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Empowering Climate Heroes

"The Global Learning event provided more clarity and created more solidarity among country teams while generating opportunities for cross-learning." Leading the Oxfam of Economic Justice and Resilience Programme in Bangladesh, Khalid Hossain shared his expertise on climate resilience during the 5 day event. Ensuring the Empower Youth for Work programme is integrated with other projects, both in terms of receiving ideas and providing ideas, Khalid also focuses on national level policy advocacy on climate change.

Climate change (CC) and global warming are already transforming life on Earth. When we talk about the impact of climate change, we mostly emphasize on environmental consequences like rising sea levels, elevated temperatures and melting glaciers. In some parts of the world, those physical changes already are affecting daily life. The poorest residents in many coastal countries of Africa and Asia are being pushed to live in the most dangerous zones while extreme weather is affecting youth unemployment.

The need for Youth to adapt

According to a research report commissioned by Plan International, green-skills training could help to tackle the effects of climate change. Green skills are the skills needed to work in an environmentally friendly way, and have been shown to improve productivity. However, as most young people in developing countries don't have access to sustainable work practices, the report argues that all training programmes should involve green elements to equip the next generation with skills to tackle the effects of climate change. An International Labour Office (ILO) paper explores the implications of climate change and the world of work and the need for the work of to adapt to it. Research suggests that skills requirements are changing because climate change has become one of the drivers of skills needs.

Empowering Climate heroes

The Empower Youth for Work programme is endeavoring to nurture youth leaders through training and capacity building of climate change knowledge. Campaigns empower youth to become climate heroes focusing on;

Agency and skills: Several youth groups have been formed and motivated to take climate friendly actions like the planting of trees and social campaigning on the issue. The project has the scope to provide knowledge on climate change through the life-skill trainings. Bangladesh has already provided introductory ideas on climate change to more than 4300 youngsters. Considering the  environmental consequences of climate change and shift in job demand, the project aspires to provide green skills training in; solar technology, water technology, biogas installations, resilient cropping and organic farming. These green skills will not only create new job opportunities, but also stimulate entrepreneurship.

Economic opportunities - Jobs & Entrepreneurship: Only providing required knowledge and skills will not ensure the economic establishment of youth in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Ethiopia and Indonesia. With this in mind, we must support the development of climate-resilient enterprises by providing young entrepreneurs the necessary support for business development and acces to green jobs. Linking financial institutions and supporting young entrepreneurs in easily accessing funds. Some banks even offer green financing. There are several organizations working on resilient agriculture and mitigation technologies, for these have the most potential for generating green jobs.  We need to ensure good quality training and information available, so that the youths can get the apprenticeship or job opportunities in different sectors; Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing, Energy, and Services.

Enabling Environment: As mentioned earlier, youth can take support actions towards raising awareness and creating demand for green jobs & enterprises. By setting an examples in following a green lifestyle, volunteering in activities that address climate change, setting up campaigns and/or an environment protection committee. In recent years, along with the government, trade unions and employers organizations have started to recognize environmental demands and issues.  As a result, both workers and employers are increasingly participating in environmental policy making. Moreover, Global Initiatives such as UN Joint Framework Initiative on Children, Youth & Climate Change actions are also playing important roles at policy level.

Inspiration from around the world

* Ronny, a water entrepreneur from coastal saline-prone area of Bangladesh, accessed loan and purchased a water treatment machine and materials to sell potable water.

*Between 2012-2015, Womens Water Training Academy trained 12 teams from Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. Not only did the graduates build 107 rainwater harvesting systems, 700 toilets and 427 water filters, they made money and wield power – several have been invited to the decision-making table, influencing local water boards and other policy groups. This literal ripple effect has provided clean water and sanitation to over 30,600 people.

* A cooperative of 35 women in Ouarkhokh installed a drip irrigation system in two acres of land within Ouarkhokhs cooperative garden site. Through this the cooperative members can increase the amount of irrigated land in their garden plot by 75% and save money, time, and labor through efficient water use.

* Forty-year-old Mize Juma Othman installs a new photovoltaic panel on a home in Matemwe village, on the Tanzanian island of Zanzibar. Othman trained for six months in India to become one of the first 13 "solar mamas" in Zanzibar, able to install, troubleshoot and repair the systems.

Explore Khalid's "Climate Action Lens" presentation.

Read more on the Global Learning event here