Biodiversity,  Conservation,  Forest Communities

Developing Young Global Leaders at Wildlife Works

We are so proud of our Community Relations Officer Joseph Mwakima, who was sponsored by Barclays to attend the 2014 One Young World Summit and was selected as a Delegate Speaker in the Sustainable Development Plenary Session. Only 36 Delegate Speakers were chosen out of hundreds of applicants.

Wildlife Works’ Community Relations Officer Joseph Mwakima speaking
Wildlife Works Kasigau Corridor REDD+ Project’s Community Relations Officer Joseph Mwakima speaking


Watch his inspiring speech:

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. We are honored to be able to attract and support such talented minds in Kenyan rural communities!

Joseph writes to us about his experience:

I had the privilege to represent Wildlife Works and the Kasigau Corridor Community at the One Young Summit in Dublin as a Delegate Speaker. The Summit was held on 15-19th October 2014 at the Dublin Conventional Centre and it was attended by more than 1,300 delegates from all over the world. One Young World is an annual international summit that brings together young to discuss different issues that affect us as youth and provide solutions to them.

Joseph in Dublin!
Joseph in Dublin!

We had different plenary sessions and external break out sessions. This year we discussed issues concerning Sustainable Development, Education, Peace and Conflict resolution, Global Business, Leadership, Governance and Human Rights. 

The Event was also attended by high-profile personalities like Kofi Annan, Mary Robinson and others. Having been selected as a delegate speaker for Sustainable Development I had the privilege to tell the world about the work that I’m currently doing and also the programs that Wildlife Works is implementing in the Greater Kasigau Corridor project area. As a Delegate speaker I was supposed to draft a 500-word speech that talks about all that I’m doing to make the world a better place. After many rehearsals I was the first speaker to give my speech to the OYW delegates. This was one of the best presentations that I’ve ever given. I have never presented a speech to so many people.

jm2The OYW created a platform for us to discuss a lot of issues that affect the world. I had a good experience to meet a lot of young people all from all over the globe, young people with different ideas, projects, beliefs, language and experience. It was my first time abroad and I enjoyed every moment that I spend in Dublin. The other good thing that I experienced in Dublin is the good sessions from speakers like Professor Yunus, Sol Campbell, Anthony Jenkins and many others. These sessions gave us the opportunity to discuss in length the role we have as young people and the difference we can create in the world in making it a better place. I remember all the good lectures we had from all the speakers who talked to us. One of the best lectures was from Koffi Annan and Mary Robinson, They talked about Climate Change and the role that we can play in mitigating it.

jm wildlife works one young worldThe other good experience that I had was the socialization and delegate networking sessions. I had the privilege to network with young people from South America, Africa, Asia, Europe and all the other continents. I’ve made a lot of friends from all over the world and this was the best part. We also had the privilege to tour Dublin city, Dublin was one of the best cities that I have ever seen. A city with a lot of young people and a lot of opportunities.

In general the OYW summit 2014 was an amazing experience for me. I’ve learned a lot from it and I will make sure I share it to Kasigau Corridor REDD communities. I thank Wildlife Works and Barclays Bank who sponsored me to attend this very successful event in Dublin.

* * * *

77% of young people feel their country has been affected by extreme weather in the last year – how has climate change affected your country? 

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, there’s significant drought. There’s no pasture for livestock and women and children walk 10km daily to find water. The situation is worsening: last year local farmers couldn’t 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.

joseph community

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. 

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 “8-4-4” curriculum. I vet applicants, decipher their finances, manage our bursary account and monitor students in school.

I’m passionate about education because I understand lacking school fees. I’m a full-time employee at Wildlife Works while simultaneously studying a Higher Diploma in Community-Based Development. It’s 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? 

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.

Screen Shot 2014-09-11 at 4.07.08 PMI run the programme “InSchool”, 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 siblings’ 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? 

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, women’s and youth groups.

How could One Young World help further your education initiative? 

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

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