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Adaptive and Inclusive Watershed Management: Assessing policy and institutional support in Kenya

Climate change is negatively affecting Kenya’s water systems. The degradation of wetlands, changing rainfall patterns, increased severity of drought and floods have serious implications for food security and human health.

In Kenya, women are the main collectors of water for household needs and are extensively engaged in the agriculture sector which is the most intensive user of freshwater resources through irrigation. Although women interact with water on a daily basis, they tend to contribute less than men to decision making in water resource management. Moreover, women are denied equal access to land, technology, credit, and other critical resources essential to cope with the adverse impacts of climate change.

Public policies can challenge socially constructed gender stereotypes and empower women in many sectors, including in the water sector. Through its legislative framework, Kenya has made positive steps towards helping women to be well represented in decision-making structures, formulated requirements for government budgets to support women’s empowerment and made some progress in establishing gender-sensitive monitoring systems. Gender equality is also being considered in relation to climate change through various government mainstreaming efforts.

This research is the result of a desk review of policies and institutions and interviews with stakeholders and experts in Kenya working on issues of water resources management, gender and climate change. These include the Ministry of Water, the National Gender and Equality Commission and the University of Nairobi.

See our similar analysis on Uganda.