The effects of climate change are increasingly felt across the globe, not least in southern Africa. Malawi has been particularly badly hit, with, for example, the monstrous Cyclone Freddy having wreaked devastation across the country last year. So FutureLife-Now!’s focus on climate action has resonated in the schools where it has been introduced.

This was the backdrop for two exciting virtual interschool climate dialogues that FutureLife-Now! facilitated in October 2023. Under the theme, “Understanding Climate Change: Exploring its Impact on Different Sectors”, the main objective was to afford learners a platform to exchange experiences, share best practices, discuss challenges and propose solutions pertaining to climate change. Ngowe and Natola Community Day Secondary Schools engaged together in the first of the dialogues on 9 October, with Mbinzi Community Day Secondary School and Dowa Secondary School following the next day.

Learners from the Mbinzi partaking in the climate dialogue

The comprehensive discussions were stimulating and varied, with learners engaging vigorously on the effects of climate change across pivotal sectors, such as agriculture, health, education, energy, and the economic sphere. Importantly, the discourse extended beyond merely identifying problems but what also emerged were insightful suggestions for adaptation and mitigation measures to address effectively the challenges posed by climate change.

“Climate champions” at the schools shared their enthusiasm.

I am thrilled to have participated in this dialogue. We have gained invaluable insights from Mbinzi Community Day Secondary School, particularly their inspiring learner led climate change projects such as compost manure production and briquette making. These are practices we are eager to adopt at our school. – Dyson Phiri, Form IV (Dowa Secondary School)

This was echoed by another learner, Blessings Nkhwazi of Mbinzi Community Day Secondary School, who emphasised the importance of the platform in amplifying the voices of young people. Furthermore, the dialogue had allowed them to share experiences and highlight challenges, as well as to propose solutions to policymakers. She believed the voices will resonate, and those in authority will take meaningful action.

The FutureLife-Now! education coordinator, Michael Chigalu, is documenting the proceedings so they can be presented to key stakeholders, including the National Youth Network on Climate Change and other civil society organisations. The dialogues have, and will, serve as catalysts for positive change and foster a collaborative approach among schools to combat the multifaceted challenges posed by climate change. As the outcomes are disseminated to influential bodies, there is hope that the insights shared by these young voices will influence policy decisions and prompt concrete actions toward a sustainable future.




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Young people unite for climate action | Learners at schools in Malawi engage in virtual discourses for climate resilience