We are so proud of our Community Relations Officer Joseph Mwakima, who has been sponsored by Barclays to attend the 2014Â One Young World Summit and has been selected as a Delegate Speaker in the Sustainable Development Plenary Session.
One Young World is the preeminent global forum for young leaders aged 18-30 and gathers the brightest young leaders from around the world, empowering them to make lasting connections and develop solutions to some of the world’s most pressing issues.
The One Young World Summit has already inspired young leaders worldwide to become change leaders of their generation. This year it will be held in Dublin, Ireland, and will be attended by some of the worldâs most inspiring thought leaders including Barclays CEO Antony Jenkins, former President of Ireland Mary Robinson, former Secretary General of the UK Kofi Annan and musician and activist Sir Bob Geldof.
Joseph will attend the Summit as part of the Barclays delegation. Following the Summit, Joseph will be known as a One Young World Ambassador and will return to the Kasigau Corridor community with a wealth of new knowledge and connections.
In addition, he was one of hundreds of delegates who applied to be a speaker, and was one of only 36 who were successful! Josephâs answers to this application questionnaire give us a glimpse into his commitment and work â both personal and with Wildlife Works â to educate and empower his community about how they can help mitigate climate change.
We are honored to be able to attract and support such talented minds in the middle of the Kenyan bush!
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77% of young people feel their country has been affected by extreme weather in the last year – how has climate change affected your country?Â
In Kenya, there is massive change in rainfall patterns. We rely on agriculture, so when yields suffer so does our economy. Last year, weak rainfall caused food insecurity, with people in NE Kenya dying.
Major floods in coastal towns have destroyed homes and caused loss of life. In my community, thereâs significant drought. Thereâs no pasture for livestock and women and children walk 10km daily to find water. The situation is worsening: last year local farmers couldnât harvest any crops.
In what ways are you working to combat climate change or protect the environment?
I am a Community Relations Officer at the Kasigau Corridor REDD+ project. We protect 500k acres of threatened forest, generating 1.2 million tonnes of CO2-e offsets yearly, preserving endangered biodiversity including African elephants and uplifting the lives of 110k rural Kenyans. We work closely with communities to find alternatives to deforestation, i.e. agri intensification to fight food insecurity. Deforestation accounts for 20% of global emissions (more than transportation) so I am proud of my vital role in this landmark project.
In what ways do you contribute to making your business/organization more sustainable?
My job is to educate our community of 110k people about the causes of climate change, mitigation and adaptation measures. Local people don’t know the link between deforestation and climate change, so I help them understand environmental conservation and sustainable development.
Many people in the community are illiterate, so I use various communication methods: theatre (songs and plays); film viewings; youth football; school programs; informal open-air meetings; focussed small-group discussions and others. I simplify the information so everyone can understand.Â
In what ways are you personally involved in education? *
I educate our community of 110k people about climate change. As many are illiterate, my communication methods include songs and plays.
Our bursary programme ensures local students complete the â8-4-4â curriculum. I vet applicants, decipher their finances, manage our bursary account and monitor students in school.
Iâm passionate about education because I understand lacking school fees. Iâm a full-time employee at Wildlife Works while simultaneously studying a Higher Diploma in Community-Based Development. Itâs tough, but I love learning and working.
In what ways do you contribute to making young people more capable to enter the world of work or start businesses?Â
I feel responsible for helping young people get the education needed to find work. I do motivational speaking in schools and for youth around the community, helping children realize the value of education.
I run the programme âInSchoolâ, educating students about environmental and wildlife conservation. Through our bursary programme, we fund school fees and skills like driving so people can start businesses.
I work and study simultaneously to fund my siblingsâ school fees. One recently got employed at an NGO.
In what ways have you succeeded in collaborating with other stakeholders (corporations, government, community leaders) to deliver education in your community?Â
I have a strong relationship with every local organization and governmental department.
I collaborate closely with the Ministry of Education to ensure the right students are sponsored through our bursary programme. We share targets and timelines to avoid duplication and to help students get the best service.
I work with many NGOs. I run film viewings with Amara Conservation to educate people on the environment. I collaborate with World Vision Kenya on agricultural education, plus local charities, womenâs and youth groups.
How could One Young World help further your education initiative?Â
I believe that through OYW I can create a powerful platform to share issues concerning youth and education.
I will learn how other young people who come from different parts of the world view education and what they have done to improve access to it.
When I return to Kenya, I will try as much as possible to share the experiences, information and knowledge I get from OYW with my fellow young people and the larger community.
You can follow Joseph on Twitter @jaymwakima