Written by Prince Papa.
The African Youth Initiative on Climate Change (AYICC) launched its 2nd continental annual conference (African Youth Conference on Climate Change) on October 14th- 15th, 2016 in Nairobi Kenya. AYICC, marking its 10th anniversary this year, is by far one of the largest environmental youth networks in the continent and boasts a massive 30,000 members in over 44 African countries. The first chapter was born in Nairobi, Kenya 10 years ago during COP 12.
For this second edition of AfriYOCC, youths from various AYICC chapters such as AYICC-Gambia, AYICC-Algeria, AYICC-Rwanda, AYICC-Nigeria were registered to participate.. Everyone gathered to learn, interact and engage on ways in which these cross -regional youth initiatives can gain access to various climate finance funds and opportunities.
At the end of the conference, participants came up with an African Youth position on COP 22 which will be presented to the UNFCCC in Marrakesh in November this year.
350Africa, through its local organizers and mobilisers, actively participated in the conference. Connecting youth from different countries with partner organizations, forging friendships and cooperatives as the continent prepares to host Conference Of the Parties in Morocco.
Youth groups in Africa are involved in numerous climate smart initiatives yet are challenged by their capacity to tap into and attract broader climate finance. For example: A Ugandan participant, Kakembo Garaguzi runs an entrepreneurial skills project on renewable energy, biogas and the use of biomass in homes. They have invested heavily in equipment for the project but are stuck on how to take the invention to the next level and reach a larger population living in the remote areas. From Kenya, Unelker Maoga who through personal efforts promotes the use and distribution of solar lamps to girls in the marginalised areas in her country, targeting homes with girls who rely on tin lamps for their night studies for school work. These success stories have the potential to turn into massive nationwide successes.
Hence the call to support youth initiatives and grant them access to climate funds!Kenya is one of the leading African countries where youth are active at national and international levels, participating in various climate change programmes. We have the youth in Lamu fighting to halt a coal power plant, Youth in Mwingi-Mui basin fighting against coal mining, Youths in Kibera slums involved in promoting solar in running of an ICT resource center and restaurant just to mention but a few.”
The government of Kenya has availed avenues for youth to access funds to implement their initiatives. Through the Climate Change Directorate, Kenya has a climate change department in its ministry, to enhance the communication and sharing of climate stories both from within and outside its borders.
It is now up to the African youth to push their governments to make it more easier to access these funds. And it is through forums like AFRiYOCC that the African youth will have their voices heard!
The African youth are leading the way, finding African climate solutions and in the process telling their own stories and shaping a sustainable future for generations to come.