Climate Change Awareness in the Public Service Sector: a Study of Six Institutions in Kenya
Ruirie, Onesmus Kamiri
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Climate change is one of the most significant environmental challenges of our time. This calls for the adoption of necessary mitigation and adaptation strategies. These strategies include education and public awareness on climate change and its effects. This study assessed the level of climate change awareness among employees of six public sector institutions namely, National Environmental Management Agency, Kenya Meteorological Department, Kenya Electricity Generating Company, Kenya Medical Research Institute and Kenya Agricultural Research Institute. Employees offer non-formal education to the public while providing services and in their social circles. Their awareness is therefore critical. The study also aimed to establish the source of climate information in public sector, whether there are policies on climate change in the public service sector and identify if there are challenges in implementing them. The six public institutions were chosen using purposive sampling due to their roles in climate change. A descriptive survey design was adopted. 20 respondents from each institution were chosen from a sample frame comprising three job categories using simple random sampling techniques. To implement the survey, a structured questionnaire was used for data collection. Data was analyzed using descriptive and detailed statistics and results presented graphically in charts, graphs and tables. From the findings, the study established that there was general awareness about climate change as 97% respondents stated that they have heard of climate change. The difference in respondents level of being informed on causes, consequences, and ways to curb climate change was statistically significant (F=4.592, df=5 and P Value> 0.05 at 0.0132. Media emerged as the main source of climate change information with television leading at 94%. Media had significant impact on creating awareness (x2=51.425, n=120, df=3, p=O.OOOI).The study established that there are policies on climate change at the workplace as reported by 82% of respondents. 82% of the respondents stated that implementation of these policies is hampered by inadequate funding, lack of coordination among the various climate change stakeholders and low level of public awareness about climate change among others. Majority of employees, 85% said there is need for more information on climate change in the workplace. The study established a strong positive and significant relationship between climate change awareness (r = 0.698, P< 0.05 at 0.01) on one hand and policies and source of information on the other hand (r=0.547, P Value of 0.02 at 95% precision level). The study also established a strong positive correlation between mitigation and adaptation and climate change awareness (r =0.698 and a significance level of 0.006, P< 0.005).The study concluded that it is important to enhance awareness among the employees to make them better understand climate change science, especially the support staff. The study recommended enhancement of awareness through seminars, workshops, brochures and memos in the workplace.