AGYW have now become agents of climate action joining the global response to climate crisis. They are motivated by their determination to improve the wellbeing of women and girls in the communities who are threatened by the inequality and discrimination experienced by adolescents and young women now amplified by climate change. Currently, Climate action is being undertaken by many stakeholders as stepped up efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and strengthen resilience among communities and develop adaptive capacity to climate induced impacts. It is hoped that climate actions will lead to: climate relaxed hazards in all countries, integrating climate change measures into national policies, strategies and planning, improving education, awareness raising, human and institutional capacity with respect to climate change mitigation, adaption, impact reduction and early warning. This strategic engagement to respond to climate crisis is informed by Sustainable development goals, Goal 13 on climate action with an official mission to take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.
AGYW advocates for Gender justice and Girls' rights
Climate change has increased inequalities as one of the greatest challenges of the 21st century being faced by Adolescent girls and young women. AGYW in commemoration of International Women’s Day 2022 with COMAGEND, held a country side chat in the woods to assess the impact of climate crisis on them vis-à-vis their daily realities. An extra dose of caregiving, exposure to violence and abuse, lack of basic amenities like water and fuel, has been increased. This is climate justice concern adding to gender justice, reproductive health justice, economic justice and all. According to the UN, there is a need for gender sensitive responses to climate change, yet the average representation of women in national and global climate negotiating bodies is below 30%. Though the country side chat was in Bamenda with AGYW from grassroots communities their experiences matched those of women and girls in similar setting world. They however expressed the need for them to be included in decision making spaces especially in ensuring climate justice. In addition, their indigenous practices to climate change should be factored in all climate action.
Storytelling brings out the facts, emotions and determination on issues
A participant to this country side chat Ngo Modest says “Having this chat with my peers has given me a better understanding of what climate change is all about and how it affects women and girls. I have been able to relate it to my local reality and I stand for the fact that AGYW should be included in climate action so as to #BreakTheBias it is contributing to keeping AGYW behind.”
Co-creating a gathering for climate action through this activity in a friendly atmosphere with these gender, and girls’ rights advocates was fulfilling. The AGYW who analysed the situation of climate crisis in Cameroon and its implications on their rights, gained knowledge and skills relevant to combat climate change especially from a feminist perspective. I was fascinated with their brainstorming as nature spoke to them and the eventual resolution to be intentional in carrying out actions leading to climate justice. It was an exchange of personal experiences and a look into common adaptation measures for women and girls in our local context. Separating after committing to advocate collectively for a space in decision-making arenas as AGYW to add their voice in a way that meets their needs and aspirations made me optimistic. I look forward to strong actions from them to influence policies and climate action for climate justice, Mali Martha-Noel, Communication and Advocacy lead.