Joseph Karwara from Kiegoi, Kenya, is an important person in his local communitys battle against climate change. As a local government worker, he feels he has a responsibility to get the community working together to combat climate change. He has been involved with many of the projects that Kiegoi Tea Factory, with funding and support from CPF, has carried out to limit the impacts of climate change on his local environment.

I wanted to be involved in this climate change project because of the changes I see says Joseph, the weather has changed, we are not receiving enough rain and the experts tell us its because the environment has been spoiled by our activities: tree reduction and chemicals. Now it is very necessary we participate in climate change initiatives.

Kiegoi Tea Factory holds climate change meetings in which Joseph regularly attends. He says I am happy with the factory because they called us for a seminar about climate change. The last one we dwelled much on water reduction, we concluded that we are now in a time of water crisis. We analysed our rivers and found that they have drastically dropped in volume and others have dried. We concluded to go back and rehabilitate our rivers by planting trees and recruiting community river scouts to protect local water resources. I went and started immediately.

One issue is that many farmers have planted eucalyptus, a non-native trees along the river banks, replacing indigenous tree species which require far less water. Persuading farmers to change this habit is a challenge according to Joseph. We have had our people plant eucalyptus trees because of their quick growth and for selling. To change ones mind to remove the eucalyptus from his farm and plant the indigenous trees is not easily received, because these indigenous trees take a long time to grow.

Training local river bank scouts has helped to inform local people of the negative environmental effects of planting eucalyptus, but there is a cost to farmers of replacing these trees, so funding which CPF has provided to Kiegoi Tea Factory had helped to replenish the river banks.