Climate Resilence Lab: A recap

Last week, PopTech brought together an amazing and diverse group of thinkers, stakeholders, and domain experts in Nairobi, Kenya for our Climate Resilience Lab.  The three-day event was our first major convening around the issue of building resilience to climate change effects at the community level with a particular focus on identifying the roles of and opportunities for girls and women.

PopTech Labs are part of our ongoing mission to bring together carefully curated networks around issues of vital importance to business, society and the planet.  The goal of every Lab is to map a particular space, identify opportunities for disruptive innovation and ideas, and to collaboratively design unconventional actions to propel such ideas forward.  Labs foster sustained conversations that last well beyond the initial gathering as network ties deepen and new questions and solutions emerge.


The Nairobi event kicked off February 8 at the Tribe Hotel where participants began dissecting a highly complex set of issues dealing not only with climate change itself, but the efficacy of adaptation theory, the importance of making girls and women a critical part of successful strategies, and the ways in which resilience is both created and destroyed.  Lab members shared personal stories from their own experience as they shaped a common understanding of what resilience actually means on the ground.

Pablo Suarez of the Red Cross/Red Crescent Climate Centre and Janot Mendler Suarez introduced the first-ever pilot of a new game designed for  communities prone to the detrimental effects of climate change. The game creates scenarios that challenge players to think more critically about the ways in which gender roles affect climate change decision-making.

Day two found participants in the field visiting various communities currently dealing with rapidly changing climate conditions.  From Machakos to Nanyuki to Matuu, these field visits offered a ground-level view of what climate change means to Kenyan smallholder farmers. PopTech is grateful to community hosts Prolinnova, the Kenya Red Cross, and PopTech Fellow Rose Goslinga’s organization, Kilimo Salama.

The final day of the Lab wrapped up at Karen Country Lodge where a discussion and brainstorming set the stage for participant teams to consider pilot ideas for new disruptions.

Please watch our blog for ongoing reporting on the Climate Resilience Lab, as we track ongoing conversations, dialogues, and emerging collaborations among Lab participants.

We are deeply grateful to our funding partners at the Nike Foundation and Rockefeller Foundation for making this event possible and for facilitating this crucial first step on a much longer journey.

Images: Boniface Mwangi for PopTech and Peter Durand

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