In a momentous stride toward empowering young African activists in the realm of climate justice, the fourth cohort of the Nairobi Summer School on Climate Justice was recently launched during the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance’s (PACJA) retreat in Addis Ababa.
This pioneering initiative, spearheaded by PACJA, has successfully unfolded over the past three years, with each cohort attracting an increasing number of passionate participants.
The inaugural cohort in 2021 drew nearly 1000 applicants, showcasing the growing interest among African youth in addressing climate justice issues.
Subsequent years witnessed even greater momentum, with 1969 applicants for the second cohort in 2022 and a notable turnout for the 2023 cohort. The fourth cohort, scheduled for mid-year at Chuka University, continues to build on the success of this transformative initiative.
During the launch ceremony, Mithika Mwenda, the Executive Director of PACJA, emphasized the crucial role of imparting knowledge to youth. He highlighted the necessity for young activists to comprehend the dynamics between the global north and south, a key aspect in advocating for climate justice on a global scale. Mwenda stated, “There is a need to impact knowledge to youths so that they get information on how the global north relates to the global south.”
Mr. Mutembei, the Vice Chancellor of Chuka University, echoed this sentiment, stressing that now is the opportune moment for African youth to wholeheartedly embrace the program and engage in active learning. Mutembei shared, “This is the time African youths should take this program seriously and enroll and learn.”
The launch occurred during PACJA’s retreat in Addis Ababa, where discussions revolved around taking stock, strategizing, and reflecting on the events of 2023 while planning for the challenges and opportunities that 2024 may bring.
Two alumni, Zandisile from Eswatini, and Umi from Djibouti, shared their transformative experiences at the Nairobi Summer School on Climate Justice. Zandisile articulated how the program profoundly altered her understanding of climate change matters, stating, “The program changed my knowledge on how to handle matters of climate change.” Umi passionately urged fellow African youth to seize this opportunity and apply, emphasizing, “The modules studied at our two weeks training program are so important in understanding what the Paris Agreement talks about.”
Both alumni highlighted the paramount importance of the program’s modules in comprehending the intricacies of the Paris Agreement and emphasized the necessity of having well-informed youth in climate negotiations.
The program not only imparts knowledge but also serves as a dynamic platform for bringing African youth together. It facilitates networking opportunities and encourages exploration within the climate-related space, fostering a sense of global solidarity among participants.
As the fourth cohort gears up to convene at Chuka University, the Nairobi Summer School on Climate Justice continues to play a pivotal role in equipping young African activists with the skills and knowledge needed to champion climate justice on the global stage. With each passing year, the initiative gains momentum, furthering its mission to ignite the power of youth for enhanced global solidarity on climate justice.
*The Author is a Journalist from Kenya