New Publication: Amplifying Community Voices for Sustainable Climate Adaptation

Delighted to see our work on Amplifying Community Voices for Sustainable Climate Adaptation. Future Yetu: A Digital Storytelling Project in the Nairobi Slum of Korogocho published on The Palgrave Handbook of Global Social Problems.
Always wonderful to work with the amazing artist and activist Daniel Onyango and the brilliant landscape architect Pia Jonsson! And this time we were also joined by Humphrey Otieno, whose mission is to involve communities in informing and improving policies in Nairobi.

Please, read our abstract here.

There is increasing awareness of how crucial is developing participatory approaches that could effectively dismantle knowledge hierarchies and facilitate conversations across various sectors of the society in environmental decision-making (Konisky and Beierle, Soc Nat Resour 14(9):815–826, 2001). Digital storytelling and other creative approaches can assist individuals to overcome barriers to participation (Liguori et al., Front Environ Sci 8:589856, 2021) as well as having a collective function in building a sense of community (McEwen et al., Reweaving urban water-community relations: creative, participatory river ‘daylighting’ and local hydro-citizenship. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 2020). Nevertheless, storytelling is often applied as a small-group workshop activity, that can rarely produce large-scale impact beyond the community in which it is applied, and often reveals its limitations in the replicability of the creative process without the presence of an expert facilitator. The Future Yetu project is described and analyzed as a case study to provide new insights on how to co-design creative approaches and tools that can facilitate meaningful participation, amplify community voices, promote alternative livelihood initiatives, and influence policymaking for sustainable climate adaptation. A set of recommendations on how to expand knowledge exchange opportunities between residents and policymakers are shared as a way of inspiring other communities that have similar environmental issues, with the necessary acknowledgment and deep consideration of local challenges and opportunities. In fact, one of the key lessons learned through this project is that community engagement around issues related to climate change must be tailored to local needs and imply the involvement of committed stakeholders at a very early stage. By analyzing a co-creative, 4-step process based on issue-idea-solution-implementation, this chapter offers insights on new creative and democratic ways of working with not only “hard to reach” groups, but also “hard to engage” community members, based on dialogue and social capital.

Continue reading our chapter online.