The Kenya Climate Justice Women Champions (AlertNet)

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Small farmers take the stage to sway climate justice debate

By Megan Rowling

LONDON (AlertNet) – In northern Kenya’s impoverished and drought-prone Turkana region, a group called Kenya Climate Justice Women Champions is encouraging local women to grow hardy, nutritious crops like amaranth, sorghum and cassava, to improve their own health and that of their children. The vitamins and minerals from these foods means mothers are less likely to die in childbirth and can better breastfeed their babies. The micronutrients help kids avoid growing up stunted and give them the energy to attend school.

The nationwide network decided to act after seeing too many women without the strength to give birth, too many infants undernourished because they didn’t get enough milk and too few children in school because they were hungry. Coordinator Cecilia Kibe can’t forget one baby who carried on suckling at her dead mother’s breast. “It is as pathetic as that,” she told a major conference on hunger, nutrition and climate justice in Dublin this week.

Her group promotes local women who are actively tackling these issues in their communities as “champions” at county level and beyond, so they can influence responses to climate change. “When a woman suggests something, it should be taken up, because (she) would like to see that child she carried grow to be where she is and even beyond,” said Kibe.



Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.