Climate change is undeniably affecting all aspects of human life. While efforts are been made at all levels to address its adverse impacts, the poor and vulnerable such as women, girls, boys, aged, people with disability and the aged tend to suffer most due to their poor coping abilities.
As part of contributing to the climate adaptation process in Ghana, the Strategic Youth Network for Development (SYND) conducted a survey dubbed “Climate Change Impacts: The experiences of Youth Leaders in Ghana” targeting youth leaders in James Town, New Abirem and Gumani representing the Southern, Middle and Northern zones of Ghana respectively.
25 youth leaders were engaged in James Town drawn from the following groups No Noise Fund club, United Youth, Ashabienaa Youth, Concern Youth, Willows International, Ga Mashie Association, Great Thinkers and New Generation. In New Abirem, there were 32 youth leaders selected from groups such as Hweakwae Youth Association, Assembly Unit Committee, Yayaaso, and Aduasena. Gumani also recorded 23 youth leaders from Zee Sung youth, Nzagsi- ŋuni association, Nasara Youth Association, N-Gang ŋuni Youth Association, and N-Zagsi ŋuni Youth Association.
Some key observations from the survey were as follows:
1. In terms of gender, young women are not actively involved at the local level in climate change decision making processes.
2. The youth leaders were very much aware of climate change irrespective of their geographical location as gathered from 94%, 97% and 91% of youth leaders in James Town, New Abirem, and Gumani communities respectively.
3. The youth leaders in the southern zone are of the view that use of audio-visuals (40%) is the best medium of communication as compared to Radio (47%) by the youth leaders in the middle zone and Gong-gong (48%) by the youth leaders in the northern zone.
4. Climate change is directly affecting the source of livelihood of the youth. They expressed worry over low yields in fishing; flooding leading to occurrence of sicknesses; low food production or farm produce hence affecting income levels; unbearable heat among others.
5. Partnership among stakeholders such as government, private sector, local leaders, community members and civil society is very essential in mitigating and adapting to the adverse impact of climate change according to the youth leaders.
SYND is of the view that, as government continues to put measures in place to dealing with the impact of climate change, it is imperative that the needs and views of young people are comprehensively embraced to ensure gender equality and social inclusion resulting in “Leaving No One Behind” as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) seek to achieve.
SYND is a youth-oriented NGO which focuses primarily on contributing to ensuring good governance in the natural resources and environment sector through active youth inclusion or partnership with relevant stakeholders such as government, private sector, civil society and media.