Wanjira Maathai Encourages Youth Engagement at Africa Climate Summit

The Africa Youth Climate Assembly (AYCA23) continues into its second day at the KICC in Nairobi. The event has attracted the participation of approximately 35 countries.

On day two, the proceedings commenced with a speech from the distinguished environmentalist, Wanjira Maathai.

The event aimed to unite and amplify the voice of African youth and children towards climate action. It was graced by the presence of Wanjira Maathai, the head of the Wangari Maathai Foundation and daughter of the late Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai. She praised the bold step taken by the youths.

During her speech at the ongoing assembly, Wanjira Maathai urged the youths to take advantage of the forum created for them by the Africa Climate Summit to help their voices be the change that Africa needs in the fight towards sustainable climate and a dignified life amidst climate change in Africa.

“This forum is all about We Africans and our dignity, having your own spaces as youth will make it easy for you to work towards elevating and focusing on our dignity for dignified jobs and dignified lives,” Wanjira said.

Wanjira Maathai also highlighted the problems that African countries face in the fight for dignified lives and reminded present delegates that solutions can be found and executed by African youth and children through innovation.

In reference to the hummingbird story by the late Wangari Maathai, she referred to the youth in the spaces as the hummingbirds of our time, enabled fully and containing the light that’s essential hence the need to take up the spaces and fill those seats.

“Let us shift from the trend that solutions come from outside Africa to the sense that we are the solutions. People are facing hard times like drought, and floods, and everyone is stuck, but it is you who will be at the center of the solution innovating ways of combating such challenges in Africa.” Wanjira said.

Wanjira Maathai further called upon youths and climate leaders to find innovative ways of leveraging renewable energy since Africa has so much potential to create millions of solar energy engineers.

Wanjira Maathai
Wanjira Maathai in company of youth Leaders Elizabeth Wathuti, Charlene

“Africa has too much potential when it comes to taking advantage of renewable energy; Kenya has about 4000 solar engineers while China has about 4 million engineers. Africa has a rich future in solar energy transformation and we need youths to be solar engineers so that the renewable energy sectors grow as jobs grow for our young Africans.” She added.

She urged the young people to be courageous and committed in their efforts to achieve a sustainable climate and improve the quality of life for Africans.

This platform, created for you, will present numerous challenges and responsibilities. However, it is your responsibility to remain focused and initiate dialogues that will aid in comprehending your goals as Africans. You are our beacon of hope in the quest to discover solutions for our continent, specifically in the areas of renewable energy, sustainable climate, and dignified lives.

During the event, United Nations Lead Antonio Guterres also urged youths and climate leaders to take advantage of the assembly to mobilize fellow colleagues and youth to connect with different leaders and make their voices heard in this fight against climate change.

“I am asking all leaders to act and turn up for change, mobilize your friends and colleagues and networks, and use this assembly to make connections and to make your voices heard,” said Antonio Guterres.

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