ActionAid Sierra Leone partners with Plan International to conduct Climate Change and Education CoP 26 interactive discussions
Hosted on the 9th of September 2021, the Climate Change and Education attracted young people from Senior Secondary Schools and policy makers from MDAs within the Government of Sierra Leone in Freetown, to deliberate on the effect of climate change on Education and to proffer solutions to this emergency knocking on our doorsteps.
Progress Kafineh a Youth Activist and Founder of Progress Relief who served as the chairperson of the event motivated her peers to step up for climate justice as she said the call is on the young people to bring up innovative ways to mitigate the damaging effects of climate change. The young people are ambassadors of climate change starting from today. “The generation of older people are already passing on, and it is upon us to step up, take the challenge and be the change we want to see in our communities so as to enable our generations after us have a safe space to breath” she said.
Representing the Executive Director of ActionAid Sierra Leone, Mohamed Fofana Head of Programmes and Policy emphasized the need for climate change education which he referred to as a “new phenomenon among the younger generation”. Today we are no longer seeing the normal rainfall and the sunlight is abnormal. Degree of carbon emission has risen from to 121 degrees Celsius which according to scientist if no control will lead to the extinction of human race to 1.5 Celsius.
Giving the history of the Conference of Parties (CoP), Mr Fofana stated that world leaders are concerned with the increasing rate of harmful gasses released into the atmosphere thereby depleting the ozone layer. Reflecting our memories to climate change and food production to which he said global warming have changed the pattern and farmers are not realizing profits needed as there is insufficient production of harvest for the entire populace. “An empty stomach cannot give the required attention in academia” he emphasized. Climate change have led to damaging effects on young girls who are mostly expected and may in turn be required to fend for their families leading to teenage pregnancy and increase in dropout rates. Relating climate change to the availability of water, the emission of carbon monoxide has led to increase sunrise thereby changing the weather conditions either to flooding, high sea levels or droughts, deforestation and exposing the entire environment to extreme disasters. “We all should take our individual and collective actions now! AASL is reviewing its Country Strategy Paper which will factor on climate change issues in complimenting the efforts of the government. He called on every participant to preach the issues of climate change and to serve as campaigners of climate justice in their individual spaces.
The Honorable Deputy Minister of Basic Senior Secondary School Education (MoBSSE) Madam Emily Kadiatu Gogra in her keynote address strongly implored all present especially young people to research on the effects of climate change, share their knowledge on mitigating it and using education to act on it a critical tool to make an impact in climate change. The UN Framework of climate change states that youth should be engaged to mobilize themselves to go to their communities and be the agent of change. We all learn and make impact when we lead by example. “Know it, share it and act on it” was her call to action to all young people present.
Leading the Youth call to action Mafoi Samai an intern at the Plan International asked policy makers, government, NGOs to take the issues of climate change very seriously. It is far from the lip services but to proceed with the implementation which is farfetched. Call them to action and to attention that the young people are aware of what is going on and are demanding the leaders to amend the issues now without passing on a legacy that is problematic to the future generation. Education and climate change especially girls’ education have been severely impacted by climate change, can destroy school infrastructures, access roads food security and impact livelihoods. Discriminatory social laws are disproportionately affected for girls it brings increase unequal domestic burden and teenage pregnancy and forced marriage. These were their demands
- Develop national climate justice learning strategies that are gender environmental and recognize the importance of youth leadership.
- Recognize and embed these climate learning strategies in climate financing policies and an agreement including national action for climate environment ACE strategy and an updated determined contributions and national adaptation plans.
- Strengthen education system to be more resilient and gender transformative as part of the adaptation strategies
Climate change is having tremendous negative effect on developing countries besides the visible effects on people's livelihoods as global warming is predicted to have a strong and adverse impact on human health. The population of countries that have contributed the least to global warming are the most vulnerable to death and diseases brought about by higher temperatures, Loss of agricultural productivity due to global warming resulting in droughts that have worsen living conditions, particularly in Africa.
The challenge has now been thrown to young people to come up with innovative solutions of clean and renewable energy that can contribute to mitigating the effect of climate change and to be the ambassadors of change when they return to their communities. To the government of Sierra Leone and key decision makers, Sierra Leone and the Young people are looking forward to the positive impact our representation at CoP26 will bring towards safeguarding our environment for the future generation.