Wildlife Works Community Relations Officer Attends The Youth and Landscape Initiative in Paris
Our Community Relations Officer, Joseph Mwakima, has become one of our most visible spokespeople, representing Wildlife Works globally.Â In 2014, Joseph was invited to speak at One Young World in Dublin and inÂ December 2015, he participated in The Youth and Landscapes Initiative organized by The Global Landscape Forum, a side event to the UN Framework on Climate Change (UNFCC), in Paris.
Needless to say, we are infinitely proud of Joseph’s work and achievements. Before his trip to Dublin, he his only trip outside of Kenya was to bordering country Tanzania, where he was first invited to speak on stage on behalf of Wildlife Works. Since starting with Wildlife Works inÂ 2011 at age 24, we’ve watched Joseph grow into a confident professional, passionate about educating his community and the rest of the world about conservation.
For COP21 in Paris this past December,Â The Youth and Landscape Initiative brought together 50 young innovatorsÂ from all over the world to identify environmental problems and to propose solutions. The eventÂ covered topics such as right and tenure, finance and trade, measuring success, landscape restoration and education.
Participant groups were given a challenge, for which they had to come up with a solution and give a three-minute pitch to an expert panel made of conservation professionals from all over the world as if they were potential investors in their idea. Think, Shark Tank but for Climate Change! Joseph and his teammatesÂ tackled the problem ofÂ improvingÂ landscapeÂ education for rural farmers.
HisÂ co-presenters were Jhannel Tomlinson from Jamaica,a PhD student studying environmental science at West Indies University in Jamaica. The other was Diane Geurrier who is working with the Africa Climate Policy Centre as a researcher in Addis Ababa-Ethiopia but is originally from France.Â
Their pitch proposed a solutionÂ to closeÂ the gap that exists between formal education and field knowledge. The group found that different landscape models exist, but not in one place.
They introducedÂ the idea of anÂ online landscape academy as a repository for the various landscape models that have already been developed by many of the institutions represented at the event. An online self-assessment tool would identify their agricultural-related competencies, including soft skills, such as their cultural understanding and technical skills, such as their agricultural knowledge. Based on the results, a customized curriculum that is appropriate to the registrantsâ€™ geographic region would be automatically developed.
People from around the world could contribute their best practices to solve landscape problems via an online community. For example, someone who has indigenous knowledge about African agriculture but wants to do agroforestry can learn from online materials or pose questions to the online community.
The youthÂ participantsÂ met scholars, scientists, and climate change experts, who were at the forum to learn from these young minds. The majority of the expert panel, from The Centre for People and Forests (RECOFTC), Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), Danone, The Global Water Initiative, Repo Consultancy, and The World Bank, lauded the groupâ€™s presentation. The audience gave resounding applause to their presentation.
Joseph had great fun meeting and living with people from all over the world who share a common passion for the environment. A special thank you to the Global Landscape Forum, which sponsored the participantsâ€™ flights, and to ASOS, who sponsored Josephâ€™s in-country expenses. We are thankful that Joseph could be part of this collaboration of young people and scientists working together to tackle global issues for future generations.
Read more about the Youth in Landscapes Initiative.
Joseph was born in the Rift Valley province of Kenya in a town called Nakuru that has a population ofÂ 300,000 people.Â You can follow Joseph on Twitter @jaymwakima