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wPOWER HUB DIRECTOR, WANJIRA MATHAI AND 28 OTHER AUTHORS EXPLAIN WHY WOMEN WILL SAVE THE PLANET

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The environmental NGO Friends of the Earth is bringing out a book with a provocative title: Why Women Will Save the Planet. It is a collection of articles and interviews from 29 leading environmentalists and feminists, meant as a “rallying call” to environmental campaigning groups to no longer neglect women’s empowerment in their work.

Friends of the Earth says, the book shall encourage the environmental and women’s movement to join forces, “because social justice and environmental sustainability are two sides of the same coin”.The book comes out two weeks before the 2015 Global Landscapes Forum on 5-6 December, the biggest event on the sidelines of the UNFCCC COP21 in Paris. One of the authors, Wanjira Mathai of the Green Belt Movement, will be a speaker at the GLF. In the book she writes about women as drivers of forest restoration to combat climate change. At the Global Landscapes Forum, she joins leading African politicians in presenting a program to restore 100 million hectares of degraded and deforested landscapes in Africa by 2030.The book could also be an inspiration for the high-level discussion forum.

DorothywPOWER HUB DIRECTOR, WANJIRA MATHAI AND 28 OTHER AUTHORS EXPLAIN WHY WOMEN WILL SAVE THE PLANET
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AFRICAN NATIONS PLEDGE TO RESTORE FORESTS AT COP21

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LYNSEY CHUTEL
Published: December 6, 2015, 9:30 am(AP) — Tree by tree, more than a dozen African governments pledged to restore the continent’s natural forests at the United Nations climate talks on Sunday.

The earth has lost more than half its forests over the course of human history, according to the World Resources Institute. The deforestation of the world’s tropical forests has contributed to climate change by producing up to 15 percent of global carbon emissions, the organization said.

The AFR100 initiative is a pledge by African nations to restore 100 million hectares (about 386,000 square miles) of forest by 2030, according to the organization.

“As the world forges a climate agreement in Paris, African countries — which bear the least historic responsibility for climate change — are showing leadership with ambitious pledges to restore land,” said Andrew Steer, president and CEO of the World Resources Institute.

Wanjira Mathai, daughter of the late Kenyan Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Wangari Maathai, described the AFR100 forest restoration project as unprecedented.

“I have seen restoration in communities both large and small across Africa, but the promise of a continent-wide movement is truly inspiring,” said Mathai, chairwoman of the Green Belt Movement founded by her mother. “Restoring landscapes will empower and enrich rural communities while providing downstream benefits to those in cities. Everybody wins. ”

During the Global Landscapes Forum at the U.N. climate talks, the World Bank and the German government and other partners, set aside more than $1 billion in development funding and $540 million in private funding for the African reforestation.

More than a dozen African countries, including Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Burundi and Rwanda, have pledged millions of acres to the project. West African nations along the Sahara desert have also pledged to plant more trees to stop the ever encroaching desert from destroying more arable land.

“Restoring our landscapes brings prosperity, security and opportunity,” said Vincent Biruta, Rwanda’s Minister of Natural Resources. “With forest landscape restoration we’ve seen agricultural yields rise and farmers in our rural communities diversify their livelihoods and improve their well-being. Forest landscape restoration is not just an environmental strategy, it is an economic and social development strategy as well.”

Among the pledging countries is Madagascar, where the island forests are home to some of the world’s most unique plants and animals, all under threat from deforestation. Satellite images of the island show forests that have been slashed and burned, according to the World Wildlife Foundation.

To astronauts observing from space, Madagascar seems like an island bleeding into the ocean as its rich red soil, eroded by decades of unregulated logging, runs into the ocean, leaving behind cratered land unfit for farming, according to the foundation.

Some of the countries that are home to the Congo Basin, which conservationists call the earth’s second set of lungs, after the Amazon Basin, have also signed up to the project. The Democratic Republic of Congo has pledged 8 million hectares (20 million acres) to the restoration project.

But these pledges may face challenges from the global timber industry, exacerbated by illegal logging, which is the biggest cause of deforestation, according to environmental protection group Greenpeace. Despite laws to prevent this, it is has never been easier to illegally chop down trees in the Congo Basin, the group said.

Corruption in the Congo Basin region has undermined reforms to the timber industry, especially in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where protected wildlife areas are increasingly disturbed, according to a Greenpeace report published earlier this year.

If this initiative succeeds, it would improve the lives of people living around forests and to the ecosystem as a whole, said Victorine Che Thoener, leader of Greenpeace’s Congo Basin project.

“But many of these African countries make these pledges in the hope that they will receive funding,” said Che Thoener, who is based in Cameroon, one of the Congo Basin countries that have signed the pledge. “There’s a lot of talk, but not a lot of action on the ground.”

Similar conservation efforts have failed because they do not include the right training and tools to monitor the progress, said Che Thoener.

Acknowledging these challenges, the World Research Institute is working on a monitoring project that includes satellite and ground-level observation, said Sean De Witt, director of the organizations global restoration initiative.

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Othaya women trained on using clean solar energy

????????????????????????????????????An official of wPOWER Hub organisation demonstrates how to use a solar lantern at Gatugi trading centre in Othaya, Nyeri County recently. [Photo: Joseph Mukubwa]

BY JOSEPH MUKUBWA · SEPTEMBER 1, 2015

A group of about 50 women in Othaya, Nyeri County have been trained on sustainable clean energy, thanks to a new initiative by wPOWER Hub, Wangari Maathai Institute.

According to Prof Kiama Gitahi, Director Wangari Maathai Institute, while speaking during the three- day training programme on sustainable clean energy entrepreneurship held at Gatugi township recently, the training was meant to empower women on clean energy issues.

Gitahi urged participants to safeguard their environment and strive to unlock their potential as sustainable natural resource managers.

“These series of trainings form part of wPOWER Hub activities towards the Partnership on Women’s Entrepreneurship in Renewable (“wPOWER”) project that was launched by the US State Department in January 2013,” Gitahi said.

The wPOWER Hub focuses on empowering women’s groups by equipping them with the skills and tools they need to bring about community transformation in clean energy, environmental stewardship and livelihood improvement.

Approach

According to Alice Wanjiru, a participant, Kenyans in rural areas are embracing alternative clean energy innovations as the hope of getting electricity fades away due to the high cost.

“Inefficient lighting and cooking contribute to climate change through increased carbon emissions, and the degradation of natural resources such as trees which are cut to provide firewood for cooking while kerosene is used to provide light,” said Wangui who is also a trainer.

The participants were also given an opportunity to buy and sell at a profit the solar lamps and energy cooking jikos.

According to Gitahi, by 2050 one-third of the world’s energy will need to come from solar, wind and other renewable resources, hence renewable need to play a bigger role today more than tomorrow.

wPOWER aims to empower more than 8,000 women clean energy entrepreneurs across East Africa, Nigeria and India who will deliver clean energy access to more than 3.5 million people over the next three years.

wPOWER Hub at the Wangari Maathai Institute is working together with the Green Belt Movement, MacArthur Foundation, Global Alliance for Clean Cook stoves, CARE International, Solar Sister, Women for Women International and the Swayam Shikshan Prayog (SSP) India, to empower women energy entrepreneurs across Africa and Africa.

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wPOWER Hub empowers women in central Kenya,on clean energy issues

Today,forms the beginning of a three day training program on sustainable clean energy entrepreneurship in Othaya,Nyeri County.The training,organised by wPOWER Hub,Wangari Maathai Institute focuses on empowering more than 40 women from various women groups in the county,by equipping them with the skills and tools they need to bring about, as Wangari Maathai hoped, community transformation in clean energy, environmental stewardship and livelihood improvement.

Speaking during the opening ceremony,Prof.Kiama Gitahi,Director Wangari Maathai Institute,urged participants to safeguard their environment and strive to unlock their potential as sustainable natural resource managers.

IMG_2113Prof.Kiama Gitahi,officiates the opening ceremony at the wPOWER Hub Community training in Nyeri

IMG_2160 A participant is marveled after watching the film ‘Taking root the vision of Wangari Maathai’.

Nyeri county is among other counties that the wPOWER Hub will be visiting to train women on clean energy issues.These series of trainings forms part of wPOWER Hub activities towards the Partnership on Women’s Entrepreneurship in Renewables (“wPOWER”) project that was launched by the US State department in January 2013.

wPOWER aims to empower more than 8,000 women clean energy entrepreneurs across East Africa, Nigeria and India who will deliver clean energy access to more than 3.5 million people over the next three years.

 

 

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