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Indigenous Women Climate Defenders

Kenya

Friendships contain the seeds of peace in dangerous times. Learn more about the story of Hellen and Sylvia, two Indigenous women in Kenya, and the transformative friendship they’ve forged, with your help.

In Kenya, Indigenous Peoples are on the frontlines of climate change.

They face frequent, severe droughts that kill the crops and animal herds that communities depend on for survival. Women and girls are tasked with the heavy burden of securing water for their families. To make ends meet, many parents still pull their daughters out of school and marry them off for a dowry. 

Kenyan Women Carrying Water

Solution

MADRE partners with the Indigenous Information Network (IIN). With your support, we advance grassroots women's solutions to climate change and support communities hardest hit, but least responsible, for climate change. And we demand just climate action from the US, historically the world’s largest carbon emitter, and from international policymakers.

Partner for Social Change
  • We give women easy access to clean water. By installing water wells, we lessen the burden on women and girls responsible for hauling water. With our local partners, we also teach women to harvest and conserve rainwater.
  • We support a tree nursery that provides natural protection for water sources. When trees are cut down, erosion can contaminate water sources. Our tree nursery protects clean water, helps reforest the land and protects biodiversity. 
  • We partner with local activists who speak out for the rights of women and girls. Our partners speak out to say, "our daughters should have an education"— and teach members of their local communities about human rights. People listen, and more families are encouraged to keep their girls in school instead of marrying them off. 
Advocate for Human Rights
  • We lead human rights trainings with grassroots women. We build women’s understandings of national politics and international human rights as solutions to local problems. And we hone their skills to step forward as leaders. With our support, women are mobilizing to present their demands for better climate policies. 
  • We raise our voices in international climate negotiations. We are demanding that the US and other powerful nations build a climate change agenda that puts women’s expertise at the center, a vital step to create climate policies that will protect us all.
Paulina standing in front of crops

“When I started my home, I started with empty hands, with nothing. But now, I have a farm, I have food, and all my girls are in school. I’m proud of my children. And I am proud of my hands that work hard to make something.” - Paulina, West Pokot, Kenya

Christine cooking over a jiko stove

Christine from West Pokot shows off her new energy-efficient jiko stove, provided with MADRE support! It’s an updated Indigenous design that uses 80% less wood.

Selina leading a dance in Kenya

“We’re fighting for justice in communities suffering from climate catastrophes, and it is time for Indigenous women to be at the forefront of climate policymaking."

Surviving the Impacts of Climate Change Together
  • Mothers have the peace of mind to know their family's water is clean and safe, and children don't die from dirty drinking water.
  • Women and girls have time to earn income, go to school and be leaders in their communities—instead of searching for and hauling water.
  • Communities survive climate disaster, thanks to shared knowledge and the grassroots solutions created by women. 

 

Your Support in Action

Thanks to your support, MADRE continues to help Indigenous women farmers in Kenya adapt to climate change. Where we work in Kenya, women face persistent drought that threatens their families' survival. But with you by our side, we're bringing tools and training that help women combat the impacts of climate change and raise healthy families.

Press and Publications

Partner

The Indigenous Information Network (IIN) is a women-led organization that connects Indigenous Peoples, sustains their communities and strengthens their demands for human rights.

Issue

Climate change is a global crisis that threatens the survival of humanity. While it affects us all, poor and rural women are hardest hit by food shortages, droughts, floods and disease linked to climate change. But they are more than victims.