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NEWS: Survey reveals the views of ordinary Kenyans on climate change

The majority of Kenyans are already experiencing the catastrophic effects of climate change. A study conducted by the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) at the University of Nairobi and the Green Africa Foundation, asked ordinary Kenyans about their views on climate change.


More than one third of Kenyans think drought in their country is more severe. More than a quarter think the weather has drastically changed and hotter weather has increased. About a third believe there is less rainfall and, when it comes, it comes late. These were the results from a survey that has given Kenya’s mwananchi (Swahili for common person) a voice on climate change.

The study titled Climate change in Kenya – Implications for governance and development, conducted by the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) at the University of Nairobi and the Green Africa Foundation, asked ordinary Kenyans about their views on climate change. The results of the CDKN-funded survey have been released in three sessions, the first at the directed at the media, the second at civil society, and the third at policymakers and public officials. “The purpose of this project was to capture the level of awareness and understanding among the general public on climate change”, said CDKN’s Maggie Kamau.

The dissemination workshops aim to communicate these findings to a range of target groups, including state and non-state actors. “By including the media, we hope to help raise the profile and improve coverage of climate change issues in Kenya.” Conducted by Prof Karuti Kanyinga and Dr. Joshua Kivuva of IDS, the survey aimed to establish climate change perceptions in Kenya and climate change impacts on people’s livelihoods. But the survey also sought to uncover the extent to which Kenyans associate these impacts with changing weather patterns, and the average citizen’s knowledge about what government is doing to respond.

Data for the project was collected using national household surveys (targeting 2,500 households), focus group discussions in selected regions of Kenya and key informant interviews. “Climate change is now an important issue in global politics and the development agenda,” said Prof Kanyinga. “Its importance is rising in tandem with impact on society.” “The issue is also receiving unprecedented attention in Africa’s development agenda. But this attention is less relative to the attention in the global arena and in the West. Policy discussions lack ‘voices from below’ and debates are neither systematic nor coordinated.” Data was collected from national surveys on the same questions, cross-checked over three years – September 2012, December 2012, June 2013, and August 2014.

The national survey covered all regions of the country – both rural and urban. The full survey results will be posted here shortly.

WATCH NOW: A video report from the media event.

READ: The results of a similar research conducted in May 2009 by the BBC world Service Trust’s Research and Learning group, on behalf of the British Council.

For more information visit the CDKN project page.

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