In June 2018, Il’laramatak Community Concerns Founder and Executive Director Agnes Leina and Program Manager Isaac Tobiko spoke with us about their aims to help women and girls in Kajiado County, Kenya be more resilient to climate change.
CJRF: What’s your mission?
Agnes Leina: To respond to human rights concerns for pastoralist communities, especially women and girls.
CJRF: What does the CJRF funding enable you to do?
Agnes Leina: This project is going to build the capacity of climate change stakeholders in Kajiado, integrate the issues of climate change into County Integrated Development Plans, and do community dialogue forums so that the community is aware of climate change and what it has done to them. We have done this in the past, and through community dialogues the issues come from them and they own the activities.
CJRF: What is unique about your project?
Agnes Leina: There is one county that has a policy on climate change in the whole country, which tells you we are behind as a country on issues of climate change. We think we will be the second county to have a policy on climate change. That’s very unique. Also, the fact that we would like women to participate. Usually women are the ones who are affected most by climate change, yet they are the ones who contributed nothing to it and they are not there in the decision making.
CJRF: What does success look like for this project?
Agnes Leina: Community dialogue is very important to us, especially for women. At the end of the project, women and men in the whole county will have climate smart activities: farms or small gardens that are actually climate sensitive. Another success is a whole policy that is gender sensitive and will guide the whole county on climate change activities. The county will actually budget for activities that are climate smart.
CJRF: What is your organization really excited about right now?
Agnes Leina: In the last two days, we have placed a policy on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) to the county, which will be discussed at the next county assembly. We are very excited that [the policy] will be passed. Because that [policy] will be passed, we are excited and looking forward to policy on climate change being passed.
CJRF: What does climate justice mean to your organization?
Agnes Leina: We have lots of extractive industries in Kenya. Climate justice means ‘what is the compensation that people are given to acquire the land in which the projects were done.’ To me, that is a rights-based approach toward climate change. In most cases, there is no compensation, no access to justice, no environmental impact assessment done. All that is a violation of the human rights of the people we are working with.
Isaac Tobiko: This project really gives the people voice so they can articulate the things that are affecting them. They can be heard at the county and the national level so that injustices that are happening can be addressed.
CJRF: What do you love about the location where you’ll do this work?
Isaac Tobiko: If you look at the communities that we will be working in, they have been at the forefront (especially the women and girls) facing climate change challenges. Our communities listen to us because they believe that what we tell them is going to have an impact on their lives. On this journey, we are going to work with them so that we have smart initiatives to stop the effects of climate change.
Agnes Leina: We have the political good will from the county. Our governor is very supportive and aware of climate change. We will be the second county that will have a climate policy in place. It is where we have worked, where we are known, where we have [succeeded] in the past, and where we have had good reception because it is where we come from.
Interviews have been edited for clarity and length. Photos provided by ICC.