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Community Engagement & Service

Kenya: It's Not Easy Being Green - The Intersectionality of Environmental and Human Rights

Alt Break Kenya

The Program:

Kenya is a rapidly developing country in East Africa. The population of Kenya is about 46 million with 26% of Kenyans living in an urban center. While development has raised Kenya’s overall GDP among other aspects, this has caused great inequality in the country and a strain on the environment.

The environment and humans are intertwined and affect one another. This program is going to explore the intersectionality of environmental issues, and human rights and health, while ultimately striving to understand what is development, and what it looks like in Kenya.  

Many of those living in the urban centers live in informal settlements, also known as slums, and for those living in the settlements life is difficult. About 50% of those living in Nairobi live in an informal settlement, yet these settlements cover only 6% of the residential land area. This creates a densely populated unsanitary place for many people to live. For example, water is a Human Right according to the United Nations, and is listed as a right in the Kenyan Constitution. Yet many of those living in informal settlements do not have access to affordable, safe, and clean water. This infringes on their rights and health. There are many environmental issues that occur in the informal settlements, which show the cyclical nature of these problems.  

This program will also look at what is occurring environmentally that is feeding the rural to urban migration. With many areas of depleted soils, changing agricultural policy, and climate change, there are many pressures facing small-scale farmers. They need to be able to provide for their families, but that is difficult. With the environment changing many farmers are moving to urban areas, often the informal settlements, which add additional stress.  

We will explore these issues and many more related to the environment, development, and human rights. We are going to have the opportunity to hear from organizations about the work that they are doing to simultaneously improve the environment and the lives of those that are there. Furthermore, we would like to hear from those on the policy side to understand their perspective.

Engagement Itinerary:

Day 1:  Travel

Day 2:  Arrive in Kenya and rest

Day 3:  Orientation and tour Nairobi (KICC Building, History Museum)

Day 4:  Umande Trust- Learn about program and visit biocenters around Kibera

Day 5:  Umande Trust- Service Project

Day 6:  Umande Trust

Day 7:  Carolina for Kibera

Day 8:  Kitengela Glass

Day 9: Visit the Wangari Maathai Institute

Day 10:  KWS- Nairobi National Park

Day 11:  Seed Savers Network

Day 12:  Meeting with Kenyan Wildlife Services

Day 13: Visit a coffee/tea farm

Day 14:  UNEP headquarters

Day 15:  African Heritage House

Day 16:  Wrap-up/ final meeting, last minute shopping, and travel in the evening

Day 17: Travel and arrive back in DC

Quick Facts

Destination: Nairobi, Kenya

Dates: December 28, 2016- January 12, 2017

Cost: $3050

Faculty Adviser: Dr. Susan Shepler

Cost includes: Airfare, lodging, meals, guides, ground transportation, admission fees, administrative fees, travel insurance

Cost does not include: visas, immunizations


Meet Your Student Leaders!

Michelle Swiger studied abroad in Nairobi, Kenya and is extremely excited to return to study more in depth the intersectionality of environmental and human rights issues.

Cecilia Bouska was able to study the intersection of wildlife and human development in Costa Rica and is excited to look at similar concerns in addition to environmental health in a new country.