As climate change specialist, Dr Donald Kamdonyo has noted recently, “climate change has been recognised as one of the biggest challenges that humanity is facing today,” and negatively affects socio-economic sectors across countries. (Malawi Gears Up to Adapt to Climate Change -September 25, 2019). As a primarily agricultural economy that has seen numerous climate-related disasters in recent years, the government of Malawi is well aware of the implications that climate change has for the population’s livelihoods and development. Climate change adaptation is a key priority for the government and numerous civil society organizations to “to increase the resilience of its vulnerable population and ecosystems.”
An important objective of the FutureLife-Now! programme is to equip young people with knowledge and skills that enable them to improve their lives. Earlier this year, the Malawi Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MoEST), in collaboration with MIET AFRICA, hosted a “jamboree” (service delivery event) to cement partnerships among local and international organizations, as well as to advocate for the FutureLife-Now! programme.
“Make Bwaila Green” (a FutureLife-Now! initiative) was launched at the jamboree with a symbolic tree-planting ceremony, led by the SEST (Secretary of Education, Science and Technology). This initiative is in line with the Youth Climate Dialogues (YCDs) which aim at providing a forum for young students to share their learning and reflections on climate change. Students discuss how they perceive climate change, how it affects their lives and what actions they think they could implement. Youth Dialogues allow building knowledge and sharing it with students from another region of the world.
The event was well-attended, with representatives from various government departments and NGOs, as well as head teachers, teachers, youth facilitators, students, mother groups and members of parent–teacher associations from the host school (Bwaila Secondary) and nearby secondary schools, namely: Ngowe Community Day, Mbinzi Community Day and Chinsapo.
Aided by FutureLife-Now!, Bwaila is committed to providing a clean and healthy environment conducive to learning and teaching. It now has a proper waste disposal system that reduces health risks and pest infestation and lowers exposure to biohazards.
As part of the ‘Make Bwaila Green’ campaign, FutureLife-Now! donated tree seedlings that have been planted around the school. In the years to come, they will beautify the school and mitigate climate change. Shrubs and flowers bought through the programme have been planted on the lawns surrounding the classrooms, making the area more attractive and serving as a reminder to learners to use the corridors rather than straying onto the out-of-bounds lawns.