USD per-acre per-year for saving their land from subdivision and fencing. The money is paid quarterly corresponding to schools re-opening. During the 2009 drought many families relied on these payments entirely because almost all of their livestock died.
Formation of a livestock market access company which will provide information on the market of meat and better livestock breeds thus increasing incomes from livestock marketing is another aspect and so is the running of a cultural village. The Kitengela community with professional advice from ILRI’s People Livestock and Environment Scientists are using this blend of interventions to cushion themselves against unpredictable but fast changing environmental circumstances which threaten the communities’ existence.
The workshop was organized by the African Centre for Technology Studies (ACTS) in collaboration with European Capacity Building Initiative (ECBI). The objectives of the workshop were to provide a briefing on the Conference of Parties 15 outcome; discuss what the COP15 Accord means for Africa and the next steps in the UNFCCC negotiations.
“I come from a pastoral background and I have gained some very useful insights on how to increase pastoral resilience. In my community we cut the grass when there is plenty and store it for the drought. I have now learnt about diversification”, said Undjee Mupurua, Director of Committee Services in Namibia’s Parliament.
“It was very informative and everyone in our group thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated it”, said Saleemul Huq, Senior Fellow at the international Institute for Environment and Development (IIED).
By Jane Gitau