ECL group in front of the MS Training Centre close to Arusha
“If you are a wise person, you are a learner and an educator!”
With this idea, the 3 weeks of exchange within the “Empowerment for Climate Leadership program” (ECL) started in Tanzania, June 2018. 24 young climate activists from India, Tanzania and Germany met there to work and exchange on different ways of implementing the SDGs and Agenda 2030 on local, regional and national level.
Here you find a short recap of some events in the very inspiring first half of the exchange organized by CAN Tanzania:
The program started on June 3rd with an official welcome by the local authorities of Arusha District and CAN Tanzania. In the first two days, Pooja Dave (Centre for Environmental Education India) and Jim Taylor (WESSA South Africa) of the international ECL - Advisory Board joined the group for in-depth discussions and facilitated several workshops: Jim Taylor introduced a Best Practice Story of Citizen Science on river quality (the “mini-SASS”) and the group discussed how Citizen Science can be used as a tool for environmental education as well as for advocacy work. Pooja gave some insights into international climate politics and explained how to organize a Climate Conference of Youth (COY).
One highlight was a meeting with Theodora Aloyce, Senior Park Warden at the Tarangire National Park during which the impact of Climate Change on nature and wildlife conservation and their conflict with the Massai’s cattle became apparent. Since water scarcity and deforestation increase, wildlife as well as cattle need to move to find enough pasture to graze with results to an increasing conflict over land.
Another expert lecture was given by Mr. Alais Morindat, Coordinator, KDSC/IIED project and Lobbyist for Massai & Pastoralist Concerns, expert on Climate Adaptation Funds in Tanzania. The participants also learned from him about indigenous methods for weather forecasting and how these are disturbed by Climate Change. He also introduced the group to the concept of TFT – Tanzanian Flexible Time…
Three days of the program consisted of several interactive trainings on project management by Anna Haas (e.g. the LogFrame), organizational development, leadership skills as well as successful lobbying. In every workshop, the participants worked in their twinning teams or other interculturally mixed groups to discuss different perspectives and to develop ideas according to their personal key topics and their civil society organisations. Moreover, there was time to work in small groups on own project proposals for future exchange projects developed by the participants and their organizations.
Another field visit led the group to grassroot level projects on Climate Change adaptation in Monduli, Arusha. Here, the local communities had constructed a flood prevention and water harvesting system around their villages and to their fields to cope with longer dry periods and more frequent extreme weather events.
Sunday morning, two women from the Hans R. Neumann foundation, presented their holistic “Coffee & Climate” project approach. To support coffee farmers in responding to changing climate conditions, they collect methods and provide trainings on adaptation. Moreover, a team of over 70 trainers offer workshops on household budgeting, gender equality and youth engagement to the families and provides a coffee cooperative network to the farmers, which provides them economic benefits when selling their coffee.
The second week started with a visit at “Solar Sister Entrepreneurs”. This project aims at energy poverty reduction by empowering women through economic opportunities and to introduce small PV-systems for off-grid lighting on household levels. The ECL-participants had the chance to learn how women are integrated in a direct solar sales network and can improve their livelihood in an environmentally friendly way.
After arriving in Dar es Salaam for the second half of the program, the participants had the chance to organize a workshop day under the slogan “Taking Action for Sustainable Development: Realities and Opportunities”. More than 50 guests attended the event, including young activists, scientists and university lecturers as well as East-African media representatives.
The day started with presentations on the Sustainable Development Goals and their implementation in Tanzania. In the afternoon, the attendees could choose between four workshop topics: “Youth for Sustainability”, “Urbanisation & Sustainable Cities”, “Waste Management” and “Artivism – Creative Protest for Social Transformation”. All workshops were facilitated by internationally mixed Tanzanian-German/ Indian-German ECL-teams.
The atmosphere during the day was filled with visions of young people united in their dream to work together on the implementation of different Sustainable Development Goals. As one of the guests and friend of CAN Tanzania, Abdallah Henku, natural resources and climate change expert at the University of Dar es Salaam, summarized at the end of the day: “Nothing is impossible under the sun – play your role in it!”
Two days later, the group travelled to another conference in Dar es Salaam City. The focus of this day organized by CAN Tanzania was on strategies of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to improve cooperation for Agenda 2030/SDG implementation. Among the speakers were Bishop Charles S. Salalah of Africa Inland Church Tanzania, member of Christian Council of Tanzania (CCT) as well as Erick Crispin Nyoni from the Tanzanian Youth Coalition (TYC). Bishop Salalah pointed out: “We have to link top-down and bottom-up strategies. Grassroots activities, faith-based communities and regional and national politics can profit from each other, when they are working together and not against each other to implement Agenda 2030/SDGs” One of the most important outputs of this workshop was the growing global awareness of sustainability necessities and growing climate change consequences at the same time. Civil society is making a great contribution to change slowly the atmosphere inside society towards an environmental and social friendly development approach.
The next stop of the exchange phase was Zanzibar. Several field trips led the group to different climate change adaptation projects. One of the projects was a mangrove reforestation with the local community of Jozani. Here, the farmers and the families face an increasing sea-level rise. If the climate change keeps the current pace, the island will be divided in two parts by 2050 – due to a sea-level rise from 0.2 to 1.0 meters. Moreover, the speed of the winds increases and waves and salt water increasingly often threatens the local villages. Reforesting the mangroves aims at protecting the farmers from floods and their land from salt water intrusion. The project organized by Zanzibar Climate Change Alliance and the JOZANI Environmental Conservation Association cooperates with local schools by rising awareness for the importance of the mangroves and involving the local communities in the reforestation process.
Finally, at the end of the exchange phase, a third workshop took place back in Dar es Salaam in cooperation with the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) Tanzania. The role of Renewable Energies and challenges and opportunities in the Energy Transition in Tanzania were discussed by ECL-participants, members of the FES Young Leaders Forum as well as Mr. Nyanda from the Ministry of Energy and Mr. Shuma from the Tanzania Traditional Energy Development Organization (TaTEDO).
Most importantly, the event provided room for critical questions from the present activists to two government representatives. It became very apparent that the spaces for free speech for CSOs in Tanzania are shrinking and that occasions like this one are crucial to keep the dialogue between civil society and the governing party on the social, economic and environmental development of the country going.
A special thank you goes to Sixbert Mwanga, CAN Tanzania Director, Kelvine Shirima and Onditi Msololo from the CAN Tanzania team for the very diverse program and all the inputs, workshops und experiences they organized during this second ECL-exchange phase! Moreover, thanks to Pooja Daves from CEE India and Jim Taylor from WESSA South Africa for joining and inspiring the ECL-group in Tanzania as parts of the Advisory Board. And Thanks to Kartikeya V. Sarabhai, Centre for Environment Education (CEE) India; Reiner Mathar ESD-expert.net and Christoph Bals, CEO Germanwatch who also improved the project through their work in the international ECL-advisory group and supported the second exchange in Tanzania through video or text messages.
It is impressive how many ties between different stakeholders and organizations within and outside the ECL-group could be built during this exchange and on how many issues the participants could widen their horizons. This journey has certainly strengthened many bi- and multilateral networks that will in the future work together on Climate Action and Youth Empowerment towards a global sustainable development.
Article written by Marie Heitfeld
First two pictures of this article: No1 and 2 Jim Taylor, No16 Miriam Baumhof all others: Germanwatch e.V.