Africa Business Communities
[Column] Marlene Mutimawase: Promoting women's leadership for land restoration in Africa

[Column] Marlene Mutimawase: Promoting women's leadership for land restoration in Africa

African Union in partnership with the Government of Kenya and Africa Climate Summit brings together leaders from governments, businesses, international organizations, and civil society to showcase a diverse range of bold innovative climate actions taking place across Africa.

If Africa is thinking of a better future and sustainable solutions to fight climate change, women should be at the forefront. However many public and private institutions are not grasping the unrealized potential of women’s leadership for green Africa. Locally led and managed restoration efforts are more likely to deliver long-term success and can bring climate and biodiversity benefits along with economic prosperity for communities. The bottom line is without local leadership, and meaningful women's participation scaling restoration across Africa would be impossible.

We can ask why women's leadership is so important, researches have revealed that when a woman is empowered they whole community benefit and not to forget that women make up the bif portion of population worldwide,so if we want to make our confinent safe for the current and future generation women should be given opportunity to fully participate in greening Africa. This also apply to one of the key principles in achieving Sustainable Development Goarls ''Leaving no one behind''.

During the Africa Climate Summit happening in Nairobi early this week, the African Union Commission took the opportunity to launch the Climate Action Innovation Hub which specifically dedicated space for African women and young innovators to showcase their game-changing, climate-oriented solutions and business ideas for climate change crisis solutions. By promoting women's leadership Africa will be able to achieve the recently adopted African Union Climate Change and Resilient Development Strategy (2022-2032).

The strategy adopted is the first-ever collective action plan and strategy that details the specific suggested actions that Africa Needs to respond to the climate change crisis. Late last year, African community leaders put together a manifesto that underscores how important communities are for successful restoration. It also provides cues on how to accelerate restoration in Africa, with two points explicitly calling out the need to include women on equal footing with men.

As many initiatives on land restoration in Africa, there is still a need to engage grassroots women-led organizations to protect environments but also create new jobs, and generate economic returns. The Bezos Earth fund committed one billion $to landscape restoration globally. It also adds to the $42.2 million granted previously to accelerate Africa’s restoration movement, known as AFR100, and complements recent funding from The Audacious Project and Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative (NICFI).

The Bezos Earth Fund also during the Africa Climate Summit panel discussion where H.E Rachel Ruto the first lady of the Republic of Kenya attended, president of Bezos Earth Fund announced $22.8 million to accelerate the restoration of two African landscapes critical for carbon sequestration, biodiversity, and human wellbeing: the Greater Rift Valley in Kenya and the Lake Kivu and Rusizi River Basin in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Burundi.

This will also take into consideration issues regarding women's leadership and women's engagement when it comes to land restoration. Promoting women's leadership is integrating a gender-responsive approach to land restoration success; it also generates additional value by securing the livelihoods of all members of the community. The approach requires that all genders are considered and included in the planning and bringing up solutions to build household resilience and women must be actively engaged in decision-making starting from grassroots communities to high-level tables. 

When women are given the space, the whole community benefits and this will contribute to solutions-driven initiatives by giving women land tenure and land rights. In addition to policies that give women rights equal to those of men are important. Otherwise, hardworking women are easily exploited by contributing to reforestation and restoration efforts without access to the benefits.

Arica Climate Summit and similar initiatives can greatly benefit Africa and the world at large by advocating on women's leadership and policies that promote equal participation, allowing women to play a greater role and thus increasing the chances of long-term restoration success on the continent.


Marlene Mutimawase is editor at Africa Business Communities



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