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.
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.
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!
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