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CYNESA Hosts Workshop on Climate Change Toolkit

Posted by cynes.africa on April 4, 2014 at 9:20 PM

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The Catholic Youth Network for Environmental Sustainability in Africa (CYNESA), with the support of the Alliance of Religions and Conservation (ARC) and with teh collaboration of 4 Jesuit schools in Kenya, Tanzania and Zimbabwe, has embarked on an ambitious project to develop a climate change toolkit for youth in Jesuit institutions in Africa.

About 20 participants gathered for a preparatory workshop that officially marked the project's launch. They included science teachers from St.Peter Claver High School (Dodoma) and Loyola High School (Dar es Salaam), Tanzania and St. Aloysius Gonzaga High School (Nairobi). A number of Jesuits, including the director of youth and young adult ministry of the Zimbabwe province, also took part as participants and speakers during the two-day event at the Don Bosco Youth Educational Services centre in Karen, Nairobi, March 21st-23rd 2014.

The overall goal of the project is to enhance the knowledge, skills and engagement of young people in Jesuit instituions in Kenya, Tanzania and Zimbabwe, with respect to climate change, in the context of Catholic Social Teaching and the Ignatian Spirituality.

 

Fr. Etienne Triaille, SJ, Advisor of the Holy See to UNEP and UN Habitat speaks about Ecology and Ignatian Spirituality

 

The preparatory workshop was aimed at gaining an understanding of the context of climate change issues in Africa, and more specifically in the three pilot countries of Kenya, Tanzania and Zimbabwe. Further, participants explored how young people that they accompany and form in Jesuit institutions can be effectively involved in offering a faith-inspired response and what kind of toolkit might help guide such response and activities.

The latest report of the second Working Group of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released last week in Tokyo, illustrated the impacts of a changing climate on both ecosystems and human systems. It gives the example of the floods of the Zambezi River in Mozambique in 2008 which left 90,000 people homeless. These droughts and floods have in recent years increased in both intensity and frequency. The Horn of Africa, for instance, experienced in 2011/2012, what was described as the worst drought in 60 years. The report goes on to highlight that climate change is impacting negatively on food security while multiplying existing health vulnerabilities, including insufficient access to safe water and improved sanitation.

In this context, inviting young people of faith in Africa to be part of the solution, and involving them in the design and implementation of activities in mitigating and adapting to climate change is both an imperative and a climate-smart investment now and for the future. Indeed, during the life of the project, CYNESA in collaboration with the pilot schools will run forums on climate change, with the students in Kenya, Tanzania and Zimbabwe, incorporating a variety of proposed activities such as tree-planting, music, poetry and art.

 

 Some of the workshop participants at the conclusion of the two-day workshop in Nairobi, Kenya

 

The CYNESA Climate Change toolkit project is a step in this direction. ARC as our key partner have generously offered us seed-funding to get us started. We hope that as the project develops, we will be able to rope in Jesuit institutions in more regions of Africa, especially in Central and Western parts of the continent. We take this opportunity to invite other partners to support us in realizing this exciting project.

 

Allen Ottaro.

 

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