The Horn of Africa is being hit by the worst drought in four decades, putting up to 20 million people at risk of famine, according to the UN. Consecutive seasons of below-average rains are severely impacting food security in areas already beset by multiple other challenges. By now it should be more than obvious that we must speed up our efforts to combat one of the prime causes of the impending famine: climate change.

But Hivos believes that the climate crisis is more than a purely environmental issue; it is also a political, social and ethical issue. One where locally-led climate solutions can be instrumental in creating the transformational changes necessary to turn the tide.

In keeping with this, we would like to highlight three initiatives in Kenya that aim to raise awareness about how to combat the climate crisis with practical solutions. They are having a visible and positive impact on both the landscape and social interaction in local communities

Planting mangroves by the sea

Joyce Koech, co-founder of the Blue Earth organization, explains in the video above how her organization is combatting climate change by planting mangroves near Mombasa. Started in March 2020, the Blue Earth Organization has grown into an effective youth-led environmental organization. Indigenous communities and youth are at the heart of all their work.

Mangroves create a coastal defense system that absorbs even more carbon than a rain forest and is essential for maintaining biodiversity. This initiative is also raising awareness amongst the youth and mobilizing people to take matters into their own hands and join the global climate movement.

Miti tree nursery in Nyeri County

Michael Waiyaki is the founder and CEO of the Miti Alliance, a registered social enterprise in Nyeri County, Kenya. Besides aiming to plant five million trees by 2025, their work is focused on educating the current and next generation of conservationists. The Miti Schools Program gives school children the knowledge, skills and understanding needed to tackle climate change issues. It also has a special focus on planting and nurturing fruit and indigenous trees, and teaches activists about the role indigenous species, soil and water play in combating the climate crisis.

In the video above, Joan Njoki Kinyanjui, the Miti Alliance project officer in charge of the tree planting program in Kajiado, Nairobi, and Kiambu, explains her mission. As an environmentalist, she is teaching young people, including as many girls as possible, to become the new stewards of the greening of Kenya.

Greening drylands in Magadi

Mana Omar is the founder of Spring of the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (SASAL) in Magadi, Kenya. SASAL is a non-governmental organization that works with pastoral communities  to build climate resilience in these dry areas. They have developed several programs to raise awareness and share knowledge on climate change mitigation and adaptation. In addition, they plant and nurture trees, help restore the soil and attract rainfall, and maintain biodiversity to fight climate change.