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Kenya: Jamaa Resource Initiatives says women empowerment crucial in mitigating impacts of geothermal projects, including displacement

Author: Jamaa Resources Initiative (Kenya), Published on: 4 September 2015

"Truth be Out"

The Jamaa Resource Initiatives with support from Global Green Grants Fund recently concluded an inception workshop Empowering Kenyan Women Facing impact of International Financial Institutions. The workshop brought together delegates from key energy projects in Kenya such as Olkaria IV project in Naivasha, Menengai Geothermal Development Company in Nakuru and Chemususu Dam in Baringo where International Financial Institutions (IFIs) funded projects had negatively impacted the community, livelihoods and environment. The meeting took place at a critical time when the civil society organizations are actively engaged on progressive discussions regarding the future of the extractive industry, land issues and human rights issues in connection to IFIs investments who are the greatest financers for on-going projects.

...Mr Maurice Ouma Odhiambo, the Executive Director at Jamaa Resource Initiatives, said the workshop would be geared towards community engagement on the negative impacts of IFI funded projects. While recognizing the importance of foreign investment and funding in Kenya's energy and infrastructure sector in facilitating exploration and production of energy, the implications of these projects on the community and the environment are quickly forgotten. This workshop was aimed at delivering deeper into the impacts of IFI funded projects on the community and particularly women and children in the society. It was noted with concern that poor compensation packages, forceful evictions, non-implementations of the IFIs safeguards and harsh environmental impacts are still issues of critical concern surrounding IFIs investments. To effectively cope with these challenges Jamaa Resource Initiatives identified the crucial role that women empowerment plays in dealing with these impacts. Mr Odhiambo cited that through empowerment, women in the affected areas will be able to drive constructive advocacy towards ending harmful environmental pollution, better compensation schemes, making sure that the IFIs safeguards and implemented, project affected people have accessed information in accordance to the IFIs access to information policy and active community involvement.

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