For a long time, women inclusion, and participation in governance and social accountability processes in Siaya has remained minimal. Despite the numerous policies and legal frameworks in place, their contribution in governance and social accountability processes especially regarding climate change response is still limited.

When Siaya Muungano Network started engaging women groups in Siaya on issues of gender and climate justice, they did not understand how the two related nor had they ever participated in any forums to hold their leaders accountable on gender responsive climate change actions and initiatives. For them, that wasn’t possible because they did not even know the channels to follow in articulating their issues.  When Siaya Muungano Network through its community facilitators approached the groups and informed them on their interest in engaging with them on civic education on gender and climate change issues, some resented while others accepted. For those that accepted, the journey began. Through civic education sessions on gender and climate change, feminist advocacy strategies, trainings and capacity building sessions and other forums, the women were capacity built and empowered to use their voices in demanding for gender responsive climate actions by holding their leaders accountable. Through the processes, the women now understand the nexus between gender and climate change and have adopted different advocacy strategies where they actively claim spaces for engagement with duty bearers rather than waiting to be invited and they can collectively use their voice to challenge existing inequalities, champion for their issues and hold their leaders accountable using media and other social accountability processes. This is evident with the increased advocacy initiatives the women are undertaking to articulate their issues to their leaders.

Recently, during a public participation forum on CIDP in South East ward on 16th December 2022, Women group’s representatives mobilized themselves and submitted a women charter on climate change and a memorandum on their proposals for consideration in the Siaya County 2023/2027 CIDP. The Women charter and memorandum was accepted by the CIDP secretariat which committed to look deeply into the issues and align them to the 5-year county development plan document.

“Now we are aware of the channels we can use to voice our issues unlike in the past where we were not bothered yet we are the ones who are more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change,” says Grace Akoth a member of Pendeza Maendeleo women group in South East Ward.