254YPC is hosting a webinar to discuss the background, current status, and the future of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). The specific webinar objectives include to: raise awareness among the youth on AfCFTA and various opportunities arising upon implementation; discussing the current status of African trade (opportunities, strengths, and challenges); discuss the current Kenyan trade policy framework and its relation with AfCFTA, and finally discuss lessons learned from other Free Trade Agreements.
The panel discussion will be moderated by Dr. Judith Nguli and will feature panelists from Ghana Mr. Emmanuel Bensah Jr.the Deputy Executive Director of the AfCTA Policy Network, and from Kenya Ms. Beatrice Kinyua- Senior Trade Development Officer at the State Department of Trade & Enterprise Development.
254YPC in collaboration with The Africa Public Policy Network (APPN) are hosting a webinar to commemorate International Day of Rural Women and Girls, International Day of the Girl Child, and International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.
The webinar objectives include to: spotlight projects that intersect climate action and poverty for rural women and girls; discuss barriers to implementation including disproportionate impact of climate action on rural women; and brainstorm on solutions to barriers identified.
There’s no doubt that Africa’s women and girls living in rural areas bear the heaviest brunt of climate change. Therefore, as the world converges to discuss climate change commitment during the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26), it’s important that the commitments center around gender-transformative solutions with a biased focus on Africa’s rural women and girls living in rural areas.
This draws from the deliberations of a webinar to commemorate International Day of the Girl Child (11th October); International Day of Rural Women and Girls (15th October); and International Day for the eradication of poverty (17th October) hosted by 254 Youth Policy Cafe & The African Public Policy Network. The webinar was held on 19th October 2021 and themed “The intersection between poverty eradication and climate action”. The objective was to spotlight climate action interventions led by women; to discuss barriers to implementation, and to brainstorm on solutions to barriers.
The webinar discussion centered on matters of agriculture, education, climate change, and their nexus with poverty eradication among rural women and girls in Africa. The webinar featured a panel of three youthful sustainable development champions namely; I) Christine Kathurima, SDG Advocate and Founding Director, Nova Pioneer Schools, Kenya II) Sepo Silishebo, Researcher, UNDP Climate Smart Agriculture Program, Zambia and Jeanne d’Arc Umulisa, Coordinator, Academy of Women Entrepreneurs, Rwanda. The webinar attracted 45 participants from various sectors and countries including Kenya, Uganda, Zambia, Rwanda, Asia among others.
Discussing international and regional frameworks on poverty eradication and climate action, Christine Kathurima highlighted the integration between the SDGs and Africa Agenda 2063 ‘s 7 pillars remains important in the race to end poverty while addressing climate change. In particular, Agenda 2063’s pillar on well-nourished citizens and improved agriculture. She further noted that climate change is a real threat to food supply and incomes and modernized agriculture in Africa as the key adaptation and resilience solution. Therefore, modernizing agriculture can translate to reduced poverty and improved quality of food, becoming self-sufficient and a net exporter.
Adding to the discussion, she noted that education is core in the intersection between climate change and resilient food systems and poverty eradication. Education programs can be avenues to bridge the knowledge gap of aspirations and approaches to address the aforementioned two issues “At Nova Schools-Kenya, the focus is on innovation and leadership for 3-14-year olds. The learners are trained to understand SDGs which shape global goals and aspirations to address climate change and poverty”.
She further noted that given most schools in Africa are in the public sector, unlike private schools, they are less equipped to offer practical skills. Therefore, there is a need to encourage learners to join vocational colleges. This is for the learners to acquire a practical skill that can help them be self-employed and probably create additional jobs. Christine emphasized the need for learning institutions and the larger education sector to take meaningful steps to empower learners to understand and contribute to realizing SDG goals. All stakeholders in the education sector need to amplify voices and expose learners to real-life issues.
Concluding her remarks, Christine Kathurima called upon stakeholders in the agriculture sector to make agriculture fashionable to children and the youth as opposed to making it look like a career for the poor and uneducated. By making it fashionable, it can encourage learners to come up with innovations that drive improved agricultural productivity.
Profiling UNDP “Strengthening climate resilience of agricultural livelihoods in Agro-Ecological Regions (SCRALA)” project in Zambia, Sepo Silishebo emphasized the need to promote conservation agriculture such as agroforestry, intercropping, organic manure, cover cropping, and minimum tillage as a climate-smart approach to resilient food systems and poverty eradication.
The SCRALA project focuses on vulnerable smallholder farmers in 16 districts in Zambia. It has four broad dimensions namely: weather information and water management skills among farmers; promoting the uptake of resilient agricultural practices including access to climate-resilient seeds; access to storage and processing facilities; and market access. Some of the project’s interventions in place include providing climate information through training and agricultural advisory services on appropriate crops and practices; forming and running water user associations; seed multiplication groups; providing farm tools and equipment such as drip kits; and providing alternative sources of livelihoods such as chicken, fish, and beekeeping. To create a special focus on women, the project requires every activity to have a minimum of 40% women.
She noted the high cost of farm inputs remains one of the biggest barriers especially after beneficiaries receive training; this calls for efforts to provide the inputs at lower affordable prices. This can be enhanced through innovation. She also noted that while it’s important to change the mindsets of local farmers, for example from using conventional fertilizers to organic manure, it has not been a walk in the park. She highlighted that some farmers think conventional agriculture is more labor-intensive compared to their traditional farming methods.
Sepo Silishebo called upon the African governments to introduce regulatory frameworks that encourage the private sector to participate in climate action activities. This would encourage the private sector to innovate and come up with better products to mitigate/adapt to climate change such as affordable inputs.
Profiling the unique impact of climate change and poverty on rural women Jeanne d’Arc Umulisa highlighted that African rural women face the highest impact from climate change given their work mainly relies on natural resources including land for agriculture, water, and energy. This affects their households’ access to food, productive economic activities, and incomes.
She called for more concerted efforts to empower women and girls through education. This is to empower them to be wives, mothers, and breadwinners. She also noted that women and girls should not only be viewed as victims/ vulnerable to climate change but also as agents of change. They know their issues and what can be done better from some grassroots to top approach. This can be done by involving women in decision-making processes and empowering them through training. The target for capacity building can be on women with enterprises with a social impact.
During the webinar discussion, the panelist and participants highlighted pertinent policy issues including: