Malawian Youth Climate Leaders meet Scottish Government Ministers

25 Jan 2019
MaSP and 2050 Climate Group.jpg

MaSP and 2050 Climate Group shared experiences of the Malawian Youth Climate Leaders project with Scottish Government Ministers this week.

Promise Matatiyo and Joanna Ziwa met with  Ben Macpherson, the Minister for Europe, Migration and International Development and Roseanna Cunningham, Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform.

Here, they had the opportunity to share their stories about innovative energy solutions, sustainable development education and climate change advocacy in the country.  It was also a chance for the Minister and Cabinet Secretary to hear firsthand about the impact this project has already had on the lives of young leaders in Malawi.

Climate change impacts in Malawi includes extreme weather events that induce devastating flooding and droughts, which negatively affect food and water security, energy security, livelihoods and conservation efforts.

Vera Kamtukule, Chief Executive of the Malawi Scotland Partnership (MaSP) said: "Malawi is a country, which is at the sharp end of the effects of climate change where its impacts are a reality now.

“Nearly half of Malawi’s population is aged 18 or under and so it’s right that young people are key agents of change in this most pressing issue.

“The interconnectivity of the effects of climate change with our economy cannot be over emphasised. I know from Minister Ben Macpherson’s visit to Malawi last summer, which we greatly appreciated, that listening to the voice of Youth is a priority for the Scottish Government as well."

As part of the Scotland’s 2018 Year of Young People, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced funding for a new partnership project between MaSP and 2050 Climate Group in April last year at the Youth Climate Summit in Glasgow.

Together, these organisations with the support from the Scotland Malawi Partnership are collaborating on the Malawi’s Climate Leaders project, which aims to deliver climate change engagement training and create a network of ambitious young individuals that want to contribute to a sustainable future.

The purpose of this partnership is to empower young Malawians and increase their leadership roles in climate action. The role of 2050 Climate Group is to inspire and support youth leadership while facilitating a two-way intercultural exchange between volunteers of both organisations.

MaSP has built many successful connections with existing youth organisations on the ground such as the National Youth Council, creating a steering committee of young individuals aged below 35 to shape the project activities and recruited 26 Youth Leaders from all over Malawi who will participate in the project.

Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Rural Affairs, Roseanna Cunningham said: “I am pleased that the Scottish Government continues to support the efforts of the 2050 Malawi’s Climate Leaders project, which does fantastic work empowering young leaders to support the delivery of a just, low carbon future.

“The Minister for International Development and I were delighted to hear directly from two of the project’s young climate leaders. The work they are doing to raise awareness of the impacts of climate change and building a network of young people who are committed to finding socially-just solutions to tackling climate change in Malawi is truly inspirational.”

Elizabeth Dirth, Trustee of 2050 Climate Group, said: “Young people, as crucial stakeholders in tackling climate change and its coming impacts, should be given the knowledge, tools, and authority to create a future they want to be a part of.

“This holds true just as much in Malawi as it does in Scotland. This project between MaSP and 2050 Climate Group is a key example of an ambitious and innovative climate change project run by young people for young people.

"As Scotland’s youth-led charity empowering young people to take action on climate change, we think it is essential for the international community to recognise and nurture young people to be leaders on climate action and climate justice.”

For more information, visit the 2050 Climate Group website.