When Lake Region Economic Bloc Climate Change Governance Project (LREB CCG) made its initiation meeting with the County Executive Committee member (CECM) for Environment, Water, and Natural Resources for Vihiga in February 2019, the CECM portrayed great enthusiasm for climate change governance processes. This enthusiasm was best demonstrated by the fact that the department under the leadership of the CECM had already commenced the process of drafting the Vihiga County Climate Change Fund Bill.
The greatest risk that faced the process according to the CECM was the MCAs impeding the whole process. “We may work hard and finish the legislation drafting process on time, the real challenge we shall face shall be during the county assembly process, unless our approach is really smart, the process will take really long or never get completed at all and this will be a big disappointment to DFID, Christian Aid, ADS Western and we the department of environment.” Said Prof. Mwanje, the then CECM for the environment for Vihiga County.
The project went to independently establish that the executive and the members of the county assemblies had strained relations across all the three counties that ADS Western was supporting. It was well understood that unless the executive and the assemblies read from the same script as far as legislating for CCCF is concerned; the efforts of the project could not yield any meaningful results. The project identified strengthening the working relationship as a need.
Based on the identified need, the project sensitized members of the county assembly mostly targeting the committee on environment and the entire leadership of the assembly on climate change, county climate change fund framework, and the then governance. The meetings brought together the executive and the members of the county assembly and after a series of such meetings, some targeting just a few influential members of the county assembly while other meetings targeted wider stakeholder participation. These meetings helped improve working relations between the executive and the assembly and in the end enabled passing of the Vihiga County climate change fund bill at the county assembly.
The improved working relation led to MCAs regarding more highly the interest of the electorate than before. The MCAs developed an interest in mainstreaming climate change in the devolved governance structures which were demonstrated by their keenness to pass and have the Vihiga County Climate Change fund and have it operationalized.
In one of the meetings held at the Victoria Comfort Inn in Kisumu, Hon Paul Tirra, the chair of the County Assembly Committee on environment said “We thank the project for the support we have received on this bill. We now understand what the bill is all about and what we are looking forward to its operationalization once we pass at the county assembly. Members of the county assembly would really like to see the citizens receive the numerous benefits that this bill proposes. The benefits can only be materialized if the structures at ward and county levels are established and the fund becomes fully operationalized”.
During the launch of the Climate Change Fund Act, the CECM thanked the project for the improved relations with the county assembly. “the LREB CCG project has led to a strengthened collaboration between the executive and the county assembly, this strengthened collaboration is what will deliver the real benefits of the act to the people, we look forward to more support on wider governance issues to further improve the service delivery top the citizens, ”said the CECM.
In addition to the improved working relations, it was observed that the radio talk shows and ward level sensitization meeting had led to increased awareness on climate change which has resulted in citizens being more conscious of their environment and is expected to greatly enable the formation of the ward level structures.

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