Impact of Community-led Climate Smart Initiatives in Siaya County


The challenge of bridging the intergenerational divide in addressing climate change in Africa is multifaceted, reflecting deep-seated differences in perspectives experiences and access to information across age groups. This divide not only complicates the communication and understanding between generations but also affects the implementation of effective climate change solutions.

Older generations often possess a wealth of indigenous knowledge and experience regarding local environmental management and sustainable practices. However, they may be less familiar with the latest scientific research on climate change or the newest technologies available for adaptation and mitigation. On the other hand, the younger generations are more attuned to global perspectives on climate change and are  equipped with modern education and technological skills. Still, they could lack a deep contextual understanding of their local environments and traditions.

This intergenerational gap has led to a disconnect in how climate change is perceived and how local solutions are devised and implemented. Further, the challenge has been exacerbated by the often-limited platforms for intergenerational dialogue, which are crucial for sharing knowledge, values and strategies for climate action.

Siaya County, located in western Kenya, is actively addressing the intergenerational gap by utilizing a local knowledge hub named Dala Rieko. Derived from the Luo language, meaning "home of knowledge," this initiative serves as a platform where individuals from diverse backgrounds and age groups can convene to discuss societal challenges and propose solutions. Through this inclusive approach, Dala Rieko facilitates the development of locally tailored solutions to various issues including those related to climate change.

Established in 2008 as a Community-Based Organization (CBO), this facility initially began as a platform dedicated to fostering knowledge exchange on various societal challenges. With a primary objective of promoting food security, the hub has evolved over the years to become a vital resource in its community. By embracing an inclusive approach, it seeks to address the multifaceted issues surrounding food security and smart agriculture.

Through a series of meetings conducted at the Centre, the local community delves deeply into exploring suitable fertilizer options and encourages members to utilize water hyacinths by decomposing them to produce organic manure.

Through its efforts to promote the utilization of decomposed water hyacinth and provide training to locals on its application, the Centre has made significant strides in addressing the numerous challenges posed by this invasive plant. The extensive presence of water hyacinths in Lake Victoria has had severe repercussions on aquatic ecosystems, transportation networks, and fishing operations, causing significant economic hardships for communities living in the lake region.

By specifically training local fishermen and farmers on how to effectively utilize this invasive plant, the Centre has empowered these individuals to not only clear the weed voluntarily but also to capitalize on its potential benefits as manure. This proactive approach has led to a noticeable improvement in the cleanliness of the lake while simultaneously fostering the growth of more organic foods.

In addition to providing a platform for discussions and training sessions on smart agriculture, the Centre has empowered farmers through solar hatchery technology, enabling them to produce over 1000 chicks per month. Farmers bring their eggs to Dala Rieko, where they are incubated at an affordable price before the fully grown chickens are sold to outsiders for Ksh500 each. Further, the Centre offers education on indigenous knowledge, teaching locals how to monitor various bird sounds, notably the Rabala Kwasi, which signals the onset of rain and the Ober Rayudhi flower, which blooms as a precursor to the rainy season.

The Siaya County Government has supported the Weceso Pambazoko Community-Based Organization (CBO), comprising 120 members, in various endeavors encompassing agricultural ventures, waste management initiatives, livestock husbandry and pisciculture. Initially established by women advocating for their rights, with a primary focus on promoting family planning to mitigate poverty, the group has evolved to address broader community development needs.

Recognizing the pivotal role of environmental conservation, the County provided the women's group with diverse tree species and training sessions highlighting the significance of preserving natural habitats. Following the success of these educational programs, which saw women actively transmitting their newfound knowledge to their children, further training was conducted. This advanced training equipped the women with strategies to optimize their flat, waterlogged land during rainy seasons. Techniques such as tree planting and integrating trenches into their farming methods were introduced, fostering sustainable land use practices and enhancing agricultural productivity within the community.

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Date of Publication:
14 June, 2024

Nzei Mwende

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