Malawi faith youth plan COP17 climate change campaign

Malawi’s 15 youths will be part of the ‘We have faith’ Caravan that will start off from Nairobi, Kenya, through Tanzania and arrive in Malawi in November next month as African youths prepare to have their voice heard at the Climate Justice COP 17 in November/December 2011, Durban.

The youth, drawn from Christian faith mother bodies, the Malawi Council of Churches (MCC), Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM), and the Evangelical Association of Malawi (EAM), have so far met at the ‘We have faith’ Youth Campaign launch on 3 October, 2011 in the capital city, Lilongwe, where they discussed modalities of the campaign.

Some of the youths have been identified by the African Youth Initiative on Climate Change (AYICC), a youth non-governmental organisation that spearheads climate matters in the country, networking and coordinating with the rest of the African continent youths and beyond.

They also presented their choice of circular and gospel musicians, plus venue for the  ‘We have faith’ Concert that will take place in the capital.

Presenting a faith view on climate change, MCC General Secretary Rev. Dr. Osborne Joda-Mbewe said the earth was created by God for man. He also said God intended that there be trees, water and food including meat for man to survive.

Reading the Holy Bible’s book of Genesis, Joda-Mbewe highlighted  the creation of Adam and Eve and the stay in the Garden of Eden.

“If you have no appetite then you have a problem. It is by God’s design that humans eat, feel thirsty, and must therefore take care of the earth which he created for us inorder to sustain life. Climate change is an issue that God wants us to dwell on and correct the situation,” he told the youthful participants drawn from across the country.

Norwergian Church Aid – ACT Alliance programme officer, Jacob Nyirongo, also said the WE HAVE FAITH campaign, which includes the WE HAVE FAITH CARAVAN, the WE HAVE FAITH Petition, and the WE HAVE FAITH Concert will take place through Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Botswana, and South Africa. An expected 200 youths will be on the buses, including some CSO leaders to provide parental guidance and support through the trip.

“The 15 Malawian youths will join the caravan when it arrives in Malawi for the concert. From here it will collect the petitions that will have been signed demanding that world leaders commit themselves to addressing climate change issues and in particular, the Kyoto resolutions to make a world a better place,” he said.

World leaders including Barak Obama of US will be meeting to discuss climate change in Durban, so will be faith organisation, other civil society, and various stakeholder leaders.

Climate change issues are a current global threat, and countries across the planet were asked to take a significant role in addressing greenhouse gas effects which now hover around 25% as emitted, mainly, by industrialized developed countries. Africa contributes only about 35% of the total carbon, with Malawi around 0.003%.

As the WE HAVE FAITH campaign gathers steam in the country, youths and all other stakeholders have been asked to sign a general petition that has been designed to pressure world leaders to take action – and NOW!

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