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Digital youths fight climate change in Africa

“Climate change is killing Africa, #youthbaton is here to make a change”.

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Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

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Climate Action

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Who is SustainableEnergy?

  • SustainableEnergy is an environmental organisation working against climate change.
  • We believe that everybody can do something tangible to help make the world sustainable.
  • Climate change knows no borders. Therefore, SustainableEnergy acts both locally, nationally and internationally.
  • Our acitivites range from establishing environmental groups on Danish campuses, and providing energy advice to homeowners, to setting up bio-toilets in the largest slums of Kenya.

More info: sustainableenergy.dk

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This tweet from Kenyan Stephen Kennedy underlines the high ambitions of a youth project conducted by the Danish environmental organisation SustainableEnergy, involving youths from Kenya, Mozambique, Burkina Faso, and Mali. Stephen’s Twitter message also shows the level of motivation that these youngsters have, driving the project forward and getting the first climate activities up and running on African soil.

Designing their own projects

The youth project, called “Youth takes the Baton for a Green Future”, sees the young people in charge of designing, developing, and carrying out their own green, sustainable projects. In total, 16 projects are to take concrete action against the impacts of climate change and environmental problems. The projects deal with green energy, sanitation, deforestation, and garbage solution. SustainableEnergy has engaged its partner organisations in the four countries to run the overall project, but it will be the more loosely organised youth networks that are to plan and carry out the actual activities.

Social media coordination

For the technical part of the project, SustainableEnergy has developed a digital platform – a so-called ‘digital dashboard, which can be found on the homepage www.youthbaton.org. The dashboard makes it possible for young people to exchange ideas and good ideas across the vast continent, using a variety of social media platforms. For example, a movie clip on YouTube, or a snapshot on Instagram, are well suited to visualise a certain activity, inspiring young people in other countries to attempt something similar. To discuss and evaluate activities, Twitter and Facebook are more suitable.

Youths do cleanup in town

The first sub-project about clean energy has already been conducted, and attention has turned to issues of sanitation. In Maputo, the capital of Mozambique, young people have started to do something about the problems with trash accumulating and blocking sewer drains. Dirty and blocked drains are a health hazard for the local community, especially due to the risk of diarrhoea, malaria, and cholera. For this reason, youth groups got together for a ‘Cleaning Day’ in the district Ka Maxakeni. Both women rights groups and youth activists joined in to remove trash from drains. The campaign was also supported by the local authorities.

Drive and team spirit

#YouthBaton was launched with a workshop in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya. Here, representatives from partner organisations and youth groups met. The young people received training in designing campaigns and developing campaign strategies. This was very successful, not least thanks to the mentality of the youth.

“I was struck by the power of the young people’s positive attitude, their way with words, and their drive for their cause. They strongly affected each other, and developed a strong sense of being on the same team”, says Gry Bossen, who participated on the workshop on behalf of SustainableEnergy.

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