Engaging the Youth in Malawi in International Climate Change Discussions

Nov 10, 2015

Case Study: Lilongwe Girls Secondary School

Lilongwe, November 2015: UNDP Malawi and UNITAR, as part of the UN: CC Learn initiative, facilitated a Youth Climate Dialogue (YCD). This Dialogue involved students from Lilongwe Girls Secondary School, Malawi and St. Gallen High School in Switzerland, taking part in debates and sharing experiences on climate change, through video conferencing. Students from Malawi articulated how climate change has had devastating effects on them; for example loss of family in floods, food insecurity and interrupted learning, when their school was used as shelter to house victims during floods.

“The floods washed my grandmother away. We have never found her. My Grandmother was the strength and courage of our home. We need to take action now to prevent further suffering from floods, through planting trees to reduce the flooding,” said Annie Tamandani, 17 years old student.

In preparation for the debates and discussions, students from Lilongwe Girls prepared photos and interviews. Some photos are shown below.

Students from Lilongwe Girls Secondary School write their thoughts on how climate change has affected Malawi. The impacts of climate change in Malawi are being manifested in ways such as changing rainfall patterns, flooding and prolonged dry spells.

Students display the actions they will take to reduce the impact of climate change.

Activities which are contributing to climate change through greenhouse gas emissions. Such activities are rice growing, cattle rearing, industry and poor waste disposal[1].

Aquaculture, planting of drought resistant crops and relocating communities to safer areas are actions which can be taken to adapt to the effects of climate change

Daily activities in Malawi that contribute to climate change and global warming.

Deforestation is a key source of greenhouse gas emissions.

Students taking part in debates and sharing experiences on climate change.

All students agreed that climate change is an international issue. To reduce the impacts of climate change, there is need to think locally and act globally. This is because consequences of inaction to climate change in one country, could result in severe impacts being felt in another.

Climate smart agriculture, clean energy and tree planting are practices in Malawi which Switzerland wishes to take up towards combatting climate change and its impacts. YCD will be showcased at the UNFCCC 21st Conference of Parties (COP-21) in December, to ensure the voices of the youth are included in these important discussions.

The YCD was organized by the National Climate Change Programme in Malawi, which began in 2013 with UNDP support and ends this year 2015. One of its outcome is the mainstreaming of climate change into the education sector. This outcome has been achieved.

[1] Gases that trap heat in the atmosphere are called greenhouse gases. Methane is one of them. Methane emissions result from livestock and other agricultural practices and by the decay of organic waste.

Contact information

Pauline Achoka pauline.achoka@undp.org

Sarah McIvor sarah.mcivor@undp.org

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