People everywhere are doing what they can to drive transformational climate action. Climate action is not just about reducing emissions; it can also mean food on people’s tables, money in their pockets and jobs for our youth. We should all ask ourselves whether we are doing enough. If the answer is no, it is time to up our game, roll up our sleeves and make our voices count through transformative action.
No individual, regardless of status, no country and no region, regardless of might, is immune to the impacts of the already changing climate. We must therefore gather wherever we are and join the initiatives that are on offer. We should volunteer innovatively to drive action.
Climate action across boundaries
I, for one, am comforted by what I see happening across the globe, but more so in Africa, where transformative climate action is visible in many regions of the continent. People can be seen to take the initiative and they are demonstrating tangible leadership. They are doing it themselves, through the inclusive policy framework known as the Ecosystems Based Adaptation for Food Security Assembly (EBAFOSA).
Through EBAFOSA people are finding connections and common cause across languages, cultures and borders. After all, our destinies are inextricably linked. We know that we must join hands to drive transformational change for people and planet, because that is the only way we can ensure that no one is left behind.
One such person who has responded to the call is Muhammed Taal from The Gambia. Through climate action, he is showing that illegal immigration is not the solution. After spending 14 years in Europe, doing many different jobs to survive, Mr Taal returned home. He is skilled in the manufacturing of compost manure, something that has the potential to create livelihood opportunities, but he never had an inclusive framework to engage. EBAFOSA has now provided the innovative incubation space that Mr Taal needed. Through EBAFOSA, he has partnered with livestock farmers to harvest manure and with groundnut farmers to harvest shells. He uses these as raw material for the production of bio-fertiliser, which he sells. His enterprise is set to be mapped as a supplier of organic fertiliser on the online EBAFOSA application, M-eBAFOSA. This is an e-commerce platform and it provides Mr Taal with access to a market across The Gambia. This enterprise is not only enhancing Mr Taal’s livelihood but contributing to meeting The Gambia’s climate objectives, as expressed in its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC). He is also training young people in this enterprise so that they will be able to replicate his success.
EBAFOSA as a convening platform
Then there is the story of cooperatives that are pushing the envelope in sustainable climate finance. In Kenya, among other countries, EBAFOSA has provided a convening platform where farmer cooperatives are working with clean energy actors to develop flexible and affordable clean energy financing products for members of the cooperative. Through this affordable finance, farmers can now irrigate their farms and get bumper harvests and higher returns – which, in turn, drives greater use of solar-powered irrigation. This collaboration is not only improving the income earned by farmers, clean energy actors and cooperatives, but is contributing to meeting Kenya’s climate objectives, which call for the increased use of clean energy.
In Uganda, the youth are proving to be just as committed to driving transformational climate action. Through EBAFOSA, high-school students are collaborating with universities to develop fuel briquettes and fertiliser from waste. This initiative has resulted in the establishment of a briquettes and biofertiliser enterprise that sells clean fuel briquettes to schools and institutions in Uganda. Because of this collaboration, the school has successfully transitioned from the use of firewood to the use of their own fuel briquettes. This is saving up to seven trucks of firewood per term and 21 trucks per year, which translates into the preservation of forests, reduced emissions, lower fuel costs for the school (the briquettes burn more efficiently) and additional income for both the high-schoolers and their university colleagues.
Young people are taking the lead
In Nigeria, the youth are showing leadership in using their skills for transformative climate action – and their level of ambition is impressive. One example is a young man called Olagunju Olawale, who finished university a year ago. Armed with skills and the passion to be someone, Olawale has joined hands with former classmates and additional professional contacts on EBAFOSA. This has resulted in the Ecosystem and Rural Agriculture Development (ERAD) initiative. This is an initiative through which Olawale and his colleagues are using their skills to offer advisory services to local farmers on acquiring and using clean energy systems for greater productivity. This is not only enhancing clean energy use to mitigate emissions but also to create additional income opportunities for improved livelihoods.
All this is happening through EBAFOSA Innovative Volunteerism. Let’s draw inspiration from those who are already doing something and immerse ourselves fully in actioning EBAFOSA Innovative Volunteerism, for the sake of our people and our planet. Climate action cannot wait any longer.