Women spearheading climate change discussions in public participation spaces

Women for a long time have faced various forms of discrimination including exclusion from public participation spaces. Among the causes of the discrimination are cultural values and norms that hold girls subordinate and retrogressive cultural norms that bar women from speaking in public spaces. This had rendered many women not to attend most decision -making spaces including participating in chief barazas to influence decisions. Township ward in Siaya, Alego Usonga Sub-County is among the areas where women ra rely attended chief barazas and if they attended then in low numbers where they would just listen to whatever decisions are made without giving their inputs. They also believed that they were weaker sex and could not say anything in such spaces.
Siaya Muungano Network has been working closely with women in Siaya County through the support of AMwA- VCA project to mobilize women in climate action to take part in influencing decisions that affect their lives including climate change decisions. During group engagements, women are sensitized on the importance of attending chief barazas and mobilized to utilize such spaces to advocate for their inclusion in climate change decision making spaces.
For the first time, women from Nyandiwa widows Self-Help, one of the groups profiled by the organization attended chief baraza in Awelo chief’s camp and got the opportunity to sensitize the public on the issues of climate change and rally for support by the local administration and other public members. Currently, the chief has allowed the women to create awareness on gender and climate issues in such forums. Other women are now attending chief barazas and other public participation spaces in the ward and using their voices to influence decisions.
Discussions on climate change are now gaining momentum and taking the front stage in chief barazas, chiefs have started holding forums where residents are sensitized on strategies to reduce gender inequality and supporting women inclusion. According to the women, they now see transformation as they use the spaces to champion for climate action and call all to collectively support their involvement in combating climate change.