On Wednesday, May 15, 2024, the world marked the United Nations International Day of Families (IDOF), a day dedicated to celebrating the pivotal role of families in society. This year’s theme, “Climate Change and Impact on Family’s Well-Being,” underscores the critical intersection between environmental sustainability and family welfare. The event in Nairobi, hosted at the Kenyatta International Convention Center (KICC), was a resounding success, bringing together diverse stakeholders, including Youth Future Lab, to address these pressing issues.

The State Department for Social Protection and Senior Citizen Affairs of Kenya, in collaboration with other UN Member States, spearheaded the event. The primary objective was to enhance awareness and foster dialogue on how climate change impacts families and to explore ways to mitigate these effects. The event’s focus aligns with the broader goals of creating resilient, adaptive communities that can thrive in the face of environmental challenges.

In her keynote address, Her Excellency the First Lady of the Republic of Kenya, Mama Rachel Ruto, officially launched the National Policy on Family Promotion and Protection. This policy, mandated by Executive Order No 2 of 2023, aims to foster “Happy and stable families for a strong society.” It emphasizes the importance of creating an environment that supports family well-being and empowers families to contribute to the socio-economic development of the country. The First Lady’s presence underscored the high level of commitment and the strategic importance placed on this initiative by the Kenyan government.

The event featured a series of discussions and workshops that delved into the theme of the day. Experts from various fields presented on the myriad ways climate change affects families, from health impacts and displacement due to extreme weather events to economic strains and social disruptions. These sessions provided valuable insights and practical strategies for families to adapt to and mitigate the adverse effects of climate change.

Youth Future Lab, an organization dedicated to empowering young people to engage with and address future challenges, played a significant role in the celebrations. Their participation highlighted the critical role of youth in driving climate action and fostering sustainable development. The members of Youth Future Lab engaged actively in the discussions, bringing fresh perspectives and innovative ideas to the table.

One of the key takeaways from the event was the necessity of involving families in climate change mitigation efforts. Families, as the basic units of society, have the potential to drive significant change through sustainable practices at the household level. By adopting energy-efficient habits, supporting green policies, and educating the next generation about environmental stewardship, families can be powerful agents of change.

The International Day of Families 2024 in Nairobi was more than just a celebration; it was a call to action. It highlighted the interconnectedness of family well-being and environmental sustainability and underscored the need for collaborative efforts to address climate change. With the launch of the National Policy on Family Promotion and Protection and the active involvement of organizations like Youth Future Lab, Kenya is poised to lead by example in integrating family-centered approaches to climate action. As families and communities continue to adapt and innovate, there is hope for a sustainable and resilient future for all.

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Fredrick Kioko