Kenya seeks to be a middle income economy by the year 2030 through a blue print called vision 2030 and some of the challenges identified towards realizing this vision include; High Population Growth, and gender, and proposes to: undertake advocacy and public education on the effects of population change on development; and to mainstream government policies, plans, budgets and programmes towards achieving gender equity.
Some NAPAs identified population growth, as one of the impediments to adaptation strategies and proposed family planning as a way of mitigating the impacts, However, there is no clear evidence whether such plans are being funded hence the motivation to investigate the real connections with a particular focus to Kenya
During disasters, some parents find it had to evacuate their younger family members due to their numbers and in extreme cases are forced to surrender them sometimes based on gender.
To lobby climate change policy makers to include reproductive health, population growth and gender issues in climate change adaptation policies, action plans and legislations
To lobby for the international policy making on climate change to incorporate gender dimensions in adaptation strategies and reproductive health issues
To encourage humanitarian, public health, and population services organisations incorporate climate change in their work and with a focus on gender dimensions of climate change impacts and reproductive health
This work was done through analysis, review and synthesis of government reports, plans, strategies and policies focusing on vision 2030, population, reproductive health, disaster, gender and climate change
Several reports and policy brief from various credible agencies were analysed
Keyword searches in world wide web were carried out to get a wide range of available literature
Various Institutional libraries visits were made to obtain literatures
Data was organized per counties to promote thinking among various players in climate change response since the counties will be semi autonomous with regard to the new constitution -they will be making independent critical decisions that will affect response to climate change
IMPACTS OF CLIMATE VARIABILITY AND CLIMATE CHANGE IN KENYA
According to the 2007 environment report, Kenya is vulnerable to the following impacts of climate change:
Sea level rise and coastal erosion
Glacial Meting of Mount Kenya
Increase in temperature causing expansion of ecological niches of some disease vectors like mosquitoes
Extreme events, in particular floods, droughts and landslides among others
RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN POPULATION GROWTH, REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH, GENDER AND ADAPTATION TO CLIMATE CHANGE
It is a multiplying factor to the vulnerabilities that exist in households, communities and regions and also hinders the adaptive capacity too
Eg. the budgetary allocation for a family of 6 to food, housing, education will be larger compared to one of two resulting into either of the following:
Quality or quantity of such services or products will be compromised in a move to take care of every one, delaying escape from poverty exacerbating vulnerability; where both quality and quantity can still be met, resource allocation for development plans is threatened. This goes up to government budgetary allocations e.g. in free primary education.
It is the best remedy to address the consequences of high population growth,
Family planning for example helps in delaying, spacing, and limiting number of children that couples plan to have depending on their preferred family size, and time of child bearing which is also instrumental during evacuation in cases of climate disasters.
Women and men are impacted by climate change differently largely to due to their gender roles, they also tend to respond to climate change differently hence the need to take cognisance of gender in response to climate change
FOCUS ON EXTREME EVENTS IN KENYA (DROUGHTS, FLOODS AND LANDSLIDES)
Floods normally occur in Kenya following heavy rainfall which affects lowlands forcing people living in these areas to move to higher grounds. Slum dwellers in towns who have erected informal structures near rivers also bear brunt of floods.
Flooding is a recurrent phenomenon in Kenya taking toll on infrastructure thereby costing the government millions of Shillings in reconstruction. Each year several people are also reported dead or injured.
According to the report, the following are the most vulnerable counties to landslides:
Murang'a, Kirinyaga, Nyeri, parts of Meru, Kisii, Nyamira and Mombasa island
These are areas with annual rainfall of over 1200mm and steep slope
Fig. 1. Kenya County maps showing vulnerability to extreme events
POPULATION DYNAMICS AND THE EXTREME EVENTS IN KENYA
High population growth has been identified in the ministry of special programmes strategic plan as one of the factors that increase vulnerability to disasters
Kenya's population has been on a steady increase. With a bigger % being those of dependants
Kenya's population according to 2009 population and housing census was 38 610 097 up from around 28.7 million in 1999. The population growth rate stands at around 3% /year which essentially means that every year over 1 million people are born.
From the 2009 census report children ( ages 0 to 14) are representing 42.9 % of the total population
In Kenya, the proportion of women who want to space or limit the number of children constantly on the increase
If these women are able to access better family planning services, coupled with reliable sensitization, then the high fertility rate resulting into higher population growth will be substantially reduced hence easing pressure on natural resources and and also securing manageable households include ease of evacuation events in case of emergencies
Table 1: Trends in total fertility rate, in Kenya 1975-2008 Year Total Fertility Rate 1975-78 8.1 1984-88 6.7 1990-92 5.4 1995-97 4.7 2000-02 4.9 2006-08 4.6
Only 24 % of women understands that a woman is most likely to conceive halfway between her menstrual periods. Almost one-third wrongly believe that the fertile period is right after a woman's period has ended, 11% believe that there is no specific fertile period.
Source of Contraception Percentage distribution of users of modern contraceptive methods by source of method Sou rce Percent Distribution to users Government Facilities 57% Private Medical Sources 36 Other Private sources ( e.g. shops) 6 Community Based Distribution Systems < 1
The policy proposes gender issues to be considered right from the initial stage of response to emergencies but only comes clear in mentioning gender consideration in personnel employment, prevention and Monitoring and reporting gender based violence
Other gender considerations are however, not mentioned
It is only male condoms that have been mentioned
Seek to implement comprehensive reproductive health services
There is still a lot of gaps in promoting gender equality and equity in policies both at national and international level particularly in regard to response to climate change and some of the equally significant areas which could help in enhancing adaptive capacity like sustainable population growth
Policy making at national and international level need to mainstream gender into adaptation plans and also promote sustainable population growth through voluntary family planning
Non state actors also need integrate population growth, and gender into their adaptation plans