A total of 130 representatives came together – some virtually and others in person – to participate in the first regional FutureLife-Now! Sharing Meeting of 2022.
The successful hybrid meeting took place in Cape Town from 15 to18 February and attendees included 74 government officials from 14 of the 16 SADC Member States, as well as representatives from the SADC Secretariat, the Swiss Agency for Co-operation and Development, MIET AFRICA and various development partners.
The meeting provided the SADC Member States with updates on FutureLife-Now! activities, the ESA Commitment evaluation and recommitment process, status of CSTL mainstreaming and the #1 Million Ubuntu Youth Leaders Movement.
The importance of child and youth agency for sustainable development and how to develop it, the value of technology in education, and the urgency of addressing climate change through education, were key areas of focus.
Presentations we made by core programme partners including SADC,
11 March 2022 was a busy day for Lesotho in general and for Semonkong High School in particular. Known as Moshoeshoe’s Day, it is an annual celebration in remembrance of the founder of the Basotho nation, the late King Moshoeshoe I, who died on the 11 March, 1870. A public holiday in Lesotho, this day is often celebrated by schools through sports activities such as athletics and soccer.
These festivities were interrupted by COVID-19, and did not take place during 2020 or 2021. However, this year, FutureLife-Now! project youth facilitator, Thabiso Samuel Sello, together with the school’s sports and cultural committees, made the decision to celebrate this year’s event. The day’s programme included many traditional dances and songs such as Ndlamo, Mokhibo, Selialia, Motebuko, Liphotha, and other cultural activities – all part of the Sesotho Arts and Culture curriculum.
It was an eye-catching event that started with a fun walk from the school to the small town of Semonkong.
Without clean water teachers and learners suffer, and schools cannot reach their educational potential, even if they have skilled teachers and knowledge-hungry learners. It is difficult for even the most motivated learners to learn when they are thirsty, or sick from drinking dirty water, or have to use bathrooms without water. These were some of the challenges Lusitu Secondary School in Zambia faced prior to receiving water.
According to Mweene Andrew Mulimba, one of the senior villagers, “The Lusitu area can be best described as a living hell. It is a hot and drought prone desert, with scorching heat, high temperatures and bare lands, and fresh water is unavailable.” At the secondary school the situation was even more dire for girls reaching puberty. Said one of the teachers, “The bathroom situation was very discouraging. Most female learners dropped out of school when they hit puberty, out of embarrassment due to the lack of privacy and a conducive sanitation environment.”
Climate change has had an alarming effect on the weather in many parts of the world, and Fort Rixon in south-central Zimbabwe is no exception. Initially founded as a British military post during the Ndebele uprisings, it is now an agricultural and ranching hub. However, over time the weather has changed and the area is currently receiving far less rainfall than in years gone past, with negative consequences for agricultural activities and cattle ranching.
But this has not gone unnoticed. Thanks to the Climate Change Club at Fort Rixon High School, there is light at the end of this dark tunnel. Led by the FutureLife-Now! peer educators, school initiatives have been introduced that address the effects of climate change. Much of this has begun with small changes in behaviour and the planting of trees.
Early this year, the club decided to host a tree planting ceremony in order to raise awareness.
Monjeza forest sits alongside the community of Madisi, and is part of the Dowa highland in central Malawi. It was once home to an abundance of wildlife. Nowadays, although the 30-kilometre reserve is still home to over 300 hyenas, many bushbucks and a range of endangered species, it is sadly not the place it once was.
Overpopulation, overdependence on natural resources and overgrazing by domesticated animals have led to deforestation and contributed to the loss of Monjeza’s magnificent reserve.
But all is not lost. The youth of Madisi are taking matters in hand. Over the past two years, the Madisi Youth Club, assisted by FutureLife-Now! youth facilitator, Isaac Dyson, embarked on a project to protect the Monjeza Forest Reserve.
The club is ensuring that the youth have a leading role in taking responsibility and creating solutions for issues that affect their community and the country at large.