Shujaaz Fans talk climate change at the People’s Dialogue Festival In collaboration with the Danish Embassy

  • Agriculture & Environment
  • 17 Mar 2022

On 10 March, Shujaaz Inc and the Danish Embassy co-hosted a unique panel, to talk about the real-world impacts of climate change on young people – and why it’s crucial that young people are at the decision-making table. Hosted at the People’s Dialogue Festival,  held at the National Museums of Kenya and streamed online – more than 1600 young Kenyans joined the conversation from across the country. 

Ole Thonke, the Danish ambassador to Kenya joined four young panellists in a lively debate on how young Kenyans can take charge of their future, in a fast-changing climate that is already affecting their living conditions and their communities.  

We the young people have the ideas, but our systems, sadly, are not for us. We need to change the conversation from what can the government do for us to what can the government do with us.’

Irene and Frederick, from Viwandani Comprehensive Community Organisation, shared their story and experiences in starting their own green businesses while challenging fellow young people to think about agriculture as a means of earning a livelihood. Julius Mbatia, Climate Member of the Danish Embassy Youth Sounding Board, highlighted the disconnect between government programs and the perceptions of young Kenyans. 

“We have to relate climate change to real-life challenges in Kenya. The conversations on climate change have been left to the corridors of policymakers while it is affecting our day to day lives,” said Julius Mbatia. “We (the young people) have the ideas, but our systems, sadly, are not for us. We need to change the conversation from what can the government do for us to what can the government do with us.” 

Towards the end of the session, the panellists emphasised the need for active mobilisation and action. Young attendees also called for the need for more regular opportunities to have similar discussions – and shared their opinions on how to make climate change conversations relevant and engaging for young Kenyans.  

“Ensure processes are people-centred: Have young people from the ground speak for themselves, ensure access to palatable and consumable information, create spaces for people to express themselves in a language they are comfortable in and create flexible programs that adapt to the realities in Kenya.” Said Irene Asuwa from Ecological Justice. “How do we make these programs flexible and adjustable to the situation on the ground without deviating from the goal?” 

In his closing remarks, the Danish Ambassador to Kenya, Ole Thonke, shared that there are endless opportunities to support young Kenyans “When designing these programs, we need to look at how we can go down to the community level to support the local young entrepreneurs to get the resources they need to operate.”  

This Mic Yetu session is part of our ongoing live online event series, designed to connect our 3M online fans directly to local leaders and decision-makers; to spark vital conversations and elevate the voices of young people. We’re working to hold more sessions with key stakeholders to create spaces for honest, open engagement between young people and key decision-makers.