The Climate Change Workshop for young people, a project executed by GERAS Cameroon, was initiated by a female youth leader. Miss Tchangoue Nina is a youth leader from Cameroon, holder of a Bachelor Degree in Marketing Communication, a volunteer for more than six years in youth-led organizations such as Youth Outreach Programme Cameroon and the Commonwealth Youth Association of Cameroon. She is a talented young person working actively to increase access to education, improving the quality of education and fostering global citizenship. As a committed advocate for education as the most powerful tool to empower young people around the world to fully realize their potential, Nina has demonstrated expertise, experience and leadership, creating real and lasting positive change on the lives of her peers. These qualities earned her a place on the UN Global Education First Youth Advocacy Group– a group of 15 young leaders from around the world selected to support the implementation of the UN Global Education First, an initiative of the United Nations Secretary General. Nina is fully engaged in youth development as she trains, educates and informs young people on pressing and current issues affecting them such as children’s rights, the SDGs and life skills so that they should make informed decisions, thus contributing to the development process.
In the course of designing, implementing and redesigning the Climate Change Workshop for young people, an idea came up to start the Nina Awards. The main focus of the program is to empower young girls as frontline climate justice ambassadors. This program will thus sponsor, empower and encourage the participation of young girls in the climate change workshop for young people; and related environmental conservation and sensitization activities.
According to AYCEOs Climate Change – Take Action Now! Girls and young women are often especially vulnerable to the negative impacts of climate change. In many societies, girls and young women are expected to carry out tasks that are particularly affected by climate change. For example, in times of drought, young girls and women may have to walk much further and more frequently to collect safe water, leaving them vulnerable to disease and violent attack along their route; and with a little time to go to school, generate income or take care of their families.
Differences in what is expected of and for girls and young women in many societies means that they may lack access to information, education and resources, making it more difficult for them to respond to natural disasters, including those linked to climate change. On top of this, the way authority is structured in some cultures means that girls and young women often do not have their views taken into account by decision makers, making it difficult for them to change things for the better. Boys and men must be made aware of the importance of including girls and young women in community efforts.
However, just because girls and young women are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change does not mean that they are powerless to take action. In fact, their daily interactions with the natural world means that they often hold specialized knowledge that can help us understand the consequences of climate change and develop effective strategies to tackle these problems. The full participation of girls and young women, and their leadership, is critical in taking action against climate change.
Below is an excerpt of an exclusive interview with Nina concerning the award:
GERAS – What motivated you to propose to GERAS the project “Climate Change workshop for young people”?
NINA – I first of all trusted GERAS as a youth led organization which is concerned about climate change. I told myself linking up with GERAS will create more impact into the lives of children and youth for which this initiative was conceived for. I was really convinced after I checked on GERAS past activities on their website and blog on environmental education and I was amazed.
GERAS – You recently talked and agreed with GERAS’ Coordinator on “The NINA Awards” for young female Climate Change Ambassadors, what is your feeling, and future of this special award?
NINA – I feel honored to know such an award bears my name and at the same time, I like the idea behind it, which is to give a stand for girls, thus to encourage female leadership and self-esteem as Climate Change Ambassadors. I support this initiative fully. I think this special award has a bright future. What is important now, it is to start it small, that is in a local community and gradually I think it will be replicated in other communities, and with time based on its impact and success it should move national and then international.
GERAS – Thanks for responding to our questions
NINA – You are welcome.
Read the full interview and project report here.
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