Kenyan youth urged to spearhead war on climate change

Young people in Kenya have been challenged to spearhead efforts to tackle the climate change menace which continues to threaten livelihoods especially in the northern parts of the country.

The United States Ambassador to the UN Food Agencies for Food and Agriculture Cindy Hensley McCain said young people should be actively involved in mitigating the effects of climate change through conservation and advocacy.

Climate change is caused by human activities such as deforestation and use of fossil fuels, and besides destroying ecosystems, it also decreases food availability leading to malnutrition and poor health.

“Until the youth are actively involved in combating the challenges, the devastation on the agriculture sector will not end,” Ms McCain said while emphasising on youth and community led initiatives.

Water challenges

During a tour of Isiolo County to assess projects being undertaken by the US government, the envoy called for collaborative efforts to address water challenges in Kenya to rid families in arid and semi-arid regions of the struggle of trekking for many kilometres in search of the commodity.

Ms McCain urged counties to invest heavily in water provision, saying it will encourage residents to venture into agriculture and be food secure.

“There is a need for innovative approaches to water production and management,” she said while reiterating the US government’s commitment to partnering with Kenya to increase availability of water.

The prolonged drought in Kenya’s northern region has resulted in the drying of water sources, forcing residents and pastoralists in far-flung areas to walk for over 10 kilometres on average in search of the commodity.

Depletion of pasture has caused dying and emaciation of thousands of livestock, threatening pastoralism which is the region’s main economic venture.

Reduced milk production by the animals due to lack of pasture has seen the number of malnourished children increase, with majority of the farmers being forced to dispose of the emaciated animals at throwaway prices for fear of them dying.

Food aid needed

An estimated 2.5 million Kenyans are in dire need of food interventions in 23 Asal counties that have been ravaged by the drought.

Noting that women are among those badly hit by drought, Ms McCain encouraged them to plant drought resistant crops to beat the effects of unpredictable rainfall.

“They should plant high-nutrient crops for better nutrition and food security,” she said.

She as speaking at the Isiolo livestock market whose construction was supported by USAid.

School feeding programme

The ambassador, who was accompanied by WFP and Fao officials, cited the Feed the Future school feeding programme as among those being supported by the US government to ensure learners stay in school in order to access education.

She also hailed LMD Kilimani Girls Youth Group of 25 women that saved Sh450,000 in 2021 through the Village Savings and Loaning Association, supported by Livestock Market Systems for uplifting their lives.

“Your story is an inspiration to many on what women are capable of if given some little support,” she told the women at Kilimani Primary School.

Isiolo County Commissioner Geoffrey Omoding asked the women to take advantage of government funds to empower themselves economically.

“The government is committed to empowering women through the Women Enterprise Fund and affirmative funds,” he said.     BY DAILY NATION    

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