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Knowledge Creation and Youth Empowerment in Africa

by Donna Reynolds

This generation and our children will pay the most unexpected costs for climate change. We must create a strong group of youth and equip them with the necessary knowledge and skills to tackle climate change's most substantial threat to our future. Among others, this action requires the involvement of the youth in various areas related to climate change, including training at all levels, research and development, and multiple informative events such as expeditions.

The Antarctic Expedition, currently being hosted by 2041 Climate Force, and it's "Leadership on the Edge" program, is one of the forums that will provide vital knowledge and skills to the youth. The primary mission of this Expedition is to develop and nurture young leaders to go off into the world as advocates for the Antarctic and polar regions. Based on the acquired knowledge, they will continue positively impacting their communities, government and non-government institutions, and the private sector to benefit the planet we all call home. Countless Expedition alumni have gone on to do incredible things, all inspired by their Expedition experiences.

The acquired skills and knowledge gained from the Expedition and the international team on board will provide convenient, easy solutions for tackling climate change right here and right now. Through learning and understanding, we can help shape more effective interventions around climate change, influence policy recommendations, and make aware the cultural adaptation of the communities that are needed to adjust to the environment. Each team member will learn how to educate, motivate, inspire and empower their communities to make a positive environmental difference back in their home countries.

There are countless ways to help combat climate change. Many people assume that they cannot make a significant impact because the steps they take to protect the environment seem too simple – but these are often the most powerful. The people that make the most important difference are the ones who do little things consistently. Each decision we make – from choosing how we power our homes, how we eat, and what we buy – can make a huge difference.

Step by step, we can use this knowledge to make a real and significant change and help achieve the visions of the SDGs that eliminate poverty, respect planetary boundaries and leave no one behind. We can realize the vision by creating progress in ensuring good health and well-being, clean water and sanitation, clean energy, decent work and economic growth, building sustainable cities and communities, encouraging responsible consumption and production, creating partnerships for the goals, and so much more.

Equipping the youth with adequate knowledge and skills and assisting them in taking the leadership role in the fight against climate change impacts is one of the SDG Center for Africa's (SDGCA) missions. Against this backdrop, the Center has supported a young South African in participating in the 2041 ClimateForce Antarctica Expedition taking place in March 2022. This participation is a decisive first step in ensuring that new and innovative knowledge is brought to Africa, as the newfound skills and ideas learned during the Expedition can be spread throughout communities and nationals through workshops and presentations.


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