SNV: A one-stop institution for climate resilience building

SNV Kenya Country Director Jeen Kootstra during a tree planting session to commemorate 55 years of SNV's presence in Kenya.

Photo credit: SNV

Building resilience against climate change is an urgent call. In recent years, 96 percent of disaster-related deaths have occurred in developing countries, often caused by extreme weather events.

Climate change continues to undermine all aspects of food security and sustainable development, threatening to erode and reverse gains made in ending hunger and malnutrition. At the same time, food production needs to increase in order to feed Kenya’s growing population.

Government and development organisations providing basic livelihood services are not able to cope with today’s climate variability and stresses alone. The whole economy, including businesses, need to step in.

However, most businesses do not fully understand their exposure to climate change or recognise the growing opportunities in climate action. Changing businesses’ perception and understanding of climate change remains pivotal in transforming food systems through sustainable practices and realisation of climate change adaptation and mitigation.

SNV Netherlands Development Organisation (SNV) works to strengthen capacities and catalyse partnerships among all actors to transform the food, energy, and water systems that enable sustainable and more equitable livelihoods for all.

“SNV is firmly committed to dealing with climate risks by integrating climate services through all the projects it is implementing,” says Jeen Kootstra, Country Director, SNV Kenya.

Climate Financing

The subject of Climate or Green Financing continues to raise a lot of interest and conversations, especially after the COP26 gathering in Glasgow last year. Both terms, however, fall under sustainable finance, which seeks to cover all financing activities that contribute to sustainable development.

The Dutch Fund for Climate and Development (DFCD) enables private sector investment in projects aimed at climate adaptation and mitigation in developing countries by employing the blended finance model. Mitigation aims at reducing the factors that contribute to climate change, such as greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the use of fossils fuels, changing land use, and production of food. Adaptation focuses on improving capacities to be better prepared for unpredictability, slow trends, and responding to climate threats.

“Even though climate adaption is the core mandate of DFCD, it is also looking to address other development challenges such as youth and gender empowerment, application of climate smart agriculture and restoration of ecosystems to protect the environment,” says Tigere Muzenda, the Project Manager for DFCD Africa.

DFCD in Kenya has been collaborating with SokoFresh to help address the issues of reducing postharvest food losses in (Muranga, Meru and Kitui counties), and with Solar Springs (Formerly SWS) for provision of clean water to communities in Kitui County.

DFCD will work to ensure that it connects the long-standing project development expertise of consortium partners with the relevant community projects to ensure climate financing results in sustainable development.

Climate-proofing water systems

Only 11 percent of Kenya’s landmass has water for proper sanitation and hygiene due to the existence of water bodies and adequate annual rainfall, with at least 80 percent of the remaining land categorised as arid or semi-arid. Population growth also compounds the administrative efforts to equitably distribute adequate water services in the dry regions where 38 percent of Kenyans live.

Climate change is affecting the hydrological cycle, further aggravating challenges in performance and functionality of water use systems. This results in unregulated self-supply for domestic, productive, and industrial uses. This is evident in the failures in water governance, which leads to pollution and other water-related risks. 

SNV in Kenya is tackling this interplay of climate change and population growth exacerbating water supply, by climate-proofing water infrastructure in the arid and semi-arid lands (ASAL) in Kilifi, Kitui, Baringo, Samburu, Taita-Taveta, Kajiado, Mandera and West Pokot. With funding from the European Union, SNV is structuring Public Private Community Partnerships that engage domestic private sector entities in multi-stakeholder management of rural water systems.

Building resilience of ASAL communities

Climate-related hazards are a serious threat to Kenya’s development, especially in the ASALs where agriculture and particularly pastoralism is predominantly reliant on rainfall, making it highly vulnerable to climate change. The recurrence and intensity of droughts has increased in Kenya, now recurring almost annually. This has contributed to reduced production in agriculture and livestock.

In the Northern Frontier, SNV implements the Laikipia, Isiolo, Samburu Transforming Environment through Nexus (LISTEN) project; working with the counties to ensure climate change adaptation through the nexus approach by building resilience for enhanced food, nutrition, and water security. SNV continues to work closely with the county government to ensure policies focusing on climate change, grazing and rangeland management are developed for communities to adapt to climate variability and change.

A farmer in Machakos uses a solar-powered pump to water his crops.

Photo credit: SNV

The project supports Water Resources Users’ Associations (WRUAs) to enhance their capacity to manage climate change-induced water-related conflicts and other climate change mitigation measures in their catchment areas. This has improved the capacity of water resource management in the Ewaso Nyiro river basin.

Demonstration plots on drought-resistant crop value chains have been set up to promote innovations, good agricultural practices, and efficient water management technologies. The demonstration plots also provide a learning platform for the communities for increased production and income.

In the Southern rangelands, SNV implements the Integrated and Climate Smart Innovations for Agro-pastoralist Economies and Landscapes (ICSIAPL) project. The initiative seeks to improve the livelihoods of agro-pastoralist communities through improved forage production, climate-resilient landscape management, and enhanced commercialisation of climate-smart innovations for the livestock sector in Taita Taveta, Kajiado, and Narok counties.

An important strategy adopted by the project is to apply forage research to fast-track innovations by supporting the private sector to adopt and facilitate the building of more resilient and market-based solutions for improved forage production and livestock husbandry by agro-pastoralists and other livestock keepers, commercial forage producers, ranches, and conservancies.

By the end of the project, the resilience of 10,000 agro-pastoralists and SMEs against climate shocks will have increased.

More information about SNV’s climate action in Kenya is available in this downloadable PDF.

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