i. Climate change context
Located in East Africa, Kenya is a Unitary State run by the national government and divided into 47 county governments. Kenya is geographically diverse, covering a total land area of 582,646 km2, and has a population of 52 million people. Kenya’s coastline of approximately 261 km long borders the Indian Ocean in the eastern part of the country. According to the World Bank, Kenya’s varied geographic formations, such as low and high mountain areas, hills, plateaus, and highlands, influence how the country is reacting to climate change. The World Bank classifies 58% of Kenya as semi-arid and generally vulnerable to climate change, mainly drought and floods.
According to the Global Carbon Atlas, Kenya is a low-emitting country with emissions of 0.3 t CO2 per person in 2020. The Nationally Determined Contributions (2020) states that agriculture is the leading contributor to emissions at 40%; then land use, land-use change, and forestry at 38%; and transportation at 18%.
Kenya is a Non-Annex I country within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Kenya ratified the Kyoto Protocol in 2005 and the Paris Climate Agreement in 2016, and accepted the Doha Amendment in 2013.
ii. Relevant government agencies
The Ministry of Environment and Forestry is the lead agency coordinating climate change activities. Climate change response is a shared responsibility between the national government and county governments. The Ministry of Environment and Forestry is the National Action for Climate Empowerment (ACE) Focal Point.
Under the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, the Directorate of Climate Change is the lead government agency on national climate change communication and education actions and plans. The Directorate is also responsible for coordinating and providing guidance, leadership, and vision on all climate change matters in Kenya.
The National Environmental Management Authority is a semi-autonomous government agency in the Ministry of Environment and Forestry and is responsible for monitoring and enforcing compliance with climate change interventions. The Authority advises the government of Kenya on climate change and environment legislative measures. The Authority is responsible for implementing the UNFCCC’s climate change adaptation fund, which finances adaptation projects and programs in Kenya. The Authority is also responsible for coordinating environmental management activities undertaken by lead agencies. It publishes guidelines relating to environmental management and monitors compliance to ensure that lead agencies adhere to early warnings and issues emergency orders. These orders are enforced under the Environment and Land Court Act (2011) which hears and determines the disputes relating to climate change and environmental protection and planning (Section 13(2)(b)).
The Ministry of Energy is another critical ministry involved in climate change communication and education. This Ministry is responsible for integrating climate change into policies on energy, energy efficiency, and conservation.
The Ministry of Transport, Infrastructure, Housing, Urban Development and Public Works has a Transport and Climate Change Department that is responsible for reducing emissions in the transportation sector for climate adaptation and social and economic development.
The Kenya Meteorological Department is responsible for providing climate change information in Kenya. The Department’s climate Data Management Services Division is exclusively responsible for forecasting weather and climate and for early warning services to the public. This Division manages the climate data map rooms to provide accurate climate change data to the public and other users, such as those delivering climate information services to their clients.
The Ministry of Agriculture has been involved in climate change through climate change-related programs to build climate resilience in communities. For instance, the Ministry runs the Kenya climate-smart agriculture project in targeted smallholder agriculture and pastoral lands.
Kenya’s National Drought Management Authority is responsible for establishing mechanisms to contain drought, avoid emergencies, and mitigate climate change effects. The Authority coordinates actions and management efforts to reduce risk of disaster in 23 counties that are classified as arid and semi-arid lands. The Authority also provides annual progress reports to the National Climate Council on climate change adaptation and resilience in arid and semi-arid lands.
Kenya’s Green Economy Strategy and Implementation Plan 2016–2030 will guide the national and county governments, the private sector, civil society, and other actors to adopt development pathways with higher green growth, a cleaner environment, and higher productivity relative to the business-as-usual growth scenario.
According to the National Climate Change Action Plan 2018–2022 (2018), county governments are responsible for integrating and mainstreaming climate change actions into their 2018–2022 County Integrated Development Plans, designating a County Executive Committee member to coordinate climate change affairs, and reporting annually to the County Assemblies on the implementation of climate change actions. County governments are expected to establish climate change units that will oversee the implementation of climate actions.
Kenya’s county governments have vital roles in climate change communication and education. The Ministry of Devolution and Arid and Semi-Arid Lands supports the county governments in policy formulation, natural disaster risk management, and intergovernmental relations. For climate change communication and education, the counties are responsible for mainstreaming and enacting climate change actions and interventions into their contexts, as mandated under section 19 no.11 of the Climate Change Act (2016). Different national government ministries, departments, and agencies have responsibilities to 1) mainstream at the national level and 2) establish Climate Change Units.
Education and communication
The Ministry of Education is responsible for education at all levels: primary, secondary, tertiary, technical vocational education and training, and some professional programs (through cultural and social experiences) in Kenya. The Ministry is also involved in climate change communication and education and, jointly with the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, in 2020 drafted a set of policy guidelines for mainstreaming climate change in education at all levels of education and training. The Ministry of Education implements these guidelines in coordination with the Kenyan Institute of Curriculum Development and the Commission for University Education to design curricula.
The Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development is responsible for assisting in integrating climate change into study disciplines and learning subjects of the national education curricula at all levels, in coordination with the Ministry of Environment and Forestry and the Ministry of Education. The Institute also advises public agencies that regulate universities and tertiary institutions on integrating climate change curricula into study subjects.
The Ministry of Environment and Forestry is involved in climate change communication and education through the Directorate of Environmental Education and Awareness. The Directorate is responsible for implementing the National Environmental Education and Awareness Initiative, which has climate change as a significant component. The Directorate of Environmental Education and Awareness and the Directorate of Climate Change also work closely with the Ministry of Education to mainstream climate change into study curricula for formal and informal education and training.
The Climate Change Act (2016) also requires academia to be represented on the National Climate Change Council, nominated by the Commission of University Education.
iii. Relevant laws, policies, and plans
Kenya’s Constitution enshrines environmental and climate change regimes. Article 69(1)(b) of the Constitution (2010) mandates the state to “protect and enhance the intellectual property in, and indigenous knowledge of, biodiversity and the genetic resources of the communities” (p. 35). Kenya’s first framework of environmental law was the Environmental Management and Co-ordination Act (1999). The Act’s definition of ‘environment’ includes the physical factors of the surroundings of human beings, including climate.
In 2016, Kenya enacted a climate-specific law known as the Climate Change Act (2016). This Climate Change Act is national legislation that provides an enhanced response to climate change and provides mechanisms and measures to achieve low-carbon, climate-resilient development. This Act designated the Directorate of Climate Change as the lead government agency within the Ministry of Environment and Forestry to coordinate all climate change plans and actions. The Government of Kenya, led by the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, worked with stakeholders from civil society, the private sector, and national and county governments to develop this climate change legislation. The Act adopts a mainstreaming approach that integrates climate change considerations into all sectors and County Integrated Development Plans.
In accordance with the Climate Change Act (2016), Section 25, Kenya has developed a National Policy on Climate Finance (2016). The Act mandates the Directorate of Climate Change and the Cabinet Secretary of the National Treasury to “optimize the country’s opportunities to mobilize climate finance” (p. 11). This Policy aims to assist Kenya’s efforts in achieving low-carbon, climate-resilient development goals by providing guidance on climate finance flows, tracking climate finance, and engaging with the private sector and county governments on climate change.
Kenya’s 2008–2030 national development program, Vision 2030, includes the Third Medium Term Plan 2018–2022. This Plan mainstreams climate change into development planning, decisions, and implementation in all national and county sectors per the Climate Change Act (2016) and Sustainable Development Goal 13 of the Paris Agreement. The Plan aims to promote low-carbon climate development and climate-proof investments against climate change and related shocks, to minimize adverse impacts on the environment.
The National Climate Change Response Strategy (2010) and Climate Change Framework Policy (2016) identify energy-efficient innovations and technologies to respond to the impacts of climate change and the creation of green jobs. The Green Growth Strategic Implementation Plan 2016–2030 provides for sustainable production and consumption patterns and lifestyles and a circular economy. That Plan also focuses on promoting resource efficiency as a strategy to identify ways in which resource usage can be optimized, minimizing costs and impacts.
The National Climate Change Framework Policy (2016) requires the government to mainstream climate change in primary, secondary, and tertiary level education curricula. Mainstreaming climate change knowledge into the primary education curriculum will provide knowledge and awareness at all levels.
According to the National Policy on Climate Finance (2016), the National Treasury will set up an office dedicated to climate finance. The Treasury will coordinate and facilitate activities related to climate finance, including the climate finance mechanism (Climate Change Fund) and the Inter-Ministerial Climate Finance Technical Advisory Committee. The National Treasury is Kenya’s National Delegated Authority for the Green Climate Fund. The enabling legislative and policy frameworks were detailed in Kenya’s updated Nationally Determined Contributions (2020). The National Policy on Climate Finance (2016) recommends that research institutions and universities play a key role in research education, capacity building, and establishing centers of excellence on clean technologies, climate financing, and emissions trading. The Policy recommends that government provide training in areas related to climate finance, particularly for matters related to fiduciary management and environmental and social safeguards.
The Green Economy Strategy and Implementation Plan 2016–2030 recommends mounting public awareness campaigns to ensure that the broadest possible audience is reached, incorporating both traditional and new media and including the use of social media platforms to promote a transition to a green economy. This Plan also recommends the exchange of knowledge and information among different stakeholders.
The Climate-Smart Agriculture Strategy (2017) aims to assist Kenya in transforming its agricultural systems to become more productive and resilient to climate change and to minimize greenhouse gas emissions.
The National Climate Change Action Plan 2018–2022 (2018) builds on the first Action Plan (2013–2017), sets out actions to implement the Climate Change Act (2016), and provides a framework for Kenya to deliver on its Nationally Determined Contributions (2020) to the Paris Agreement. The first Action Plan identified 38 priority actions, including 9 mitigation actions and 29 enabling actions in climate finance, knowledge management, capacity development, policy and regulatory framework, and performance measurement. As of May 2018, 7 actions were completed, 23 actions were in progress, and many were carried into the Action Plan for 2018–2022. Kenya formulated the National Climate Change Action Plan 2018–2022 (2018) to assist the country in reducing greenhouse emissions and adapting to climate change. This Action Plan was drafted in response to the Climate Change Act (2016) No. 11 (Section 9(1)), which mandates the national and county governments to develop action plans and mainstream them into their strategic areas. The Action Plan also provides for capacity development and knowledge management on climate change, which requires establishing centers for community and business climate change information in two counties and integrating climate change into Kenya’s education system. The Act requires the Cabinet Secretary to review the Action Plan every 5 years.
In addition, Kenya has developed a National Climate Change Response Strategy (2010), National Adaptation Plan 2015–2030, Kenya Climate-Smart Agriculture Strategy 2017–2026, Climate Risk Management Framework (2017), and National Policy on Climate Finance (2016), among other sector plans and policies that address aspects of climate change. At the local level, Garissa, Makueni, and Wajir Counties have enacted climate change fund regulations that allocate a portion of their development budgets to support local climate change actions.
The National Adaptation Plan 2015–2030 was developed to operationalize the National Climate Change Action Plan 2018–2022 (2018) to achieve Kenya’s adaptation goals and coordinate climate change efforts. The Adaptation Plan provides a detailed assessment of Kenya’s vulnerability to climate change and climate-induced hazards to inform key adaptation actions. It offers steps to mainstream climate change adaptation in formal, informal, and non-formal education and training. Kenya’s National Adaptation Plan 2015–2030 recommends that the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development advise the National Climate Change Council to integrate climate change into disciplines and subjects of the national education curricula at all levels, and advise public agencies responsible for regulating curricula for universities and tertiary institutions on integrating climate change into their curricula. The Adaptation Plan also suggests that climate change adaptation be mainstreamed in formal, non-formal, and informal education and training.
The East African Community Secretariat developed a Climate Change Policy and Strategy (2011) to guide partner states and other stakeholders to prepare and implement collective measures to address climate change in the region. The Policy prescribes statements and actions to guide adaptation and mitigation to reduce the region’s vulnerability, enhance adaptive capacity, and build socioeconomic resilience of vulnerable populations and ecosystems. The East African Community is developing a climate change bill and a forest policy and strategy, and exploring an alliance on carbon markets and climate finance. One thematic pillars of action for the African Union is to enhance research, awareness, advocacy, and education on climate change.
Education and communication
Kenya’s Education for Sustainable Development Policy (2017) includes climate change as a significant component. This Policy aims to integrate critical issues into Kenya’s learning and education system and curricula, including climate change, biodiversity, and sustainable production and consumption.
Kenya’s National Education Sector Strategic Plan (2018) emphasizes integrating climate change in all learning institutions and creating awareness of conservation and sustainability. However, the National Curriculum Framework for Basic Education (2017) does not reference climate change education; it focuses on equipping pupils with skills and knowledge to conserve the environment.
Kenya’s Third Medium Term Plan of Vision 2030 provides opportunities to mainstream climate actions into development planning, decision making, and implementation in all sectors of the economy at national and county levels to ensure sustainable development. This promotes low-carbon, climate-resilient development. It ensures that investments are climate-proofed against climate change-related shocks and that development does not adversely impact the environment. Additionally, climate change mitigation actions will facilitate achievement of the Big Four pillars of the Vision 2030, especially those relating to food and nutrition security and health.
The Basic Education Act (2013) states that the Cabinet Secretary, with guidance from the National Education Board, should advise the government on promotion of environmental protection education for sustainable development.
The Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Environment and Forestry have developed Implementation guidelines (2020) for mainstreaming climate change in study curricula for pre-primary, primary, and secondary levels. These guidelines assist curriculum developers to “develop curricula on climate change and the related concept like the green economy’ (p. 8) and to contextualize “learning experiences that capture current and emerging issues in the area of climate change and low carbon development” (p. 8). Organizations involved in implementation are the Directorate of Climate Change and the Directorate of Environmental Education & Awareness within the Ministry of Environment and Forestry and the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development, Technical Vocational Educational Training, and Tertiary Institutions (Commission for University Education and Universities) within the Ministry of Education. However, according to the draft National Climate Change Learning Strategy 2021–2031, stakeholders have not validated these guidelines (p. 22).
The Public Participation and Access to Climate Change Information Regulations (2021) were developed as part of the Climate Change Act. They provide information on how Kenya aims to support climate change information and public participation.
The development of Kenya’s National Climate Change Learning Strategy 2021–2031 has been participatory, taking a multi-stakeholder cross-sectoral approach. The process was led by the Directorate of Climate Change under the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, in partnership with the UN Climate Change Learning Partnership (UN CC:Learn), the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) Kenya, the Kenya Climate Change Working Group, and the Ministry of Education. A project management team guided the strategy development process, led by the Directorate of Climate Change and with representation from the project partners. A National Technical Task Team was appointed to provide technical guidance and support throughout the strategy development process, including establishing timelines and deliverables and ensuring an elaborate and inclusive learning strategy. The draft National Climate Change Learning Strategy 2021–2031 provides a systematic, country-driven, coordinated approach to climate change learning. The Strategy fosters multi-stakeholder, cross-sectoral collaboration to support learning needs and capacity development priorities and strengthen national institutions. The goal is to deliver climate change learning as part of a broader, sustainable way to enhance an empowered human resource base to address climate change.
iv. Terminology used for Climate Change Education and Communication
Several terms refer to climate change communication and education in Kenya’s climate policies, laws, strategies, and plans. These include ‘climate change education,’ ‘education for sustainable development,’ ‘public awareness,’ and ‘capacity building.’ For instance, Kenya’s 2nd National Communication (2015) uses terms such as climate change education, training, and public awareness to encompass all initiatives and activities relating to Kenya’s climate change communication and education. We found these terms in use but did not find definitions in the documents.
The National Policy on Climate Finance (2016) refers to climate change as “Changes in global or regional climate patterns, including changes in temperature, wind patterns, and rainfall. In particular, climate change refers to a change apparent from the mid to late 20th century onwards and attributed largely to human activities that increase greenhouse gas emissions, especially atmospheric carbon dioxide produced by fossil fuels. Climate change is sometimes referred to as global warming, specifically the long-term trend of a rising average global temperature.”
The draft National Climate Change Learning Strategy 2021–2031 states that “Education, training, public awareness and capacity development are highlighted as critical enablers in climate change response actions and realization of a low-carbon emission resilient development pathway for Kenya” (p. 38).
The term ‘education for sustainable development’ in Kenya is understood to include aspects of climate change communication and education in some of the country’s education materials. According to Kenya’s Education for Sustainable Development Policy (2017), education for sustainable development is understood as “holistic and transformational education that addresses learning content and outcomes, pedagogy and the learning environment to achieve societal transformation” (p. xi). The Policy further states that education for sustainable development “incorporates key sustainable development issues such as – climate change, disaster risk reduction, gender equality, biodiversity, poverty reduction, and sustainable consumption – into teaching and learning” (p. xi).
v. Budget for climate change education and communication
According to the National Policy on Climate Finance (2016), the National Treasury is the primary custodian for all matters of climate finance and is responsible for overall implementation of the Policy. The World Bank (2019) provided funding for climate adaptation activities from 2021 through 2026 in line with Kenya’s Third Medium Term Plan 2018–2022. Out of the US$ 300 million grant, US$ 20 million was reserved for building climate change capacity and knowledge sharing activities. The funding proposal for the Plan indicates that money will be used to fund activities and local climate change initiatives, strengthening county government capacity to run programs and improve the ability of communities to plan, implement, and monitor investments resilient to climate change. According to the Strategy, the budget needs are to be covered with international and national support. Nationally, the Strategy will rely on the National Climate Change Fund, which will allocate funding for priority mitigation and adaptation initiatives. Other resources will come from Semi-Autonomous Government Agencies, which are crucial entities in the Kenyan climate finance landscape. They are responsible for budget implementation and are the de facto implementers of several climate-related projects. Other national resources will be mobilized from programs such as the Financing Locally Led Climate Action Program, which seeks to strengthen the capacity of national and county level institutions and stakeholders to accelerate climate financing at a local level. National resources will also be mobilized from the Green Climate Fund-supported Towards Ending Drought Emergencies: Ecosystem-based Adaptation project in Kenya’s arid and semi-arid rangelands, which is based on collective learning, knowledge generation, and dissemination at community, county, and national levels. The Strategy will also mobilize resources from the 47 County Climate Change Funds. to support locally identified priority adaptation actions and community-level capacity building
In 2019, the Green Climate Fund provided Kenya’s Ministry of Agriculture with US$ 320,000 for improving public access to climate information and knowledge of climate risk management through the Makueni County Climate Resilience and Food Security Project. An additional US$ 4.44 million was provided to strengthen institutional capacity for climate change by training extension officers and other technical officers and creating an inter-county platform for sharing climate change knowledge.
In 2020, Kenya distributed about US$ 300,000 of the Green Climate Fund Grant to the North Rift Valley Region for public climate change education and awareness and for strengthening resilience of county governments to climate change through training and development.
The 2nd Volume of the National Climate Change Adaptation Plan (2018) allocated almost US$ 39 million to the Directorate of Climate Change for 2018–2022. The Directorate is the national knowledge and information center responsible for collating, verifying, and disseminating climate change information in Kenya. This budget does not indicate the percentage explicitly allocated for climate change communication and education activities.
The National Environmental Management Authority is Kenya’s implementing entity for the National Adaptation Fund Program’s annual US$ 9.1 million of funding, established under the Kyoto Protocol framework of the UNFCCC. Among activities relating to climate change communication and education, this fund finances setting up of a knowledge management system for the Program, developing institutional capacity, and raising awareness on climate change adaptation.
A report by the Deloitte Consulting firm (2021) shows that Kenya’s national budget for the 2021/2022 fiscal year allocated US$ 98 million to finance enhancement of drought resilience and sustainable livelihoods. Under the education budget, US$ 89 million was allocated to the competency-based curriculum, US$ 98 million to enhance the quality of technical vocational education, and US$ 516 million to improve the quality of secondary education projects. However, no specific amounts were allocated for climate change communication and education activities.
The National Climate Change Action Plan 2018–2022 (2018) indicates that counties such as Garissa, Makueni, and Wajir have passed climate change fund regulations to allocate a part of their development budgets to finance local climate change actions.
i. Climate change in pre-primary, primary, and secondary education
Climate change education is currently not included in most of Kenya’s primary and secondary education curricula. For instance, the revised National Curriculum Policy (2019) and the Competency-Based Education and Training Policy Framework (2018) do not mention climate change or focus on climate change as a significant issue. Further, the Basic Education Curriculum Framework (2017) does not mention climate change. Yet, several laws, policies, and strategies aim for the systematic inclusion of climate change in Kenya’s schools.
At the national level, the National Climate Change Response Strategy (2010) noted the primary concern in Kenya as inadequate climate change information, knowledge, and data for researchers, planners, and policy makers. The Strategy recommended a review of curricula to integrate climate change into Kenya’s education system. The concern identified in the Strategy informed development of the education section in the National Climate Change Action Plan 2013–2017 for integrating climate change into the education system.
Kenya’s Constitution (2010) mandates the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development, the Ministry of Education, and other education sector stakeholders to mainstream climate change in formal education at all levels, in non-formal education and training programs, and in informal education. Section 21 No. 11 of Kenya’s Climate Change Act (2016) decrees the integration of climate change into the education curriculum in Kenya. Sections (1) and (2) of the Act state that:
(1) The Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development shall, on advice of the Council, integrate climate change into various disciplines and subjects of the national education curricula at all levels. (p. 16)
(2) The Council shall advise the public agencies responsible for regulating universities and tertiary institutions curricula on integration of climate change into their curricula. (p. 17)
The National Climate Change Action Plan 2013–2017 recommended revising existing curricula in learning institutions to include content to address climate change. That Action Plan suggested that: developers of the primary school curriculum make a conscious effort to introduce climate change and its impact into the primary school subject matter by integrating it into all subjects to the extent possible. The Action Plan also suggested integrating climate change in secondary education by introducing content that makes learners aware of the need to develop climate adaptation and mitigation capacities for Kenya. Courses touching on specific areas, such as clean energy alternatives and reduction of deforestation, should then be introduced incrementally at the secondary school level.
The Climate Change Act (2016) directs the mainstreaming of climate change into education under Section 21(1). It mandates the Kenyan Institute of Curriculum Development to work with other partners, including the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, and the National Climate Change Council, to integrate climate change into “various disciplines and subjects of the national education curricula at all levels” (p. 16).
The National Climate Change Action Plan 2018–2022 (2018) responded to the Climate Change Act (2016) to implement a capacity development and knowledge management plan, including mainstreaming climate change into the education system. At the pre-primary to secondary levels, climate change education is reflected in the Sessional Paper No. 5 (2016) on National Climate Change Framework Policy asking the government to “mainstream climate change in basic, secondary and tertiary level education curricula” (p. 23). Among the enabling actions of the National Climate Change Action Plan 2018–2022 (2018), item C10 is to “Integrate climate change in the education system“ (p. 28). In particular, the Plan emphasizes integration in existing curricula for lower secondary grades 7, 8, and 9.
Following the Presidential Directive to the Ministry of Environment and Forestry and the Ministry of Education (Presidential Directive Ref No. Op/Cab 33 26/1/3a, 24th May 2018) to integrate climate change into the education curriculum at all levels, the Ministry of Environment and Forestry is spearheading this process in collaboration with the Ministry of Education. Their comprehensive approach has brought together all agencies mandated to develop and regulate education curricula in all levels of education in Kenya.
Kenya’s Education for Sustainable Development Policy (2017) states that learners are provided with materials containing climate change information, such as newsletters, posters, brochures, and factsheets. According to the Policy, education activities related to climate change at the pre-primary to secondary levels are non-formal activities of student clubs such as wildlife, young farmers, and environment clubs. The Policy calls for reorienting educational approaches such as curriculum and content, pedagogy, and assessments by integrating sustainability issues. The Kenya National Education Sector Strategic Plan 2018–2022 calls for climate change to be incorporated at all education levels, including pre-primary, primary, and secondary school levels, and for awareness campaigns to be conducted for all learners and school communities.
Despite all of those efforts, climate change is not sufficiently mainstreamed in Kenya at pre-primary, primary, and secondary levels, as indicated in the needs assessment report for primary and secondary schools (2016) by the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development. The same gap is acknowledged in the draft National Climate Change Learning Strategy 2021–2031. The needs assessment report suggests that 96.65% of teachers, headteachers and principals support climate change aspects emphasized in the school teaching curriculum. According to the draft National Climate Change Learning Strategy 2021–2031, integrating climate change education into disciplines and subjects of the national education curricula at all levels is a priority to be realized in the short term (1 to 2 years). This priority action will be led by the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development in cooperation with partners including the Ministry of Education, the Teachers Service Commission, the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, the Kenya National Examination Council, and the Commission for University Education.
The National Climate Change Learning Strategy 2021–2031 sets climate change as a non-examinable topic or area, to mitigate the risk of increasing teachers’ workload. The climate change learning materials will be interactive, sustained, and customized to teachers’, facilitators’, and learners’ needs. The Strategy assess the risk of unwillingness of teachers and facilitators to learn about climate change as a medium risk. To meet that risk, the Strategy will: 1) mobilize and profile teachers and facilitators, 2) make climate change learning part of teachers’ and facilitators’ professional learning and development, and 3) introduce creative and innovative ways of climate change learning. Specific to education, the strategic objective of the National Climate Change Learning Strategy 2021–2031 is “To enhance climate change knowledge interpretation and its applications among learners, teachers, trainers and facilitators by 2030” (p. 11). To achieve that, the Strategy lists as priority actions: 1) integrate climate change into curricula at all levels of education and training, 2) enhance the capacities of teachers and facilitators to teach and assess climate change at all levels of education and training, 3) develop appropriate supporting supplementary teaching and learning climate change materials for all levels of education and training, 4) leverage non-formal and informal education to promote climate change learning, and 5) link research, innovation, and academic/research institutions and industry to climate change policy processes for knowledge and evidence generation and provide a scientific basis for promoting climate change learning. For public awareness, the Strategy highlights priorities that include the work of non-state actors: 1) enhance the Kenya Climate Innovation Centre as a one-stop-shop for climate change information relevant to Kenya, 2) set up and operationalize one Community Education, Business and Information Centre, and 3) build continuous capacity of media on reporting and raising awareness of climate change.
An analysis of Kenya’s primary grade six social studies curriculum shows students are taught and assessed on climate change. For instance, students learn how climate change impacts human activities. A description of the types of climate change-related keywords discussed in the curricula may be found in the MECCE Project Monitoring section of this profile.
The secondary school curriculum includes climate change in the geography syllabus. Students learn how to distinguish between weather and climate, explain the factors influencing climate, and discuss the causes and effects of climate change on the physical and human environment.
Another valuable resource for learning about climate change from pre-primary to secondary levels in Kenya is UNESCO’s Associated Schools Project Network (ASPNet). This project focuses on climate change education. It is a significant learning source for pre-primary, primary, and secondary schools in Kenya and has designed study Guidelines for teaching climate change in all subject areas. The Network’s transformative model introduces climate change issues and concerns into the classroom to prepare children and youth to address these challenges. The project intends to achieve this preparation of children and youth by mainstreaming climate change from teaching methodology and content to green school facilities management, governance, and community engagement. For instance, in Agriculture, learners study how to design and maintain a school garden and compost. In Visual Arts and Performing, they learn how to interview local farmers to understand how climate change affects farmers. In Biology, students learn how climate change affects the spread of diseases such as malaria.
ii. Climate change in teacher training and teaching resources
Kenya’s education sector is increasingly attending to the need to integrate climate change into training resources for teachers and other educators. The National Education Sector Strategic Plan 2018–2022 focuses on building the capacity of education managers and other stakeholders in how to integrate climate change into all learning institutions.
The Education for Sustainable Development Policy (2017) indicates that Kenya attaches a high value to educators and trainers of education for sustainable development as powerful agents of change. As a result, the Kenyan education sector has increased its budget to strengthen capacity development activities on climate change-related programs. Materials with climate change information such as newsletters, posters, brochures, and factsheets are produced and distributed to teachers.
The Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development’s Needs Assessment Report for Tertiary Education (2016) found that the principals and lecturers of teacher training colleges surveyed affirmed 100% and 95.2%, respectively, that climate change is included in the content of teacher education curriculum.
The UNESCO Associated Schools Project Network (ASPNet) in Kenya has helped teacher training institutions to integrate climate change in teacher training and teaching resources. The project worked with five teacher training colleges to develop the capacity of teachers and principals to participate in innovative teaching and participative learning on climate change. The teacher training institutions work with the Network’s national coordinators to adapt the resources for teacher training and teaching to include climate change aspects.
The draft National Climate Change Learning Strategy 2021–2031 details training initiatives that have taken place (p. 34). It recognizes that the number of knowledgeable teachers, trainers, and lecturers in climate change is limited The second priority for education is to enhance the capacities of teachers and facilitators to teach and assess climate change at all levels of education and training. The third priority is to develop appropriate supporting supplementary teaching and learning materials on climate change for all levels of education and training. The Teacher Service Commission will lead work for the second priority, with an expected output of capacity built for 100,000 teachers and facilitators as ‘trainers of trainers’ on climate change. Work for the third priority will be led by the Kenya Institute for Curricula Development (p. 52). The expected output will be to develop appropriate supplementary teaching and learning materials for all levels of education and training.
iii. Climate change in higher education
According to the draft National Climate Change Learning Strategy 2021–2031, “At tertiary and [Technical Vocational Education and Training] (TVET) level, very few institutions offer climate change courses. Additionally, there is a shortage of human capacity to teach or facilitate climate change and staff in national and county governments have limited knowledge and understanding on climate change impacts and the appropriate response. Appropriate training and supplementary materials have not been developed to augment the teaching and facilitation of climate change.” (p. 21).
Kenya’s Climate Change Act (2016) directs universities and tertiary institutions to incorporate climate change into their curricula, assisted by the agencies responsible and with the Climate Change Council advising.
Kenya’s Education for Sustainable Development Policy (2017) states that sustainability issues are being implemented across higher education curricula and integrated into institution-wide approaches and policies. An example is the Kenya Green University Network, launched in 2016 by the National Environmental Management Authority and the Commission for University Education. This network of over 70 higher education institutions in Kenya aims to incorporate environmental and climate resilience strategies into their curricula. The Policy notes five critical areas for this Network: “performance contracting, green campus, green curriculum, community engagement, and student engagement” (p. 6).
The vision for Kenya’s National Climate Change Learning Strategy 2021–2031 is to have: “A citizenry equipped with relevant knowledge and skills provided by national education and training institutions to drive Kenya’s economy to a low-emissions, carbon resilient development pathway in a sustainable manner” (p. 43). The priority actions are capacity building, public awareness, gender, and youth engagement. These actions will address capacity and skills gaps and learning needs to strengthen individual and institutional capacities within the six priority sectors: education, environment, energy, agriculture, water sanitation, and irrigation, and three cross-cutting themes: capacity building, public awareness, gender, and youth engagement.
The Sessional Paper No. 5 of 2016 on the National Climate Change Framework Policy states that “Universities and other tertiary educational institutions provide the ideal context for scholarly research aligned to support climate change interventions beneficial to the public and private sectors.” (p. 21). Kenya’s 2nd National Communication (2015) indicates that 27.3% of university curricula address climate change-related issues. For instance, the University of Nairobi offers postgraduate courses at the master’s and doctoral levels in climate change and adaptation. Through research and coursework, these programs offer students knowledge of climate change resilience to help people develop survival and adaptation systems. At the undergraduate level, Bachelor of Science in Dryland Economics and Agro-Ecosystem Management programs give students skills to strengthen food security and resilience for communities living in semi-arid areas for coping with environmental change. Kenya Methodist University offers a bachelor’s degree in Agriculture that provides students with an orientation to climate change in the agro-climatology course module. The University of Eldoret offers several sustainability-related programs, in short courses and certificate and diploma programs. These include a certificate in Education for Sustainable Development, a diploma and certificate in Sustainable Agriculture, a diploma in Environmental Disaster Preparedness and Risk Management, and a diploma in Arid and Semi-Arid Lands Management.
iv. Climate change in training and adult learning
In Kenya, multiple institutions conduct training on climate change, both formal and non-formal, for communities and professionals. Kenya’s National Education Sector Strategic Plan 2018–2022 emphasizes integrating climate change in all learning institutions. The Plan emphasizes the greening of TVET by incorporating climate change and renewable technologies, and by researching greening technologies. In addition, Kenya’s Technical and Vocational Education and Training Authority Strategic Plan (2018) includes climate change and environmental challenges. It suggests that TVET institutions address these emerging issues in teaching to inculcate green TVET values and attitudes in training programs. The TVET Strategic Plan also recommends that TVET develop and mainstream e-waste education in curricula.
The Ministry of Environment and Forestry launched a climate change training project responding to the Climate Change Act (2016). The training curriculum uses case studies, field excursions, and practical learning approaches to train middle-level managers and other technical people involved in policy formulation, planning, and implementation in sectors vulnerable to climate change. The Ministry implements the training program in collaboration with the Kenya School of Government and the Council of Governors.
The Ministry of Agriculture runs the Kenya Climate-Smart Agriculture Project in targeted smallholder agriculture and pastoral lands. Kenyan communities vulnerable to climate change learn climate-smart knowledge and skills through project sub-components such as upscaling climate-smart agricultural practices and strengthening climate-smart agriculture research and seed systems. Through the Project, the Ministry of Agriculture supports vulnerable communities to engage in climate-smart initiatives such as agroforestry, provides drought-resistant seeds and livestock, and encourages local innovations through intensive research on climate-smart agriculture.
UNESCO’s Associated Schools Project Network (ASPNet) has also helped promote climate change education in Kenya’s higher education. This project has worked with 12 vocational and technical institutions in Kenya to mainstream climate change into facilities, teaching approaches, and governance of the institutions. The Network also provides opportunities for collaborations among member institutions worldwide on climate change issues, to exchange expertise and good practices, and builds the capacity of students and institutions to participate in innovative learning and teaching practices. However, Kenya’s 2nd National Communication (2015) indicates that only 0.45% of the tertiary and vocational education and training curricula and 0.46% of other tertiary institutions’ curricula are directly or indirectly related to climate change.
Private, non-governmental organizations are also involved in providing climate change training. For instance, the In-Depth Research Institute provides a structured 5-day climate change adaptation training course, Climate Change Adaptation in a Changing Environment. This course is designed for mid-career professionals from universities, non-governmental organizations, and research institutions who are working on climate change-related issues in developing countries.
The Kenya Adult Learners’ Association Centre for Adult and Continuing Education provides learners with information about simple agriculture and technology to solve community needs. It indicates climate change as one of its areas of focus for its adult literacy training programs. This missing link to climate change is highlighted in the Ministry of Environment and Forestry draft guidelines for climate change in adult education in Kenya. The guidelines, developed in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, provide a roadmap for integrating climate change in education at all levels of Kenya’s education system.
In 2015, the Kenya School of Government partnered with the Ministry of Environment and Forestry through support from the USAID/UNDP-funded Low Emission and Climate Resilient Development Project to develop a curriculum on climate change policy, planning, and budgeting. This culminated in inaugural training in 2017 for 27 middle-level managers and technical cadre officers, drawn from the national and county governments, to equip them with knowledge, skills, and attitudes to mainstream climate change into national and sub-national policy, planning, and budgetary processes. This further led to training of 378 county government officers through support from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, the National Drought Management Authority, and 63 Members of County Assemblies through support from CARE Kenya , plus training of 15 Ministry of Transport officers through support from the German Organization for International Cooperation (GIZ). The successful rollout of the training led to a Kenya School of Government Council policy decision to establish a Strategic Centre for Environmental Governance and Climate Change, to strategically scale up training on climate change in the public sector. In collaboration with other partners, the Centre has already developed four curricula on climate change: Community-Based Climate Change Management, County Climate Change Financing Mechanism, Climate Change Policy Formulation and Implementation, and Green Growth and Circular Economy. The Kenya School of Government has already trained over 100 public officers, including its staff, on these four courses through partnerships with Danish International Development Agency DANIDA, the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, and the National Treasury.
i. Climate change and public awareness
According to Kenya’s Education for Sustainable Development Policy (2017), efforts are underway to enhance public understanding and awareness of climate change. The Policy states that the education sector collaborates with the private sector and civil society organizations to raise public awareness and understanding of sustainable development, using diverse media. Some of the materials used to raise awareness of climate change are newsletters, posters, brochures, and factsheets. Other non-formal education institutions with climate change learning initiatives that are critical in raising climate change awareness, especially among Kenya’s youth, are national parks, environmental education centers, and museums.
The Sessional Paper No. 5 (2016) of the National Climate Change Framework Policy states that the government will “Incorporate climate change knowledge into government implemented public awareness initiatives including civic education and extension programmes; Collaborate with, and support, private sector and civil society in incorporating climate change knowledge into advocacy and public awareness raising programmes; Strengthen the capacity and ensure sufficient resourcing of institutions engaged in climate change public awareness.’’(p. 24).
A study in Kenya’s pastoral communities by Korir (2019) found that although most people recognize the impact of climate change, they have unscientific beliefs about it and thus continue to expose themselves to its effects. Korir (2019) states that 84% of people recognize the causes and effects of climate change, but 37% of those people think it is a punishment from the gods and ancestral spirits for public offenses. A World Bank report (2016) on climate information service providers in Kenya states that public barazas (face-to-face public community gatherings) are popular mediums for creating awareness for community groups to learn about their vulnerability and measures to adapt to climate change.
Kenya’s Climate Change Act (2016) states in Section 24(1) that public entities at each level of government shall, at all times when developing strategies, laws, and policies relating to climate change, undertake public awareness and conduct public consultations.
In 2017, the Kenyan State Department of Transport, in partnership with the German Organization for International Cooperation (GIZ), hosted climate change training under the Advancing Transport Climate Strategies (TraCS) project. Participants were Kenyan sectors such as the Ministry of Transport, Infrastructure, Housing, and Urban Development, Kenya Railways and the Kenya Airports Authority and the National Transport and Safety Authority. They gained deeper insights on climate change issues such as the relationship between climate change and transport, and greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution.
Public awareness is also prioritized in the draft National Climate Change Learning Strategy 2021–2031. The Strategy details some initiatives set up to foster it, such as the Kenya Climate Change Art and Essay Competition (2018): the Nairobi County Edition released by the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, the Ministry of Education, and the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development; the Climate Change Sensitization for National Assembly and Senate Environmental Committees organized by the Ministry of Environment and Forestry; the Kenya Renewable Energy Association, the Faith-Based Climate Change Education for Sustainable Development, the Kenya Organization for Environmental Education, the Climate-Smart Agriculture Campus Forum, and the Climate Smart Agriculture Youth Network.
The draft National Climate Change Learning Strategy 2021–2031 suggests that the rationale for selecting public awareness is that it is one of the six areas of Action for Climate Empowerment (ACE) under the UNFCCC. Enhancing public awareness, community engagement, and stakeholder involvement can occur by strengthening existing structures through disruptive communication on climate change. Outreach to stakeholders and engaging with vulnerable groups including women, youth, children, persons with disabilities, and marginalized communities empowers members of society to engage in climate action. The support policy is the climate change Public Participation and Access to Climate Change Information Regulations (2021).
The project entitled Strengthen Human Resources and Skills to Advance Kenya’s Nationally Determined Contributions (2020) and National Adaptation Plan 2015–2030 aimed to enhance education, training, and public awareness of climate change by strengthening knowledge and capacities in public and private sectors through education and training institutions. As part of the project, Kenya’s National Climate Change Learning Strategy 2021–2031 was developed to strengthen existing processes and take a more strategic approach to climate change learning. Enhancing the capacity of individuals, institutions, and systems will boost collective climate action.
Kenya’s 2nd National Communication (2015) indicates the government’s commitment to increase public awareness of climate change through the country’s Third Medium Term Plan 2018–2022 of Vision 2030. This Plan includes efforts to 1) strengthen the Directorate of Climate Change and operationalize climate change units in ministries, counties, departments, and agencies; 2) formulate and implement national gender- and intergenerational-responsive public education and awareness on climate change; 3) mainstream climate change actions into the national and county governments’ policies and plans; and 4) operationalize the National Climate Change Resource Centre.
Kenya’s 2nd National Communication (2015) indicates that the country-wide awareness of climate change issues and their impact on Kenya is still low. The report identified other challenges of public awareness on climate change in Kenya, including the unavailability of formally documented climate information in counties and limited involvement of the mass media.
ii. Climate change and public access to information
The public in Kenya has access to climate change information through multiple channels and initiatives. For instance, the public can access climate information through the Kenya Climate change Knowledge Portal, a web repository for climate change information managed by the Kenyan Meteorological Department. The Department’s Climate Data Management Services Division manages the climate data map rooms to ensure availability and access to climate data for the Kenyan public and other users. However, the portal has not been updated with climate change news or blogs since 2019.
The National Climate Change Action Plan 2018–2022 (2018) indicates that the Government of Kenya has made considerable progress in improving public access to climate information for some of the poorest communities, such as Turkan, Mandera, and Marsabit, as one way to build climate resilience. The Plan shows that the private sector providers of climate information services have contributed to public access to climate information by providing technologies facilitated by smartphone applications. The Plan outlines expected output by the end of 2023, anticipating that recipients of climate information who use this information to make decisions in risk management will increase from 1 to 2 million.
In Kenya, public access to climate change information is through ways such as extension services, radios, short message service (SMS), and websites. The World Bank (2016) indicates that multiple agencies have supported Kenya’s public access to climate information services. According to the World Bank, climate information services provided to the Kenyan public are short-term weather forecasts and long-term information about new seeds and technologies to help farmers manage climate risk. Organizations involved in access to climate information services are international (14%), research and academia (17%), non-governmental and community-based (21%), government agencies (21%), and the private sector (27%). These, according to the World Bank, provide weather information and climate early warning systems to all Kenyan counties, with 83% of climate information services providers focusing on the agricultural sector of rural farmers and communities vulnerable to climate change effects. Communities in Kenya access climate change information through newspapers (used by 52% of the climate information services providers), radios (41%), SMS (34%), websites (21%), and interactive voice response systems (10%). The public also accesses climate information through intermediaries between scientists or service providers and farmers. According to the World Bank, this is the most effective model of disseminating climate information.
Kenya’s 2nd National Communication (2015) recognizes efforts by the Kenyan government to strengthen institutional capacity for understanding of public climate information but suggests that gaps in information communication need to be addressed.
iii. Climate change and public participation
Public Participation and Access to Climate Change Information Regulations (2021) set precise regulations for public access to information, procedures, criteria, and responsible authorities. In particular, the Regulations document highlights that “1) Citizens of Kenya have the constitutional right to access information reasonably held by the State or any other entity, which directly or indirectly affects them; 2) In ensuring proper access to information in a public participation process, the Responsible Authority shall be guided by the following principles: a) The responsible authority shall ensure that relevant, current and accurate climate change information is made available to the public in a reasonably expeditious, simple and accessible manner. b) The Responsible Authority shall ensure that the required information is made available to the public for free if possible; or that copies of such information are made available at a reasonable cost considering the medium used.”
The public in Kenyan engages in climate change initiatives, programs, and consultations as mandated by the Constitution. Article 69(d) of the Constitution (2010) states that the State shall “encourage public participation in the management, protection, and conservation of the environment” (p. 24).
The Kenya Climate Change Act (2016) directs that Kenyan government entities ensure public consultation and participation in climate change matters. In line with this Act, the Kenyan government conducts public consultations with stakeholders when developing strategies, policies, and laws relating to climate change. The Climate Action Tracker (2020) report on climate governance in Kenya states that the Ministry of Environment and Forestry consulted over 1000 stakeholders representing women’s groups, minority groups, civil society organizations, and national and county governments during development of the National Climate Change Action Plan 2018–2022 (2018).
The Kenyan public also participates in climate change-related activities through community meetings organized by development partners, including local and international non-governmental organizations and research organizations providing climate-related services to farming communities. The World Bank Technical Assistance Report (2016) on Kenya indicates that Embu County in Kenya, for example, instituted a consultative approach for public and private sectors to ensure that accurate information is shared with farmers. The report indicates that 63 farming institutions were represented and consulted through meetings and workshops on climate change information services. A community of smallholders was also involved in a participatory process to assess institutional capacity, community needs, and readiness to try different climate adaptation farming strategies.
i. Country monitoring
Article 69 of the Constitution states that the State shall “establish systems of environmental impact assessment, environmental audit, and monitoring of the environment.”
The Climate Change Act (2016) states that public departments and national agencies are required to report annually to the Climate Change Council on performance and progress on assigned duties. The Cabinet Secretary must also report twice a year to Parliament on the status of implementation of international and national obligations to respond to climate change and progress towards attaining low-carbon, climate-resilient development.
Kenya’s Education for Sustainable Development Policy (2017) indicates that the Ministry of Education monitors and evaluates the Policy implementation through a large-scale assessment of learning and national outcomes on the extent to which the policy outcomes are realized. Teachers carry out formative assessments to assess the impact of learning methods.
Kenya has developed other tools for monitoring climate change, although information on their use for monitoring climate change communication or education is not provided. The Online Integrated Monitoring, Reporting, and Verification tool monitors and reports on climate change in Kenya. This tool in Kenya monitors and reports on four key components: national greenhouse gas inventory, mitigation and adaptation actions, climate finance flows, and Sustainable Development Goals.
Kenya has established the National Integrated Monitoring and Evaluation System to monitor climate change across sectors. A system used in conjunction at the county level is the County Integrated Monitoring And Evaluation System. Counties use the county system to capture data on climate change activities and projects, and this information is later transferred to the national system. Kenya developed and operationalized the national system to monitor financing of government ministries, departments, and agencies. This system has been enhanced in the 5-year medium-term plans for implementation of Kenya’s National Development Plan (Vision 2030). Climate change is a significant component. Output from the national system is used to inform national development planning and dialogue among the government, development partners, and the private sector.
Kenya’s National Treasury uses the Integrated Financial Management and Information System to track climate expenditure by the national government ministries and departments on climate change. The National Treasury states that this System ensures transparent use of national resources through increased visibility of government transactions and reduces loopholes for fraud.
According to the County Integrated Monitoring And Evaluation System guidelines, Kenya intends to make the National Integrated Monitoring and Evaluation System into an electronic platform for collecting, analyzing, and publishing data in the country. This platform is designed to increase data and information access, dissemination, and utilization in research, monitoring, and evaluation strategy. It will have a component for supporting operationalization of an electronic system to enhance county reporting.
The International Organisation for Immigration assessed Kenya’s migration, environment, and climate change to assess the environment–migration nexus. Their report provides evidence of a relationship between the environment, climate change, and migration and those Kenyan policies do not offer a coherent framework to address this issue.
The National Climate Change Learning Strategy 2021–2031 lists several indicators in the priority areas of education, public awareness, and access to information.
ii. MECCE Project Monitoring
The Monitoring and Evaluation of Climate Communication and Education (MECCE) project analyzed Kenya’s Curriculum for Basic Education (2017) and Kenya’s National Climate Change Learning Strategy 2021–2031 as well as National Education Sector Strategic Plan 2018–2022 for references to ‘climate change,’ ‘environment,’ ‘sustainability,’ and ‘biodiversity.’
Kenya’s Curriculum Basic Education (2017) referenced ‘environment’ 28 times and ‘sustainability’ 15 times and ‘climate change’ once. It did not mention ‘biodiversity’.
National Education Sector Strategic Plan 2018–2022 references ‘climate change’ 5 times, ‘environment’ 9 times, ‘sustainability’ 31 times, and ‘biodiversity’ once.
This section will be updated as the MECCE Project develops.