Mana  |  She/Her

We've Failed the Pastoralists

Deserts and Xeric Shrublands

Session 9: May 24, 2023

So my story is one of communities and climate injustice. My story is about the pastoral communities of Kenya, communities that have been living in harmony with, and preserving, biodiversity since time immemorial. Communities that prioritize the well-being of our wildlife and plants, coexisting in a symbiotic relationship, enabling all parties to thrive and flourish. 

The pastoral communities depended on their livestock, which was not only their economic activity, but also their identity and culture. They knew no other way of life. They depended on seasonal rainfall, which came without fail. 

This continued until these innocent communities were failed—betrayed and left with nowhere to turn to. Betrayed by people who put profits before people, pockets before humanity, caring for no one else but themselves. By that, I mean the fossil fuel companies, who have contributed to the arrival of droughts due to climate change, which have ravaged the pastoralists’ source of life and identity, forcing them to diversify into activities they knew nothing of before. Forcing them to be exploited by doing manual low-paying jobs for survival’s sake, with their minds still wondering how this came to be, all while enduring the continuous trauma of losing their culture and wealth and having to leave their homes to go to towns and cities that they have never been in before. 

The communities remaining in their villages are undergoing abject poverty, with only a few households able to navigate through these tough times. As if that were not enough, these communities remain excluded, under-represented, and missing from climate decision-making spaces. Left out of the conversation, yet most affected. 

Do they really deserve to go through this? Why is there climate injustice for such communities? The pastoralists have been failed, and it’s time for reparations.

Do you hear us?

Mana is a climate scientist and the Founder and CEO of Springs of the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (SASAL). She is a climate justice and gender advocate for the indigenous pastoralist communities of Kenya, acting as youth leader with the UN Women Feminist Action for Climate Justice Action Coalition, lead of Fridays for Future Kajiado and Refugees for Future Kenya. She is a member of Fridays for Future MAPA (Most Affected Peoples and Areas). Mana holds a BA in Meteorology and is currently completing a MA in Environmental Governance. She is a certified impact analyst with experience in writing research pieces on the social and environmental impact of companies. Mana works closely with women who she sees are disproportionately affected by the climate crisis by educating them, empowering them, and capacitating them to lead more resilient lives.