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Kenya Launches $34.5M Project to Boost Climate Resilience in Arid Lands

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Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for National Treasury and Planning, Ukur Yatani, says the East African nation has launched a 34.5 million dollar-worth project (3.4 billion shillings) to boost climate resilience in eleven arid and semi-arid counties.

The project dubbed “Towards Ending Drought Emergencies (TWENDE) will leverage ecosystem-based approaches to strengthen the resilience of farmers and herders in arid lands grappling with climatic shocks.

The five-year project would be financed by the Kenyan government in conjunction with development partners to transform the livelihoods of 620,000 people.

It would restore 500,000 hectares of range lands in the eleven drought-prone counties of Kenya.

Yatani told journalists the launch of the TWENDE project domiciled in the Green Climate Fund (GCF) dovetails with Kenya’s quest to leverage on domestic financing to boost climate resilience among vulnerable demographics.

He admits Kenya has enacted progressive regulatory and policy frameworks to boost climate financing and strengthen the resilience of vulnerable economic sectors like agriculture, tourism and manufacturing.

Yatani believes responding to the climate challenge especially in the era of COVID-19 will require collective and innovative action including significant financial resources from both the public and private sectors.”

The launch of the TWENDE project is expected to strengthen the capacity of communities in arid lands to cope with recurrent droughts linked to climate change.

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Conservation News

Three Endangered Rothschild’s Giraffes Die of Electrocution in Kenya

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The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) has confirmed that three Rothschild’s giraffes have died after being electrocuted by low-hanging power powerlines at a Soysambu conservancy in Nakuru.

News Central reports that Rothschild’s giraffe are one of the most endangered species of the animal with estimate putting their population at less than 1,600 in the wild.

Kenya has about 600 Rothschild’s.

KWS said officials from the state-owned power distributing company, Kenya Power, would replace the poles.

“Preliminary reports indicate that the height of the electricity poles crossing Soysambu Conservancy are low, below giraffe’s height,” a statement read in part.

Dr Paula Kahumbu, the Producer and Host of Wildlife Warriors CEO WildlifeDirect, alleged in a tweet that the deaths could have been prevented if experts’ advise was heeded.

In another tweet, Kahumbu added that these deaths were not the first, and that they could have been prevented if expert advice had been followed.

“These power lines have been killing giraffes, vultures and flamingos. Advice from experts was ignored. RIAs [Risk Impact Assessments] are notoriously poor on many development projects. Sad that it takes these kinds of deaths to wake some people up!” she tweeted.

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East Africa News

Teachers Strike in Malawi

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The Teachers Union of Malawi (TUM) on Monday began an indefinite strike action that coincided with school resumption and the new academic year.

The teachers, who are demanding an increase in wages as well as COVID-19 risk allowance, on Monday boycotted classrooms saying they feel unsafe in school environments.

TUM is also demanding that teachers be given personal protective equipment (PPE), training on how to deal with Covid-19 cases within their schools and a plan for social distancing in classrooms.

President Lazarus Chakwera ordered schools to be closed five weeks ago following a sharp rise in Covid-19 infections and deaths.

Schools were to reopen on Monday after a drop in the number of cases of coronavirus.

Local media is reporting that most students returned home after reporting to school in the morning.

In the town of Mponela, 65km north of the Capital, Lilongwe, learners closed roads with huge stones and tree branches to express solidarity with their teachers.

Police have since dispersed the protest.

Ministry of education spokesman, Chikondi Chimala, said the government was holding meetings with teachers’ representatives to resolve the issue.

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East Africa News

Ethiopia: Six Students Feared Dead in Tigray’s Bus Attack

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No fewer than six students are feared dead after gunmen attacked a bus in Tigray, northern Ethiopia.

According to reports, there was a shootout between the attackers and soldiers escorting the bus, which was carrying students returning from a graduation ceremony in the Tigray’s capital, Mekelle.

The bus was reportedly stopped many times at road blocks as it made its way from Mekelle.

It is not clear who carried out the attack but this shows Tigray is still volatile months after the federal government said the conflict with the regional authorities was over.

Meanwhile, the United Nations says civilians in Tigray are facing “extremely alarming” hunger as fighting between federal government forces and the regional Tigray Peoples’ Liberation Front (TFPL) remained an obstacle to reaching millions of people with aid.

The Ethiopia/Tigray conflict, now in its fourth month, has killed thousands of people. But little is known about the situation for most of Tigray’s six million people, as journalists are blocked from entering, communications are patchy and many aid workers struggle to obtain permission to enter.

Civilians have suffered and reports from aid workers on the ground indicate a rising in acute malnutrition across the region. According to the UN, starvation has become a major concern.

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