African youth and faith groups discuss intentional discipleship and climate change
Allen Ottaro, GCCM Steering Committee Member and Founding Director of CYNESA in Africa writes:
It was a proud moment for young people, when Gertrude Clement, a sixteen year old from Mwanza, Tanzania, stood to speak at the signing ceremony of the Paris climate agreement, at the UN headquarters in New York. “Climate change threatens our life, our health, as well as our education. You may think that we are too young to know about the risks and reality of climate change, but we see it in our daily lives”, said Gertrude.
These risks and realities have been reflected in several African countries, in just the past month. Landslides in Rwanda and Uganda, massive floods in Kenya and South Africa, have all led to loss of lives and property-with the poor bearing the brunt of it. These and other critical environmental issues, will be the focus of the 2nd United Nations Environment Assembly, which kicks-off officially from the 23rd of May. The ‘CYNESA Laudato Si’ month’ (19th May to 19th June), will be our way of marking the first anniversary of the Pope Francis’ groundbreaking encyclical on care for our common home, and whose final week will culminate with the ‘Laudato Si’ Week’.
CYNESA Zambia joined the Young Green Anglicans in their International Youth Discipleship and Climate Change Conference in Lusaka, on 4th-11th April, organized by Rev. Racheal Mash, the Environmental Coordinator for the Anglican Church of Southern Africa under the Theme “Raising Change Agents.”
CYNESA Zambia Country Director, Agness Shikabi, gave a presentation on CYNESA and its mission as a platform for all young Catholics in Africa, promoting responsible stewardship of the environment. CYNESA is a non-governmental, not-for-profit organization that brings together young people from different parts of Africa to work on environmental sustainability in the continent. In the presentation she highlighted the keys areas CYNESA Zambia has focused on in the past years which include advocacy, sensitization and partnerships with other CSOs.
This conference was attended by Young people from 8 countries: Zambia, Mozambique, Malawi, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Swaziland and South Africa. Each country represented, was given a task to make a presentation of the Major environmental issues that affect their countries.
From the eight countries that were participating, the major environmental issues were tabulated on one list as follows: deforestation, pollution, soil erosion, and water scarcity. CYNESA participated in the group presentation that highlighted on creating discipleship on solid waste management. The conference concluded with Rev. Racheal Mash challenging the young people to continue being environmental stewards and help in the fight for environmental injustices in society.
Country Director, CYNESA Zambia.