This project was selected under the Innovation Programme Call for Proposals 2020
In the Korogocho community of Nairobi County, Kenya, the "Future Yetu" (Our Future) project of the Hope Raisers organization, together with the Nairobi County Environment department and support from the Cities Alliance Innovation Programme, is using the power of digital storytelling to help residents better understand, adapt and respond to the detrimental impacts of climate change.
With nearly 200,000 people living in a densely populated area, Korogocho is one of the largest informal settlements in Nairobi. Like many of the poorer urban residents of the Global South, the people of Korogocho are disproportionately vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. These impacts include frequent, low-level disasters that can cause disruptions in food and water supplies, reduced incomes, damaged homes and infrastructure, and diseases.
Compounding the problem in Korogocho is the lack of information and awareness not only about the hazards, but about possible remedial measures the community could take to help mitigate their impacts. Despite its evident effects and consequences, climate change can still seem somewhat remote for many people, especially since it is such an enormous and overwhelmingly complex problem. It can be difficult to even begin to engage in conversations about climate change issues without enough information and knowledge to support a thorough understanding of the situation.
To overcome these issues, Hope Raisers Future Yetu is developing an innovative awareness creation program for outreach to and engagement with the Korogocho community that also seeks to promote dialogue between communities and local government. While many community awareness creation programs are limited to the literate and economically able, Hope Raisers is aimed at reaching members of more vulnerable groups, including young people, the elderly, women, low-income groups, people with disabilities, and culturally and linguistically diverse communities.
A key feature of successful community engagement on issues as complex as climate change is finding ways to overcome difficulties in communicating science concepts.
Hope Raisers is using creative methods – including popular mixed media like comics, music and podcasts – to build understanding in the community, create common goals on climate change adaptation, and motivate people to alter their personal behaviours. As a central component of the project, residents of Korogocho, along with representatives from Nairobi County, learned how to amplify their voices through digital storytelling. Their powerful stories, which are available online, illustrate the effects of climate change in their everyday lives.
The Hope Raisers Future Yetu project also conducted a knowledge attitude practise survey on climate change adaptation for the community. They then initiated a climate adaptation process, which included establishing a core team for the Korogocho Climate Change Adaptation Committee, liaising with Nairobi county environment officers, and identifying vulnerable community members and involving them in climate adaptation awareness processes. This has created an enabling environment between the Korogocho Climate Change Adaptation Committee and key local organizations for developing partnerships, and has positioned digital storytelling as a creative methodology for dialogue between communities and local government.
In implementing the Future Yetu project, Hope Raisers have adopted a two-fold approach to help ensure the sustainability of the project initiatives for the future:
- They developed the edutainment programs that included digital storytelling, but also screening climate change adaptation films, community outreach, and a mobile matatu (minibus) exhibition – which is being used to reach a large number of communities beyond Korogocho.
- They are building relationships within the local Korogocho community on climate change adaptation action, including working to develop a community climate adaptation manifesto – which may be used in the future to inform and inspire the creation of the first Nairobi Climate Adaptation Plan.
Building effective local community involvement in climate change adaptation is an important step that is linked to empowering communities, including marginalized, poor and vulnerable groups, to become more politically engaged through advocating for structural change for a fairer, more accountable, and trustworthy system of governance.