Kenya's progress and performance on environment and climate change actions are blurred by failure to communicate.
Indeed, something is totally wrong on Kenya's climate change communication strategy. There are errors.
In 2010, when the National Climate Change Action Plan (2013 -2017) was launched, we were introduced to mindboggling terminologies and acronyms.
Popular ones includes: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Kenya Climate Change Action Plan NCCAP), Kenya Climate Change Working Group (KCCWG), Kenya Climate Fund (KCF), Kenya Environment Information Network (KEIN).
There were more others: Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMA), National Environmental Action Plan (NEAP), National Adaptation Plan (NAP), Community-based Adaptation (CBA), Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), National Low Carbon Climate Resilient Pathway, among others.
We also have a galaxy of institutions led by the Ministry of Environment and National Resources, National Environment Management Authority, The National Environment Council (NEC), Climate Change Directorate (CCD), Climate Change Relevant Repository (CCRDR), Climate Change Unit (CCU), National Drought Management Authority (NDMA), Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN), among others.
Clearly, it will get more confusing if we dig deeper into the climate change business.
But, as citizens we have obligations to monitor and put our leaders and state officers on check.
Researchers at Earth Institute, Columbia University found that about 40 percent of adults worldwide have never heard of climate change.
“This rises to more than 65 percent in some developing countries, like Egypt, Bangladesh and India. (Kenya is about 55 percent). There is still a critical need for basic climate literacy in many countries,” said Anthony Leiserowitz, who lead the study.
“This study strongly suggests that we need to develop tailored climate change communication strategies for individual countries, and even for areas within the same country,” Lee said.
Citizen participation on climate change
Kenya is highly depended on climate change sensitive sectors such as agriculture, tourism and energy.
We have no doubt that, Kenya is ahead of her peers on climate change matters. But we can do more.
We need facts, assessments and progress reports on what climate change means for farmers in Busia, hawkers in Nairobi, herders in Samburu, Hoteliers in Kilifi, and business in Narok.
We need this information presented interactively on mobile phones, print and digital devices.
Communicators must refocus their messages to help individuals and communities connect with this issue of climate change at a personal level .
We need to invest more to improve Kenya's climate change communication strategy. We need to enhance climate literacy and public understanding of climate change. This is essential for public engagement and support for climate interventions.
Submitted by: Elizaphan Ogechi
Nguzo Africa offers Information and Communication Technology (ICT) services including content management, publishing and website development. We work with governments, ministries and development institutions to communicate and connect with citizens.