About Us

The overall objective of Nairobi Summer School on Climate Justice (NSSCJ) is to enhance the capacity of Africans and our allies to advance climate justice perspectives through local, national, regional and global interventions.


Alumni impacted by our programme

The Nairobi Summer School on Climate Justice (NSSCJ) is an initiative pioneered by the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), and is currently co-coordinated with Kenyatta University based in Nairobi, Kenya. The School is designed to provide a timely opportunity for long-standing scholar-activists, community-based scholars and the younger generation of climate justice advocates as well as practitioners from the Global South and North. Summer school participants will share experiences, exchange perspectives and collectively reflect on just, equitable and inclusive pathways to a low-carbon, climate-resilient development trajectory using modules that are designed in practical and uncomplicated ways.

Nairobi Summer School on Climate Justice (NSSCJ) is conceptualized as an intergenerational platform to share, learn and network the disruptive ideas needed to catalyze economy-wide transformation in a climate-catastrophic world. We adopt a society-wide focus, targeting sectoral and thematic experts and frontline activists irrespective of formal education and cultural backgrounds.

PACJA’s School is designed as a continuous learning process since graduates undertake to extend outreach into their respective localities by initiating creative communal action to solve immediate local-level challenges that they consider detrimental to climate justice. This “bottom-up”, “from-below” approach is vital for effective grassroots organizing, and in turn has awakened consciousness about humans living interdependently with nature. The role of young people and community scholars is the most vital for thorough-going socio-economic transformation.

Climate Justice Education thus becomes ever more urgent, and the Nairobi Summer School on Climate Justice (NSSCJ) is ever more relevant for popular movements that are climate literate and capable of interpreting the changes they observe as climate challenges become overwhelming.

Since the school’s inception in the midst of Covid-19 in 2020, the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance has successfully delivered two Nairobi Summer School on Climate Justice (NSSCJ) cohorts, with more than 700 participants. We offer tailor-made course modules developed by outstanding scholars, experts, researchers and community scholars and activists from both the South and North. The Nairobi Summer School on Climate Justice (NSSCJ) promotes creative voices, especially from the youth, and inspire societal and scientifically-proven innovation that tackle the vexed questions of skewed development and climate justice, including intra and intergenerational equity. The school has earned a leading role in setting Africa’s climate policy discourse and intervention strategy, thanks largely to its emerging Alumni network of vibrant climate specialists.

Why Summer School for Climate Justice?

There are emerging concerns that narratives and debates on climate justice are Northern-centric and elitist, with limited perspectives from frontline communities, who are disproportionately affected by changing climate and its devastating impacts. Though climate change is happening now and affecting everyone on Earth, the poor and vulnerable (particularly those living in the Global South and desolate areas in the North) are the most affected.

Efforts to enhance the participation of marginalized sectors of the society as a way of broadening the debate and “leaving no one behind” – as an imperative of climate justice – continue to take various dimensions. In addition to traditional training and capacity building exercises conducted on short term basis, longer-term frameworks have evolved to deliver modules to cultivate a broader understanding of the notion of climate justice. Think tanks and academic institutions have anchored the subject into their strategic and academic pursuits, thus elevating the concept into an area of strategic and professional relevance.

Globally, there are numerous efforts by academics, advocacy groups and other non-state actors all seeking to advance research, scholarship and mobilization on climate justice at various levels. Universities and think tanks in the North are offering tailor-made courses and programs on Climate Justice. Such interventions, however, are yet to take off in the Global South, particularly the continent of Africa, in a systematic and sustained manner.

There are also concerns that the content of programs developed for University learning in the Global North insufficiently represent the contexts and challenges and aspirations of frontline communities in the Global South. Besides, the general climate action inertia and lack of empathy that has characterized the international climate debates for the last three decades has left frontline communities in the Global South wondering if the time is not yet rife to bring on the table an alternative approach to climate negotiations and debates that will be based on transitional justice.

These programs do not adequately incorporate the contexts and concerns of indigenous communities, smallholder producers, fisher folk, women and youth, among others, who constitute the majority of people affected by the collective failures to contribute in the search for the most appropriate way to defeat the challenges brought by the changing climate. Again in recent years, African policy makers’ voices have been rising, insisting on the need to be compensated for the sacrifice they make on abandoning their energy resources being discovered in the continent on an increasing rate, hence putting into question the concept of just transition.

Climate justice is a concept that addresses the ethical dimensions of global warming and poses tough questions to the dominant mode of policy making and practice. CJ incorporates equality, human rights, collective rights, the rights of nature, and the historical responsibilities for the climate crisis. It is a philosophy designed not only to ensure emissions cuts (including leaving fossil fuels underground), but to ask who bears the burden and how Just Transitions can be achieved.

CJ questions the current power relations associated with race, gender, class, generational and North South biases. CJ activists appreciate technological advances but are always critical of “tech-fix” strategies that may not work and that have damaging side effects – so when “Net Zero” or “carbon neutral” status is claimed, CJ is skeptical. When the Global North insists on Intellectual Property rights for solar, wind and energy storage technology, CJ insists on waivers.

The CJ perspective on climate finance is also extremely critical of financing provided by the status quo, whereby rich countries – often joined by elites from middle-income economies – rely on debt not grant finance, impose inappropriate carbon taxes that hurt the poor, allow offsets and carbon markets to distract from genuine progress, and above all, reject their responsibilities for the climate reparations they owe, for loss and damage, adaptation expenses and compensating poor countries for their inability to emit a fair share of greenhouse gases within the available atmospheric space