REPORT ON GREENPEACE AND ICE EVENT ON FARMER-TO-FARMER DROUGHT RESILIENCE WORK IN YATTA, KENYA

After a journey of about 2 hours, Caroline Kawira, ACP YPN expert on Food Security arrived in Yatta, where she and farmers were welcomed by Iris Maertens of Greenpeace Africa, and Martin Muriuki of the Institute of Culturedand Ecology (ICE). After their opening remarks, we delved into the day’s programs with Mr Isaiah Kamau, Senior Program Officer in Food Security and Livelihoods, taking the farmers through the initial part of the training which focused on agroforestry. He explained agroforestry, its systems (Woodlot, Integrated, Alley and boundary planting), and highlighted certain considerations that they should make when choosing agroforestry varieties to plant. Multi-functional use of the tree was emphasized. He also noted the necessity to farm in a way that is kind to the environment, using natural fertilizers, which are key principles of ICE and Greenpeace.

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The area extension officer Mr. Nzomo concluded the theoretical training by explaining how to create terraces to prevent soil erosion and also to conserve water. He also talked about Zai pits, before underwent practical training on the farm of Mr. Muindi, the host, where they were shown how to make them . After the practical session, they convened for lunch and a recap on the day’s events. The farmers were urged by Greenpeace and ICE to ensure that they put the training into practice for the next planting season and continue to do so in future.

This function was important because the farmers here are gaining and practising a farming system which helps them increase their productivity as well as protect the environment. Higher productivity and a better-kept environment ultimately lead to better health and eventual well-being of the beneficiary members of the community. Yatta is a dry area in Kenya which is increasingly affected by famine, and thus this initiative goes a long way in creating a well-functioning and sustainable local community.

by Caroline Kawira, ACP YPN expert on Food Security

For more information about the work that Greenpeace Africa and ICE are doing, consult the following websites: http://www.greenpeace.org/africa/en/ and http://www.icekenya.org/

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The above photos are credited to Ian Kiplimo from Smart Farmer magazine. Many thanks .

ACP YPN at the European Council post-Cotonou session on Civil Society

On the 28th March 2017, Celine Fabrequette, ACP YPN Programme Manager on EU Relations and SDG5 Expert, spoke on behalf of ACP YPN at a Post-Cotonou discussion with Civil Society organized by the Maltese Council presidency for the ACP Working Party at the European Council. The panel included Geert Laporte, deputy director of the European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM); Lore van Den Putte, associated researcher at the Centre for EU studies at Ghent University; Brenda King, member of the European Economic & Social Committee (EESC) and Ariane Lignier, representative of the European Confederation of Relief and Development NGOs (CONCORD).

The context of the discussion concerns a series of topics already treated in all their elements with the ACP Workers party. The idea is to facilitate exchanges between member states. The objective is to prepare the ground for recommendations on the role of civil society.

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The ACP YPN consultation was released just two weeks ago and so far a total of 55 responses from ACP Youth from 12 ACP countries have been recorded. The consultation will last three months and we shall deliver further results in time for the European Development Days in June. Celine gave the 6 Key preliminary results of ACP YPN’s second consultation on the EU-ACP post-Cotonou Partnership agreements:

  1. Results show a lack of understanding, purpose, and links with youth and knowledge of the EU-ACP Cotonou Agreement. To reverse this, youth representatives must be included as much as possible in the negotiation process, but also now, in the implementation and review process.
  2. Countries where free Education has been put in place show a reduction of illiteracy. Development of exchange programs like Erasmus, and recognition of diplomas between ACP and EU countries, as well as within the ACP countries themselves, will go a long way and act as an important tool to promote exchanges between young people in ACP and EU, for example, why not establish a College of Europe ACP scholarship? With a focus on the new digital economy opportunity to leverage the experience and partnership.
  3. Introduction or reinforcement of the legal framework of Children’s Rights have helped to reduce Violence Against Women (VAW) & Girls. Youth responding in the questionnaire felt like the establishment of legal framework is important as it allows them to be able to reinforce, and be provided better protection of, their rights.
  4. Many examples of national Youth funds were given: the National Empowerment Program in Rwanda; the innovation hub in Botswana; or the Uwezo fund in Kenya, which enables people with disabilities, youth, and women to have access to finance. This shows awareness as well as a higher rate of opportunities and actions put in place by ACP countries; however better communication needs to be put forward so that those new funds or programmes are known to all.
  5. Requests were made for more national data collection on skills shortages in order to help develop and upscale opportunities for sustainable solutions to youth unemployment.
  6. Need for better implementation mechanisms and more youth involvement in the development and implementation of programs – particularly to strengthen accountability and transparency – were frequently mentioned.

Brenda King pointed out that, taking into account the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) agenda, the new agreement is an opportunity to continue to change the global context. This coincides with Geert Laporte’s explanation that a position of monopoly does not lead toward development, but differs in his backing of a Multi-actor type of partnership. He recommended that the EU fund and support innovative initiatives – particularly those of African youth. This was seconded by Ariane Lignier who added that the new agreement should include more opportunities for youth, and that dialogue should be enacted on a regular basis.

As did ACP YPN, all panellists stressed the importance of a regular dialogue with not only the big civil societies but also the local civil societies, suggesting more involvement by the EU delegations. Celine’ concluded by reaffirming that ACP YPN will to continue to engage not only with ACP & EU representatives but also with other Civil Society Organisations in order to consolidate positions and point of convergence.

Here’s the link to ACP YPN consultation – Click to give us your input!

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ACP YPN at the joint clean up in Lake Naivasha (Kenya)

On 25th March 2017, Caroline Kawira, ACP YPN expert on Food Security took part in the joint clean up at public beach and boat launch sites in Lake Naivasha in Naivasha, Nakuru County held by UNESCO Youth Forum Kenya, in collaboration with UNEP, CLEAN-UP Kenya among other organisations. The 5 main sites of collection were Kenyatta Avenue, Nakuru-Nairobi Road, Karagita, Karagita public beach, and Kamere. Over 3 tons of litter – ranging from plastic, glass and paper, to clothes, rubber and electronic waste – were picked at the sites, highlighting the growing problem of marine litter. The purpose of the cleanup was to raise awareness of the increasing threats to freshwater bodies and a call to action to save Lake Naivasha’s ecosystem. This was an initiative held to mark #WorldWaterDay2017.

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The activities involved collection of waste into 4 different bags depending on the type. The 157 volunteers were organized into groups of 5 and then assigned a group leader who used the reference materials given to advise the other members on which bag to put each of type waste into. As a way of motivating massive collection, each group counted how many pieces of waste they collected and the winning group was crowned kings and queens of waste. Mr. Kiogora Murithi, Director of Environment at Nakuru County, was present, and he encouraged more such collaborations in the future involving citizens, civil society, international organizations and other stake holders. In addressing the challenges of waste management in general – and in particular, protection of common heritages such as lakes, rivers and oceans – Mr. Murithi noted that “as a county, we also support the recent ban by the National Government on the use of plastic bags.”

After all the waste was collected, it was taken to Karagita community cooker in Karagita, a slum in Naivasha. It is at this site that they incinerate plastic waste to be used as fuel to feed the cooker that will be used to cook food for the hotel that is under construction. Due to the extremely high incineration temperature, the fumes released are harmless to the environment.

The cooker was made for 3 main purposes: to address sanitation, health and aesthetic issues associated with the growing mounds of rubbish in informal settlements; to provide communities with alternatives to charcoal, firewood and paraffin for cooking meals and boiling water; and to act as a platform from which Community Based Organizations (CBO’s) and institutions can run cost-effective income-generating activities. Right now at Karagita they are renovating the community cooker, and a group of entrepreneurs have been given the mandate to renovate and operate a hotel that will make affordable food, targeting the flower farm workers around the area. They will employ 15 people to operate the cooker and the small hotel associated with it.

by Caroline Kawira, ACP YPN expert on Food Security

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ACP Secretary General speaks to College of Europe youth

On 24th March 2017, ACP Secretary General (SG) Mr. Patrick I. Gomes spoke to College of Europe students about “making ACP-EU relations fit for purpose beyond 2020: obstacles and opportunities”

First of all, Mr. Gomes remarked that one of the principal objectives of the Cotonou Agreement – which has already been revised in 2005 and 2010, and which will expire in 2020 – is to reduce poverty, but the majority of the Least Developed Countries in the world are still ACP countries. He predicted that the negotiations for the new ACP-EU agreement, which will be held in a turbulent and unpredictable context, must pay attention to existing inequalities and try to reach common positions in terms of solidarity in order to be successful. He said that global issues need global responses, using the example of migration, whose root causes must be considered as well as its impact on host societies.

ACP SG Gomes said that the three pillars of the negotiations will be trade, development cooperation, and political dialogue. In terms of trade, ACP countries should foster industrialization in order to become more competitive in the global market. Development cooperation should link technology and resource mobilization to maintain value-creation in ACP countries. Development is not simply giving and receiving aid. Financial resources should be used to engender the economic transformation of a country with the aim of overcoming vulnerability. Finally, political dialogue must be realistic if we want to push good governance forward. This means, among the other things, to tackle common problems without an attitude of moral superiority.

In the opinion of Mr. Gomes, the negotiations should be conducted whilst taking into due consideration the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The first SDG, he pointed out, is to end poverty. But we should not be too prescriptive nor too mechanical, he said. This is the reason why multilateralism is a key factor that EU and ACP counterparts should always respect.

By Emanuele Pallotta

Want to know more about this event? Get in touch with Emanuele:  @emanuelepallot1

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