African Climate Summit: voices of youth advocates

The African Climate Summit, held in Nairobi, brought together Child Advisory Committee members of Dialogue Works like Julie, Mike, Phenylle and Diana, who are also actively engaged in addressing climate change within their communities. These youth delegates, representing the organization Welfare of Children and Youth Kenya, shared their experiences and insights about climate issues, their expectations from countries responsible for climate change, and recommendations for a better approach to include working children and youth in international policy debates.

Children are affected by climate change

Phenylle, a 17-year-old Kenyan citizen, describes her involvement in the ‘adopt a tree’ project, which aims to raise awareness of environmental conservation in their community. Her dedication to this cause led her to participate in the African Climate Summit, where she had the opportunity to meet and learn from fellow young climate advocates. Phenylle emphasizes that the effects of climate change are not limited to adults; they profoundly impact children’s lives, affecting not only the environment but also their livelihood and daily experiences.

Phenylle’s experience at the summit was not only informative but also enjoyable, and she highlights the importance of actively involving youth in climate discussions. Her recommendations for organizations and initiatives looking to engage young advocates in international policy debates includes the need for genuine participation and a dedicated day for youth to express their views without interruptions.

Shared responsibility for climate change

Diana, another 17-year-old from Kenya, discussed her involvement in researching how the climate crisis affects children in their society. She, along with her colleagues, represented their group’s findings at the summit. Diana emphasized the environmental challenges in her area, particularly the haphazard disposal of garbage, which leads to various health issues for children, including waterborne diseases.

Diana’s approach to tackling this issue involved educating her peers about environmental cleanliness and promoting responsible waste disposal. She encouraged her schoolmates to use separate bins for different types of waste to facilitate recycling and reduce environmental pollution.

Recommendations for a sustainable future

Phenylle and Diana both offered recommendations for organizations and initiatives seeking to address climate change. They stressed the importance of creating awareness and involving children and youth actively in environmental initiatives. Leading by example, such as cleaning up rivers, roads, and streets, can inspire the wider community to act.

In terms of expectations from countries responsible for climate change, both youth advocates called for a shared responsibility. They urged developed countries to adopt eco-friendly practices, especially in manufacturing, by using materials that are less harmful to the environment. By doing so, they can contribute to reducing pollution and protecting the Earth’s resources.

The voices of Phenylle and Diana at the African Climate Summit serve as a powerful reminder that young people are not just the leaders of tomorrow but also the voices of today. Their enthusiasm, commitment, and ideas are essential in the global fight against climate change. It is crucial that their perspectives and recommendations are taken seriously to achieve a more sustainable and equitable future for all.

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