First Lady Rachel Ruto calls for inclusion of women in climate action initiatives

First Lady Rachel Ruto calls for inclusion of women in climate action initiatives

First Lady Rachel Ruto during the 27th Ordinary General Assembly of the Organization of African First Ladies for Development (OAFLAD)

Climate action and carbon removal efforts should deliberately be designed to have women at their core. 

First Lady Rachel Ruto says despite women facing challenges such as limited access to education and financial resources, they have a critical role in carbon removal efforts since they are often involved in small-scale agricultural activities. 

“By enabling women to participate in the carbon economy, we can help to create new opportunities for income generation, improve their livelihoods, and contribute to global efforts to address climate change,” the First Lady said at the  National Workshop on Carbon Removal in Nairobi on February 27. 

The First Lady’s speech was read on her behalf by Tourism Cabinet Secretary  Peninah Malonza on the first day of the two-day workshop in Nairobi. 

The two-day workshop aims at establishing sustainable pathways for reducing emissions and removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to ensure climate change adaptation and mitigation. 

It was organized by the government in collaboration with the Global Carbon Removal Partnership, Thunderbird School of Global Management and Alliance for Science. 

Alliance for Science Executive Director Dr. Sheila Ochugboju said the carbon removal initiative needs to consider the principles of equity, inclusivity and performance. 

To fully involve women and ensure they benefit from the multi-billion-dollar carbon economy, Mrs. Ruto proposed that they are given access to information,  resources, and opportunities to participate effectively in the economy. 

“This might include training them on how to measure and report emission reductions, as well as supporting them to access financing and navigating the complex regulatory frameworks surrounding carbon markets,” she said. 

She said women should also be represented in decision-making processes related to carbon and their contributions recognised and valued.

The First Lady said women are already at the forefront of developing new technologies and practices geared towards carbon removal efforts. 

One such woman is Dr. Stephanie Arcusa, the Postdoc Researcher at the Centre for Negative Carbon Emission at Arizona State University. 

Dr. Arcusa told the workshop carbon credits are not a permanent solution to carbon emissions and climate change in general. 

“If we want to achieve net zero carbon emission, those credits don’t do the job.  Only permanent removal of carbon can neutralize an emission,” she said,  adding that once carbon dioxide gets into the atmosphere, it stays there for tens of thousands of years and keeps accumulating. 

Climate Action Plan for Africa (CAP-A) founder James Mwangi said the world needs to remove 5 to 10 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere every year for it to win the war against climate change. 

He said Africa has to be at the forefront of this endeavour because 40 per cent of all new urban constructions are on the continent.  

Besides, he said, Africa is endowed with opportunities such as labour force provided by a large young population, ample land and immense renewable energy sources. 

“To do this, we have to adopt the right practices, use the right tools and change how we build our economy. We can use electricity to capture carbon dioxide from the air and put it back to the ground where it belongs,” he said. 

Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Dr Korir Sing’oei said President William Ruto has put climate action at the centre of his foreign policy. 

“Kenya’s biggest threat is climate. It has the potential to destabilize our country and the entire region, and we can’t ignore this inconvenient truth anymore,” said  Sing’oei. 

He said his ministry will work hand in hand with the carbon removal initiative to ensure a sustainable future.


Rachel Ruto Climate action

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