CCA report 2

A Report of Community Meetings on Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Strategies in Kyuso and Mutomo, Kenya

Held in Kyuso and Mutomo, Kenya




4th and 6th August 2009

1.0            Introduction


In June 2009, the Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN) hosted a highly interactive 3-day workshop at the Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI), Kitui under the Royal Danish Embassy funded; “Knowledge Sharing for Climate Change Adaptation Initiative”. This workshop engaged a diverse group of 30 community stakeholders in difficult real-life discussions and decisions facing communities vulnerable to the impacts of climate change in the drylands of Ukambani region, Eastern Kenya.


The June workshop recommended follow up meetings at district levels to raise awareness and capture really experiences on climate change impacts and adaptation efforts from local communities. The Kyuso and Mutomo meetings were held on August’08, 4th and 6th respectively.  Hence, this report builds on the June workshop and presents an account of the two community meetings in Kyuso and Mutomo districts.

2.0            The Meetings


The purpose of the meetings was to engage representatives from local communities in interactive day-long sessions that create awareness and generate information on climate change impacts and the actions that local communities were undertaking to protect lives and livelihoods from the impacts, especially droughts. Participants in the meetings included representatives from local communities and development agencies including government and NGOs.

2.1         Kyuso meeting process   

Morning session: The morning session started off at 8 am by Mrs. Esther Lung’ahi welcoming all the 25 participants to the meeting. This was followed by a round of self-introductions by all the participants. In this session, participants were presented with an overview of climate change and an explanation of its implications to local communities. It was noted that an increase in greenhouse gase (GHG) emissions to the atmosphere has led to increased global warming with raising temperatures. Implications of global warming include:

-          a rise in sea level as ice caps and glaciers melt,

-          Increase in global rainfall

-          Increased warming in deserts and arid and semi-arid areas, without much rainfall.

-          Increase in extreme events – floods and droughts

-          overall the effects to human society will be harmful


It was noted that Climate Change is a worldwide problem but Africa is set to suffer the worst due to its low adaptation capacity.  This is due to high levels of poverty, illiteracy; inadequate infrastructure and weak institutions that can facilitate effective responses.  In developed countries, steps are already being taken against dangerous climate change, the institutions are well developed and they have resources to respond to emergencies.


Climate change associated threats on local communities are diverse. These will include:

          Food insecurity

          Water scarcity

          Increase in disease incidences and emergence of new diseases

          Conflicts over resources


It was observed that climate has been changing at almost a stable pace and individuals have always taken measures to protect themselves from suffering the adverse effects of climate variability. Greenhouse gas emissions by human activities have accelerated the pace of global warming and sped up climate change. Responses by individuals and societies are necessary for survival of man and other life on the planet.


At this stage, participants were asked what they were doing to respond to severe droughts experienced in recent years. Response actions by individuals included.


          Harvesting and storage of water including improved management of water sources

          Purchase of fodder for livestock

          Managing the environment

          Learning and adopting effective technologies and practices in the management of crops, livestock  and water

          Community organization for self-support through self-help groups, women groups, youth groups for extending help to each other after loss of livestock or crops to drought.


Participants were told that such response actions could be categorized as adaptation measures. The overview also made participants aware of some of the measures that they could take to contribute towards reductions of emissions. These included:


          Reduce emissions from deforestation

          Reduce emissions from erosion

          Use fuel efficient applications


Key questions during the morning session: The participants asked many questions in the course of the session, but key ones included:


Table 1: Questions and responses



·         Given that developed countries contribute more to climate change, why is it that we are the ones being affected?

·         Various climate change effects including temperature rise, flooding, extended droughts, excess rains and sea level rise are happening everywhere in the world. But various communities and countries are affected differently depending on the available protection abilities and resources. Africa and Kenya for example is likely to suffer more due to inadequate protection abilities and resources. The other thing that makes African countries such as Kenya to suffer more is their dependency on agriculture including livestock for survival. Agriculture and livestock are easily affected by climatic changes.

·         What are other effects apart from excess rains and sea level rising?


·         Temperature rises

·         Droughts

·         Increased aridity and desertification

·         Are people compensated in any ways if they help reduce green house gas emissions to the atmosphere


·         Existing carbon markets compensate companies and individuals who demonstrate reductions in carbon emission.

·         There is also the clean development mechanisms that finance projects that demonstrate reductions in carbon emissions.


Afternoon session: This session involved break up groups and plenary presentations. Participants split into two groups to discuss the following questions:


a.       What climate change related changes have you noticed in your village in the past 20 years?

b.       What effects are the changes having on your environment and resources and lives?

c.       What are the farmers around you doing?

d.       What should be done to help farmers address the climate change impacts effectively?

e.       If you were to call on your community, government or world leaders to address the problem associated to climate change. What could be your message?


Combined responses as presented by the two groups in a plenary are outlined in table 2 below to avoid repeatitions.


Table 2: Plenary presentations by the two groups

Climate change related observations over the past 20 years

The effects that the changes are having on the environment and lives

What farmers are doing in response to the changes

What should be done to help farmers address the impacts of climate change

The call for the governments and the world to address the problem

·    Reduced rainfall since 1984

·    Increase in temperatures

·    Frequent and severe droughts

·    Increased wind speeds with lots of dust

·    Unpredictable rainfall partners

·    Flash floods (rapid onset floods)

·    Unevenly distributed rainfall



·    Reducing grass and vegetation cover

·    Increased bare ground surface areas

·    Low water tables, water used to be struck at 20-30 feet in 1980s and before, but now water is struck at 80-100 feet in similar locations.

·    Poor harvests and low farm yields

·    Crop failures

·    Increased incidences of crop pests especially grasshoppers and birds

·    Increased incidences of livestock death

·    Loss of livestock herds especially cattle

·    Reduced milk yields

·    Increased soil erosion

·    Loss of soil fertility

·    Increased cases of animal diseases

·    Retarded animal growth and small animals

·    Loss of body conditions in animals

·    Reduced number of animals for sale

·    Reduced sources of water

·    Increase in water salinity both in shallow wells and boreholes

·    Increasing goat populations as compared to cattle herds

·    Lack of forage and food for Wild animals 


Impacts on lives

·   Increase in cases of multi-nutrition among the under 5 year olds

·   Extended and long hunger periods from 3-6 months to 9-12 months or even more.

·   Dependency on food aid/relief food

·   Increase in cases of poor school attendance

·   Increase in school drop outs

·   Increase in cases of child labour

·   Long hours (6-9) spend on fetching water by women

·   Increase in cases of diarrhea and water borne diseases

·    Farmers dig shallow wells, boreholes, earth dams, and earth pans.

·    Water harvesting and soil conservation through terraces, gabions and earth pans.

·    They are changing the farming methods to fruit growers like grafted mangoes, paw paws and vegetables.

·    Planting of trees and grass despite the fact that they still don’t do well.

·    Reducing the number of livestock for easy management.

·    Buying of grass and hay.

·     Relief grass supply dependence.

·    Migration of livestock to forest mountain tops, and game reserves at cut point.

·    Mushrooming f kiosks of kiosks along and market areas.

·    Youth migration to urban areas / rural to rural areas.

·    Mushrooming of religion crusades, local clubs along roads and market places, and buses mostly by youth.

·    People migrating churches to where there’s food contribution to the needy.



·    A forestation to reduce carbon dioxide.

·    Reforestation.

·    Stop charcoal burning.

·    Encourage water harvesting.

·    Practice modern agricultural farming e.g. gabions, terraces drought resistant seeds.

·    Encourage diversification of farm activities.

·    Plant drought resistant crops.

·    Early planting.

·    Encourage tree planting.

·    Knowledge on medicine herbs and medicine like Neem tree.

·    Encourage improved water harvesting methods.

·    Care for livestock.

·    Create awareness polices governing some practices like cut one plant one.



Government level

·    Conserve our environment for both our government or nationwide.

·    Reduce carbon dioxide emissions internationally.

·    Plant trees through projects like “Kazi Kwa Vijana” starting from the community level.

·    Conserve water.

·    Government to sink boreholes and set up irrigation schemes to near natural sources e.g. along river Tana and Usueni (in Kyuso District) by the government of Kenya.

·    Government of Kenya should built a Canal from River Tana across Mumoni, Kyuso  and Tseikuru District,

·    Government of Kenya should identify and assist model farmers with potential to act as implementation


Global level

·    Reduce carbon emission.

·    Come together for capacity building on climate change.

·    Alternative fuel sources.




Participants at the Kyuso meeting display messages for the world leaders



2.2         Mutomo meeting process

Morning session: The morning session started at 10:15 and a process similar to that of Kyuso was repeated with presentation of an overview to climate change (refer 2.1), with participation of 30 community representatives.


Afternoon session: The afternoon session involved group work. The 30 participants were split into two groups to discuss questions to those discussed in Kyuso. Plenary presentations by the two groups were as follows:


Climate related changes noticed

·   Change in rainfall patterns

·   Change in temperature levels

·   Change of wind direction; formerly it used to come from East but now it’s from North.

·   Drop in water table

·   Salinity of waters in rivers, dams and water catchments points


Effects of the changes to the lives of people in this area

·   Poverty

·   Drought and famine

·   Low yields

·   Low levels of education

·   Human and livestock diseases

·   Death of both human and livestock

·   Increase in crime rates

·   High population growth

·   Complete crop failure



The most affected in the community

1.       Women

2.       Children

3.       Aged


What should be done to enable the most affect lead normal lives?

·   Create awareness on copying mechanisms

·   Encourage them to have income generating activities

·   Create awareness on climate changes

·   Create awareness on Environmental conservation

·   Establish more children homes

·   Incorporate school feeding program


What farmers are doing to cope with the Climate change effects?

·   Planting of drought resistant trees

·   Water harvesting in their farms

·   Application of manure and fertilizers

·   Reforestation and a forestation programmes

·   Zero grazing their livestock

·   Engaging in Nature Base Activities


Message to Communities

·   Planting of trees

·   Harvesting of water

·   Planting of drought resistant crops

·    Engaging in income generating activities


Message to the Government

·   Awareness creation through media

·   Incorporating climate change in the curriculum

·   Sensitization and awareness creation through extension services

·   Investing on research on development of drought resistant species


·   Message to world leaders

·   Avail funds for the vulnerable communities

·   Provide cheap technology for the poor to adapt

·    Reduce carbon emissions



After group presentation the workshop come to an end with remarks from Esther Lunghahi, Andrew and Eric Kisiangani





Every member was to give their expectations for the meeting for fulfilment of everyone’s expectation at the end of the meeting.


Ø      Know ways of improving my farming methods during this time of climate change.

Ø      Share information on climate change and resolute ways of solving them.

Ø      Which ways and mechanisms to adapt in order to cope positively with climate change?

Ø      Know different adaptation methods to climate change and how effective they are.

Ø      Know the importance of rainfall.

Ø      Add knowledge on livestock and crop farming.

Ø      Know more about climate change.

Ø      How ALIN can help farmers to find solutions to climate change.

Ø      How we can minimize water shortage in our homes and societies.

Ø      Know more about how I can do away with poorness.

Ø      Know more about the container, computers and way forward.

Ø      What you can do when there’s no rain.

Ø      Why our trees dry leaves and yet drought resistant.

Ø      How can we reduce hotness that is affecting our areas?