People say if you have something on your heart it’s wise to share it with others. Therefore I am excited to share a few things that I have learnt on my travels to Tromsø.
I samarbeid med Spire Tromsø har Sarafina Kumwenda, som er på et utviklingsprogram med Fredskorpset fra Malawi, skrevet en tekst om sine opplevelser.
How it all started
I am Sarafina Kumwenda, a young pioneer for Young Women Can Do It Clubs. I have been a part of the club since Network for Youth Development(NfYD) established it in Mzuzu in the northern part of Malawi in 2011.
The club has empowered me to realize my potential and goals as a young woman who takes action on issues that affect youth and others in society.
Through NfYD I had the opportunity to be part of an exchange program with Fredskorpset and have been a volunteer in Spire in Oslo, Norway. A few weeks ago I travelled to visit Spire’s local chapter in Tromsø. Tromsø is located in the northern part of Norway, also known as the capital of the Arctic, surrounded by beautiful fjords and mountains. The reason for my visit was not only to admire the nature, but also to share my experiences about gender and climate in Malawi. I was also to learn about how Tromsø deals with waste management.
Gender and Climate
Spire recently had a campaign about gender and climate, where they, with help from NfYD, collected stories from women in Malawi to show how they are impacted by climate change and what they do to adapt to climate issues.
The Young Women Can Do It clubs in NfYD work in rural community areas in Malawi to bring people of different backgrounds together. There they can share experiences and ideas to overcome cross cutting issues such as education, sexual and reproductive health, teenage pregnancies, child marriages and climate.
On gender and climate NfYD is working tirelessly to raise awareness to both youth and women groups. The aim is for them to better understand environmental issues and act to reduce climate impacts.
We especially work to empower women to act on climate issues, because they are often the ones heavier impacted by the consequences of climate change.
Gender and climate is a topic the members of Spire Tromsø were not familiar with, but now they at least have an idea of how climate change impacts women in the global South. Therefore, they were excited and curious to learn about the experiences and stories that I have from my work in NfYD in Malawi. My talks with them have hopefully made them want to raise further awareness about gender and climate to others.
Waste management in Norway vs. Malawi
The exchange programme I am part of focuses on youth participation and sustainable environment. Therefore I thought working with waste management would be an interesting topic to focus on.
When I travelled to Tromsø learned more about this waste management. We visited Remiks, the waste sorting company in Tromsø. Here we learnt about how they deal with the waste.
It was interesting to see how they separate paper, food and plastic waste, which is very different from home where we don’t sort the waste.
In my home region in Malawi we use pitlatrines, where we bury all types of waste together in a hole in the ground. Most people do not know how to handle the waste, and if you are walking along the street in Malawi you will see a lot of plastic trash laying around.
But we can do something about this. I think we need to raise more awareness among people in Malawi about waste management and the environmental issues improper waste management causes. In Tromsø they sort their trash in different colored bags, then Remiks collects the bags and sort them in their waste plant. I got to see how the bags are sorted in the plant.
If we had more resources and more organizations working on this, maybe we could learn from what they do in Tromsø and try to use local available resources to practice sorting waste also in my home region.
Together with Spire Tromsø I was also going to participate in a beach clean-up, but when they checked the beach was it already cleaned, so we had to cancel this activity.
This shows that the youth are concerned and take responsibility for the environment in Tromsø. We need the same spirit in Malawi!