Catch Them Young for Climate Change | World Bank Institute (WBI)

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  • World Bank Institute trains youth leaders for climate change
  • Launch of Y- CAN! –  a Youths Climate Activist Network for youth leaders in Africa, Eastern Europe and Central Asia
  • New inter-active web platform to support youth for climate change

December 8, 2010 – What do a school plant project in Nigeria, a youth climate conference in Africa and an inter-active Youth Forum on climate change in Nigeria have in common?

All of them are African initiatives. But more importantly, the driving forces behind these three projects are youth leaders for climate change who have been trained by the World Bank Institute and its partners including the British Council and Istanbul Technical University on how to develop and maintain youth networks  that share knowledge and experience for  climate action.

WBI Supports Youth for Climate Change

Recognizing that knowledge about climate change needs to shift to  action, the World Bank Institute (WBI) in 2009 initiated a climate change pilot program focusing on youth between 17-35 years old in 16 countries.

“We want to empower youth to become actively involved in climate change and be champions for action in their countries and communities,” says Habiba Gitay who is leading the program in WBI. “They are very passionate and committed towards action as they can see how climate change is affecting their countries, communities and thus their future.”

Through a series of climate change awareness events, creation of a knowledge platform and trainings of ‘Youth Master Trainers’ more than 200 youth activists were trained as future leaders.

open-quotesWe want to empower youth to become actively involved in climate change and be champions for action in their countries and communitiesclose-quotesHabiba Gitay, WBI

A web-based knowledge platform provides access to e-learning programs on climate change and e-discussions and encourages peer-to-peer learning on an ongoing process that helps young activists develop their own regional and global networks .

The Results: A National Youth Conference in Africa

Caroline Lumosi  works for the Ecological Society for Eastern Africa (ESEA) and organized an EASA conference on climate change and natural resource use in Eastern Africa after she participated in a youth training.  

“For the first time ever at a conference youth were given a platform to share their experiences, ideas and outcomes. This was done through the Kenya Chapter of the African Youth Initiative (AYICC-Kenya),” says  Lumosi.  The main findings from the ESEA conference will be published in a book and remain a useful reference for climate activists.

New networks and collaboration spun off of this initial event and  led to a partnership between the Kenyan Prime Minister's office and AYICC-Kenya.  A national youth conference on climate change followed in October 2010 bringing together 100 students and young climate activists from across Kenya.

“At a personal level, I have received a lot of recognition through my work with the WBI-British Council youth master training. And I sharpened my leadership skills. I now lead the Kenya master training program and have been invited to speak about our work in Kenya at an upcoming conference in Malawi.” Lumosi adds.

An Inter-active Youth Forum on Climate Change in Nigeria

“It was the dearth of proper awareness and engagement of youths on climate change issues in Nigeria that triggered me to do something,” says Francis Anyeagbu  who organized an interactive Youth Forum on Climate Change in Nigeria. After having been trained as a master trainer, he started training young people with an interest in climate change and environment issues. The interactive Youth Forum had  more than 100participants, students, young professionals working on environmental and sustainability issues and NGO representatives. 

A School Tree Planting Project in Nigeria

Terfa Adaka started a school tree planting project in secondary schools in Gombe state in Nigeria. “The idea is to “catch them young,” says  Adaka. “If students at the secondary level embrace a climate friendly culture it is better for our all future.They will share what they know with other youths through community work. The Ministry of Education has  allowed me to carry out the project in schools while, the Ministry of Environment provides the technical advice. I source for financial assistance from public spirited individuals, organizations and from personal contribution to push the project forward. Sometimes, one of the ministries provides me with a vehicle to go around but we have to fuel it,” he adds.

Y-Can! – a Youth Climate Activist Network

Supported by WBI, the young master trainers  recently launched Y- CAN! – a Youth Climate Activist Network for youth leaders in Africa, Eastern Europe and Central Asia. The networks help to tailor climate change knowledge to the needs of local youth, find new materials and make best use of social media.
Y-CAN!  is supported through an interactive web-based platform that uses radio, cell phone messaging and drama as information-sharing tools. WBI coaches these young master trainers and partners with the British Council.

Recently, Anyeagbu was selected by the British Council to participate in a large Youth Conference in China. Two other master trainers were nominated by WBI and Youth Entrepreneurship and Sustainability to participate at the 5th Global YES Summit – Rework the World, an international summit on youth and climate change. 

For more information on WBI’s climate change work with youth please contact