Communities across the world are battling more frequent and extreme weather and climate conditions, which are destroying crops, homes and livelihoods. And everywhere, girls and young people are hit the hardest.
This loss of livelihoods is leading to more girls being taken out of school early to help at home. Often never returning. This can prevent them from gaining the knowledge and skills they need to help their community adapt to climate change.
Following COP26, we're calling on world leaders to recognise the importance of girls’ education in tackling the climate crisis and to meaningfully include young people in climate decisions.
The climate crisis is putting girls' rights in danger
Listen to girls and young women from Zambia and Zimbabwe as they share how the climate crisis is affecting girls’ rights in their communities.
“When there are floods, crops usually get destroyed and when they get destroyed, there is poverty,” shares Musonda, 23, living in Zambia. “When there is poverty some of the parents, they force their young children to go into marriages.”
This poverty also leaves many girls at risk of sexual and gender-based violence. “If water is scarce, we have to walk long distances in the bush to collect it. There are dangers of girls being abused at times resulting in rape cases,” explains 27-year-old Nomakhosazan, living in Zimbabwe.
12.5 million girls could be prevented from completing their education due to climate change by 2025
86% of young peoplehaven taken action on climate change
8 out of 10 young peoplewant to participate in climate policy processes
Pamela, Environmental Activist, Ecuador
After joining thousands of young people from 20 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean in the 1000 actions for a change challenge, 17-year-old Pamela from Santa Elena province in Ecuador has become a committed environmental activist.
“As part of this activity, I helped create community gardens, reduce plastic consumption and introduce recycling and cleaning days, among other things. This experience helped me discover my love for the environment," says Pamela.
"I feel that a person's power is born from the moment they show perseverance, I learnt this when I was 15 and started cycling. I feel very capable of demonstrating my potential and making big changes in my community.”
Conservation in Kenya
In Kwale County on the Kenyan coast, 75% of the population live in poverty, and while they are reliant on the coastal environment for their income, it has been severely depleted in recent years.
Thanks to the Future Plan Fund, we’ve been working with coastal communities to create new, income-generating activities which also promote conservation and biodiversity in the coastal environment, such as seaweed farming, mangrove reforestation and sustainable fishing practices.
This has already meant an increase of income for local communities, and will have a huge, positive long-term impact for marine and coastal ecosystems, protection from climate-related threats and promotion of carbon sinks.
Green Skills for Ghana
Young people in Ghana face huge challenges to earning a living. Youth unemployment is higher than for older people and large numbers of young people are under-employed. Young women in particular struggle to secure safe work which pays a living wage.
Meanwhile, Ghana's natural resources have suffered heavily, often because of human activities. Combined with increasing climate and weather hazards, this has led to widespread biodiversity loss and environmental degradation.
Our three-year project has given women and young people the chance to start a new livelihood in the green economy. Through environmentally-sustainable work or enterprise, young Ghanaians have gained the skills and financial stability to build a better future for themselves.
3,613 new green businessesstarted by project graduates
5,019 people trained in green skillsincluding fish farming, vegetable gardening and raising poultry
246 savings and loans groupsset up to give access to credit
Harnessing the power of bees
Living near the forest, Gifty’s family were plagued by wild bees and sometimes driven from their home for weeks at a time. So when Gifty joined the Green Skills for Ghana project, she deliberately chose the beekeeping course. Now, she has 45 beehives and produces 90kg of organic honey a year.
“The beekeeping training changed my life for the better,” she says. “Once upon a time, we resolved to move away from this community because the bees made our lives so miserable. Today, I will gladly stay because my family’s lives now depend on the bees."