Southern Africa youth resolve to address climate change and gender-based violence

By Felix Samari, LWF ALCINET

LUCSA youth discuss LWF’s priorities for youth

(LWI) – Youth from 15 member churches of the Lutheran Communion in Southern Africa (LUCSA) have identified climate change and gender-based violence (GBV) as key issues to address in their respective countries.

Meeting mid-April, in Johannesburg, South Africa, barely a month after the devastating impact of cyclone Idai in Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, they resolved to set up a sub-regional network to encourage youth participation in activities that promote care for the creation and environmental protection. Prolonged drought and shorter but intense periods of rainfall in the sub-region threaten the livelihoods of rural populations, who mainly depend on subsistence farming and herding livestock.

The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) Strategy 2019-2024 provided orientation for the workshop under the theme, “With Passion for the Church and the World”. LUCSA is one of the three LWF sub-regions in Africa.

LWF Council member Khulekani Sizwe Magwaza, from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Southern Africa, who coordinated the workshop said it was important to hear from LUCSA youth how they perceived the Lutheran communion’s priorities for young people in their own contexts.

This just reminds us again why we have to continue advocating for climate justice. The weather patterns have changed and often authorities are not prepared to cope with the aftermath and help their people.— LWF Council member Khulekani Sizwe Magwaza, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Southern Africa

Magwaza noted that barely a fortnight after the workshop, another tropical storm struck South Africa’s eastern coastline around Durban between 22-23 April, killing more than 50 people, with flooding and mudslides destroying homes and property. “This just reminds us again why we have to continue advocating for climate justice. The weather patterns have changed and often authorities are not prepared to cope with the aftermath and help their people,” he added.

Participants in the workshop included Rev. Zelda Cristina Cossa from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Mozambique, who reflected about cyclone Idai and recurring torrential rainfall in the country. “These tropical storms provide grim proof that global warming is a real and continuing threat. Effective adaptation to minimize damage is essential in preparing people in the region. Disaster risk management plans are especially important in order to minimize loss of life,” added, Cossa, a pastor in Lionde congregation in the eastern district of Chokwe.

At the LWF Twelfth Assembly in 2017, the member churches reiterated youth participation and leadership as priority themes for the communion. The LWF strategy acknowledges the critical role of youth leadership in strengthening LWF’s commitment to addressing climate change as a matter of intergenerational justice.

The rights of women and girls

The LUCSA youth also cited examples of increasing incidents of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) especially in families in countries such as Namibia and South Africa, and the general lack of commitment by authorities to hold perpetrators to account. They noted SGBV is a gross violation of the rights of women and girls, and “we are committed to tackling it in all its forms as best as we are able.”

Magwaza encouraged the workshop participants to improve their life skills and develop positive behavioral changes in order to better serve the church and the wider society.

“It is about young people developing personal values and qualities which enable them to effectively play a key role in the church’s growth and sustainability and in society’s social development agenda,” they said in a final statement.

LUCSA brings together 15 Lutheran churches in the sub-region, 13 of which belong to the LWF.

Edited by LWF Communications

Source TLWF

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3 Ways Young People Can Come Together To Fight Climate Change

By Shakir Akorede

With the climaxing threats, climate change is putting the future of the world in evident disasters. Should owners of the future sit back?

According to the United Nations, “Climate change is one of the major challenges of our time and adds considerable stress to our societies and to the environment. From shifting weather patterns that threaten food production, to rising sea levels that increase the risk of catastrophic flooding, the impacts of climate change are global in scope and unprecedented in scale. Without drastic action today, adapting to these impacts in the future will be more difficult and costly.”

It is mind-boggling that the effects of climate change are already manifesting across all borders of the world and across the oceans. Despite the efforts and agreements, however, experts argue that world leaders are not adequately prepared for the risks from a changing climate and, at the same time, are not doing enough to tackle the global disaster.

True or false, climate change is now affecting every country on every continent of the world. Its palpable effects are disrupting national economies and affecting lives, costing people, communities and countries dearly today and even more tomorrow.

Given the environmental threat, there’s more work to be done especially for the young generation if the world is truly important to them. This article highlights 3 strategic ways youths across the world can help protect their home – the world.

1. Go green.

Environmental protection requires innovative approaches such that the young generation must be empowered with the right skills to address environmental challenges and beyond.

What is green?

Green means different things to different people from different perspectives. In the environmental context, it is making the world a more livable place for all that lives therein. According to MobilizeGreen, “Green” has become synonymous with the environment, sustainability, and “eco-friendliness.”

From the above, going green is “ensuring a greener environment.” But there’s more to that in terms of realisation. To explain, young people from diverse ethnicities and backgrounds need to pursue more knowledge and practices that can lead to secured environment and sustainable natural resources for present and future generations by increasing their environmental friendliness and taking ecologically responsible decisions.

Parts of the decisions, which entail green practices, include: walking, riding bikes, using public transportation, recycling outside the box, and many others.

2. Collaborate with others (to form organizations).

For quick global effects, young people must continue to take part in intergovernmental climate change processes across the globe. “The role of the private sector in combating climate change is becoming ever more relevant,” says Climate Home.

To this end, more collaborative efforts are crucial to tackling climate change by spreading its awareness among the populace and working closely with governments to ensure policy implementations.

3. Partner with government.

“The United Nations System recognizes the key role that youth play in tackling climate change and works closely with youth-led and youth-focussed organizations around the world through the United Nations Joint Framework Initiative on Children, Youth and Climate Change (Joint Framework Initiative),” says the U.N.

There’s no denying that robust public-private partnership is an efficient way to tackle environmental challenges. As such, youth organizations should partner local, national, and international governments for more frantic efforts to curtail environmental disasters.

Source The Huffpost