While in principle, gender mainstreaming or analysis is extremely necessary in the planning and execution of climate interventions, the Strategic Youth Network for Development (SYND) argues that, there is over reliance on WOMEN to the detriment of other components of Gender that is, MEN, GIRLS AND BOYS.
Ghana’s climate change policy states that vulnerable groups, such as the disabled, the aged, children, youth and women, are particularly affected as they have poorer coping mechanisms.
Indeed it acknowledged that, the youth form a significant proportion of the population of Ghana and live with the impacts of climate change much longer. As such, the youth are key stakeholders in the climate change process. Inspite of such recognition, the policy makes no concrete provision in tackling the effect of climate change on the youth.
A study on the impact of climate change on women in three districts was conducted which confirmed that, although women undertake 85% of Ghana’s food distribution, they have difficulties in accessing land, land tenure security and formal financial services. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to cite studies conducted on the impact of climate change on young people in Ghana.
The Strategic Youth Network for Development (SYND) has therefore embarked on a “Gender and Climate Change Advocacy” project which primarily sought to train and empower young people as climate change champions in their respective communities or districts. It focused on obtaining the impact of climate change from a gender perspective (specifically pertaining to young males and females) in selected districts.
As part of the project, SYND educated the young people on how to use social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter as tools or medium of creating awareness and sensitizing the public on climate issues. Generally, the young climate activists are expected to work closely with their respective district assemblies in supporting the localizing of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Goal 13 (Climate Action).
A community was selected in each of the Northern, Middle and Southern zones of Ghana as a sample exercise in providing a fair geographical representation of climate change impacts. For each community or district, 5 males and 5 females were targeted.
As potential change agents, SYND is of the view that young people ought to be given equal opportunities and the space not only to add their voice but to deploy their energy, talents and abilities into the fight against climate change. Government’s effort to localizing the SDGs is very laudable thus we want to urge the state to actively engage young people in achieving its aim.
One of the trainees, Ayuumah Sandys is a Level 100 student at the University of Ghana, Legon. At the end of the session, he remarked that “having gained knowledge from the training program, he share the knowledge gained with colleagues who are not aware about climate change. He also now desires to support the need for paperless system or less use of paper so as to save our forest. Additionally, he wants to contribute to the advocacy for the use of clean cookstoves in Ghana”.
The project was implemented with support from Globalgreen Grants Fund (GGF).
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.
Source: Chibeze Ezekiel/Coordinator, Strategic Youth Network for Development (SYND)
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