Investing in People and Learning to Foster a Climate Resilient and Green Transition

Ms. Shamiso Najira, UN CC:Learn Ambassador for Climate Change Learning of Malawi, Facilitates Youth Exchange on Climate Change

15 March 2016 | Geneva, Switzerland

During the past months, our UN CC:Learn Ambassador for Climate Change Learning from Malawi, Ms. Shamiso Najira, has been very active in promoting informal climate change education, by facilitating the Youth Climate Dialogue (YCD) between a school in Lilongwe (Malawi) and St. Gallen (Switzerland). Here she tells us about this project, from an initial idea to COP21!

The Youth Climate Dialogues (YCD) aim to provide a forum for youth both in Switzerland and UN CC:Learn partner countries to share their views about climate change. In particular, I have been involved in the organization of a dialogue between high schools students from Lilongwe Girls Secondary School (Malawi) and from the Kantonsschule am Burggraben Highschool in St. Gallen (Switzerland) since the beginning of the project in August 2015. In my role as a moderator, I met various times with the 20 students participating in the dialogue from the Malawi side and helped their preparation, which included undertaking modules of the UN CC:Learn e-course on climate change and preparing pictures on how climate change is affecting them and what they think can be done to address this issue.

Ms. Shamiso Najira, UN CC:Learn Ambassador from Malawi talking with the students in St. Gallen via video conference.Ms. Shamiso Najira, UN CC:Learn Ambassador from Malawi talking with the students in St. Gallen via video conference.

The dialogue via video conference was held on 4th November 2015 and was very successful as the students were able to share freely their personal views and experiences on climate change for about two hours. This exchange has a strong impact on the students. However, this is not limited to the event, as reflections continued afterwards in school. An official event, in particular, was organized on the 9th November to share the main results of the video exchange with the wider public. On that occasion, I summarized and presented the material produced by the Lilongwe Secondary School. In addition, I made my knowledge and experience available to facilitate the public debate that followed.  

Photo project by the Students from the Lilongwe Girls Secondary School.Photo project by the Students from the Lilongwe Girls Secondary School.

This first ever Youth Climate Dialogue was followed by two additional Dialogues between schools in Switzerland, Niger and Uganda. A video showcasing this innovative initiative was presented by UNITAR’s Executive Director, Mr. Nikhil Seth, at COP21 during the UN Alliance Side Event on Informal Climate Change Education, held on “Education Day” (4th December 2015). It was great to be there in person to see the results of the initiative.

I also had the chance to present my experience with the YCD to UN CC:Learn national and global partners at the UN CC:Learn Annual Meeting on 24 February 2016, in Geneva, Switzerland. I think the YCDs are a valuable initiative and am happy to know that it will be repeated with more schools in the course of 2016!

One of the screens showing the YCD video at COP21, which includes comments from Shamiso. One of the screens showing the YCD video at COP21, which includes comments from Shamiso.

To know more about, check the videos below:

YCD between Malawi and Switzerland: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aaqAAafcRe4&feature=youtu.be

YCD video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qTaQ-AIFth4

About the YCD Programme

The Youth Climate Dialogues is an initiative of the Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC) and The One UN Climate Change Learning Partnership (UN CC:Learn) that aims to provide a forum for youth both in Switzerland and UN CC:Learn partner countries to share their views about climate change. Young people between the ages of 14 and 18 are not only highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change but they are also tomorrow’s business leaders, decision makers and consumers. In the run-up to the annual climate conference in Paris, December 2015, they were given a channel to share their views.