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Climate Resilience: Education Empowers African Youth to Lead the Way

Apr 12, 2023

“Africa contributes less than 4% of carbon emissions, but we suffer the most. The future is at stake, mostly (for) young children. We’re not sure whether we’re heard when we speak, or if we’re just ignored.” – Ugandan Youth Activist Leah Namugerwa addressing COP27, Nov 10 2022

On Earth Day, let’s reflect on Africa’s greatest climate-resilience resource, its vibrant, energetic, resourceful youth. In Africa, 70% of the population is under 30, making it the most youth-populated continent in the world. At Asante Africa Foundation, we believe that the youth, especially girls, need to be at the center of creating climate resilience. 

Today we remember the mission created on the first Earth Day in 1970. This mission is to use education to tackle environmental issues. At Asante Africa Foundation, we work in remote areas of rural East Africa to educate youth on sustainable practices. We incorporate climate education content into our capacity-building training programs. Our sustainability partners, the Obama Foundation – Young African Leader Initiative (YALI) and Tusk Trust’s – Pan African Conservation Education Project (PACE) supply the curriculum. Hands-on project activities empower youth to use their creativity and innovation to create income-generating, climate-resilience initiatives. 

Youth from our programs demonstrate that environmental responsibility is possible with educational tools and practical skill sets. Our success stories show that our youth are confidently tackling the pressing challenges facing their communities and are leading the way to a climate-resilient future.

Here is a look at ten Asante Africa Foundation youth’s innovative sustainability solutions. (click the links for complete stories).

1. Water Purification, Kenya

Youth Livelihood Program (YLP) club leaders Margaret and Raina put their scientific skills to work and created a clean water purification system. The purpose of this purification system was to address a lack of clean water in their community. Their device was so groundbreaking that it won the 2022  Young Scientist Kenya Award! Margaret and Raina received seed capital from the award to start their own business. The girls are scaling up water purifier production for their communities!

2. Drought-resistant Horticulture, Uganda

During the pandemic, YLP club members from Ssingo School established a drought-resistant eggplant and green pepper farm.  This farm generates income and provides a fast-growing protein source for their community.

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3. Fish Farming, Tanzania

At Magamba Secondary School, students found inspiration and motivation to begin their venture. The students used their YLP training to create a sustainable fish farm to feed their community. The students farm tilapia, a popular fish in nearly all sub-Saharan countries that is relatively easy to raise. They have persevered through many challenges and welcome the opportunity to share their experience and knowledge today.

4. Solar Powered Cooking, Kenya

Mercy (17) used her YLP training to use local resources to create a solar cooker made from worn tires, aluminum foil, and glass. This cooker harnesses solar power to replace firewood and charcoal in cooking. Mercy presented her invention to President Kenyatta, who commended her for innovation at such a young age! She plans to expand the cooker into a profitable business.

Mercy

5. Sustainable Rabbit Farming, Uganda

After completing YLP training, Stephen established a rabbit-keeping business. The rabbits supply meat.  Rabbit feed comes from the garden fertilized by rabbit droppings. This cycle creates an environmentally sustainable, income-generating enterprise.

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6. Keeping their Environment Clean and Attractive, Tanzania

Hussein and Mohamed are putting their YLP entrepreneurial skills to use for the benefit of their local environment. The idea of making durable, rain-resilient cement flower pots came to them when they saw people in their community constantly replacing flower baskets after the rainy season. They have high aspirations of becoming extraordinary innovators of new techniques for making their flowerpots.

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7. Fighting Kwashiorkor (Protein Deficiency Disease), Kenya

Girl-led YLP alumni built the Riziki Poultry Farm. The farm provides their community with an eco-friendly method of incorporating white meat and egg protein into their diets. Riziki Poultry Farm won the Prince’s Trust International Enterprise Challenge sustainability award in Nairobi.

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8. Reducing Deforestation, Uganda

An YLP alumnus, Isaiah, is building briquettes to replace charcoal wood-based burning. Isaiah makes the briquettes by mixing waste materials (bean husks, maize plants, and banana peeling) with cassava flour and clay soil. The briquettes are fuel efficient, and Isaiah can produce enough for most of his community. While generating income, Isaiah is also fighting deforestation in his community!

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9. Making Sustainable Sanitary Pads, Kenya

Zipporah, an alumna from our Wezesha Vijana Program, works with pupils from her school (boys included) to make and sell sustainable sanitary pads in her community. This project ensures girls in her school don’t miss out on school during their menses.

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10. Growing Vegetables in Greenhouses, Kenya

Alumni of Lolokwe Secondary School in Kenya are growing vegetables in greenhouses. These vegetables would not otherwise grow in the region’s semi-arid land. The youth built a drip irrigation system from rainwater catchment water tanks. This irrigation system helps solve water shortage issues in the area. The youth used profits from the vegetable farm to start a poultry business.

WRITTEN BY: Gillian Deenihan

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Happy Earth Day from all of us at Asante Africa Foundation! We leave you with the African Proverb:

“It is the young trees that make up the forest.” 

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