Communities’ awareness on climate change and its effects: a case study of Trans Nzoia district, Kenya.

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Kampala international international: School of Engineering And Applied Sciences
Global climate change is caused by the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the lower atmosphere that trap radiant heat thereby leading to an accelerated anthropogenic greenhouse effect that has huge negative global ramifications. Awareness levels on the very existence of the climate change issue is currently very low especially in areas considered to be most vulnerable to the anticipated changes thereby informing the research undertaken titled “Communities’ Awareness on Climate Change: A Case Study of Trans Nzoia District, Kenya” The scope of the study was defined and objectives set in line with the purpose of the study. Variables investigated and assessed in the field were the level of awareness of communities to climate change, its causes and observable evidences in the study area, the effects of climate change on the livelihoods and socio-economic activities of the communities under study and finally the government and international organization programmes put in place to help the communities with mitigation and adaptation of the climate change effects. A total sample size of 100 respondents (N=1 00) was chosen through systematic random sampling for community members such as farmers, pastoralists and community leaders at household levels which was the basic sampling unit and purposive sampling was used to select respondents from government departments such as extension officers and technical staff respondents from non-governmental and international organizations in the study area. Primary data was obtained through use of questionnaires, interviews, focus group discussions and literature reviews. The results of the study established that general awareness on the climate change issue was very low especially among adults with low levels of formal education thereby corresponding to similar research done by Gallup that ascertained that education levels serve as the best correlate of climate change awareness all over the world. The study also established the effects of climate change on the livelihoods and socio-economic welfare of communities in Trans Nzoia as having been negative with regard to the declining agricultural productivity especially in farming and Pastoralist activities which have been affected most in terms of failed harvests and death of livestock due to extended dry conditions, reduction in water quality and quantity, social dislocation in form of mass migrations due to search for arable land and pastures and finally increase in tropical infectious diseases such as malaria. The study also acknowledged that despite the presence of numerous governmental and international organization programmes in the study area aimed at promoting climate change mitigation and adaptation measures, the awareness apathy as to the dynamic nature of the climate phenomenon has not enabled the programmes to provide sufficient prevention and compensation of the adverse effects suffered by these vulnerable communities. The study concluded that lack of awareness of climate change issues compounded the severity of negative consequences experienced by the most vulnerable communities. Recommendations for reversing the negative conclusions such as raising awareness levels through introducing environmental education in school curricula, raising public awareness on climate change effects, establishing indigenous knowledge reservoir centers and finally adopting a needs based, locally oriented climate change mitigation and adaptation measures were made in accordance with the significance of the research study.
A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of a degree of Bachelor of Science in environmental management of Kampala international university
Environmental Management, Communities’ awareness, Climate change, Effects, Trans Nzoia district,, Kenya