Genny Ndayisenga from the 350 Burundi team reports here on the recent Climate Leadership Workshop held in Gitega.

Protecting the environment is a sign of dignity and self-respect. By protecting the environment we guarantee a better future for next generations. Let’s not destroy the nature! Maybe men will forgive us but Mother Nature won’t forgive us at all!”said Reverend Father Florent RUGIGANA to 40 young environmentalists from two organizations “Ensemble pour la Protection de l’Environnement (EPE)” and “Association Saint François d’Assise (ASFA)” from Gitega (second city of Burundi) who attended a Climate Leadership held by the 350 Burundi Network on Climate Change from September 21-22, 2012. Participants were trained in the basics of climate science and action, community mobilisation, campaign strategies, leadership, story-telling method and use of traditional and new media in campaigning.

Gitega climate activists at the end of workshop


Climate change is real and happening in Burundi. Its impacts are unavoidable. Due to its high levels of poverty and lack of infrastructure to cope with natural disasters and other longer-term effects of climate change, the country is becoming more vulnerable and all the provinces are experiencing the harsh. But the only way to minimize the impacts is to increase society’s capacity to respond and adapt well.

I was very impressed by what I learned here and at the same time 350 Burundi team triggered something in my heart: Myself and my community also contribute to climate change and I have to assume my responsibility by reducing on my emissions”, said Aimée Gloria Kwizera, from EPE after the workshop.

Young people are concerned, thoughtful citizens, capable of participating in and changing the society they are part of; and they have an important role to play in addressing the big challenge of our world. Moreover, young people have enthusiasm, imagination and abundant energy to undertake local actions, act as effective communicators in their communities.

According to Steeven Kezamutima, young climate activist from ASFA and Reggae musician, “the effects of climate change are cumulative and irreversible. All the citizens must get aware of this and work hand in hand to come over that threat, otherwise we will all perish.

Curiosity, enthusiasm and determination from these young climate leaders characterized the workshop from the beginning to the end.

At the end of the workshop, participants were granted attestations and to the delight of 350 BNCC, they committed to work in synergy to start a 350 group in Gitega.