Increasing Youth Participation to Address Climate Change
As a good old saying goes; What you don’t know cannot help you.
The threat of Climate change continues to be a major reality that is set to add to the list of the many challenges facing young people across the globe. The big question that we ought to ask is if the youth are getting the right information as far as climate change is concerned.
Despite the numerous challenges facing youth especially in developing countries, youth are forging a pathway to building a secure and resilient future and have been at the forefront of championing change right from the community level.
When it comes to matters of Climate Change, young people have been secluded at the decision-making table and this has left them disenfranchised when it comes to planning, designing and evaluation of phases of climate change projects. Consequently, this has locked out many young people from accessing information regarding climate change that continues to hinder them from getting meaningfully engaged.
Research has shown that when young people have access to information on matters affecting them, the more likely they are to share the information or empower their peers using the knowledge.
Young people are grappling with numerous challenges including high rates of unemployment, Insecurity, and Mental Health that pose direct or immediate effects to their wellbeing and it can be quite difficult to capture their interests to pay attention to climate change if we don’t work on curating information and availing it in platforms that resonate with them.
This can be done through digital media platforms, arts and films, youth forums, and even community dialogues that bring matters climate change to perspective to make them digestible.
By merely telling a young person in rural Kenya for instance, that climate change is real, painting a picture of how this change can or is already affecting a key sector of the economy like agriculture would be more meaningful.
In addition, equipping young people with information on how they can help address climate change and the platforms that they can use for advocacy will also go a long way in enhancing their participation.
By building capacities, awareness and involving youth in local, national, and international processes, youth will be more empowered to participate in climate change adaptation and it all begins with sharing knowledge.