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Our Environment, Our Development: Championing Climate Change Adaptation Issues Through Education and Advocacy

Created: 3/14/2011 - Updated: 5/07/2019

Photo attributed to Akiwumi. Incorporated here under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. No endorsement by licensor implied.

Summary

The Abibimman Foundation, located in Ghana, focuses its efforts on children and youth by helping address the challenges they are facing while simultaneously utilizing them as positive agents in the promotion of sustainable livelihoods, peace and development through facilitated collaboration among various partners in their communities. To date, the Abibimman Foundation has implemented 46 major child and youth development-oriented events.

Climate changes, coupled with development and population pressures, are predicted to have a significant impact on the human and natural systems of Ghana. The Abibimman Foundation believes a key component to lobbying the government's climate mitigation and adaptation policies is more in-depth knowledge of the real challenges being experienced around Ghana. The Abibimman Foundation is working to identify ways in which communities and individuals can adapt to climate changes, and as part of their Our Environment, Our Development program, is developing a youth-focused education and outreach strategy intended to educate young people about the causes and impacts of climate change and provide them with on-the-ground action opportunities.

Background

Climatic variations including changes in rainfall patterns, persistent droughts and flooding, and increased temperatures, coupled with population and development pressures, are likely to have a significant impact on the human and natural systems of Ghana. For example, current human activities such as littering non-biodegradable plastic waste leads to depleted soil fertility and blocked gutters and drains, already resulting in flooding and erosion. In addition, other activities such as traffic congestion, rampant bush fires and illegal felling of trees, and expanding surface mining and quarries leads to high consumption of fuel and increased CO2 emissions. These increased pressures, coupled with climate change, are likely to negatively affect the distribution and productivity of plant and animal species, water supply, fuel-wood, human health, food security, and infrastructure (e.g., roads, bridges, dams).

Because climate change is likely to have serious and permanent impacts on Ghana, it is critical to integrate environmental and climate change concerns into Ghana’s development agenda to reduce the risk it poses to the generations of today and the future. The Abibimman Foundation believes that young people hold the key to overcoming Ghana’s climate change challenges, and as part of their Our Environment, Our Development program, is developing a youth-focused Public Education and Outreach (PEO) strategy on climate change. The PEO strategy will educate young people about the causes and impacts of climate change and provide them with opportunities to work on concrete projects where they can make a difference.

Implementation

The Our Environment, Our Development program is developing a youth-focused PEO strategy on climate change. The goals of the strategy include: 1) raising awareness and understanding among young people about climate change, its causes and potential impacts, and what individuals can do to reduce emissions using the linkages between road transport, tree planting and sanitation; and 2) motivating youth to take actions within their communities and to encourage others in their lives (e.g., peers, families, communities) to reduce emissions.

The PEO strategy focuses on the following:

  1. Creating awareness.
    1. Advocate for recycling of at least 25% of the volume of plastic waste, which cause flooding and road damage.
    2. Call for improvement of the road transportation system and support alternative transportation methods to reduce traffic congestion and CO2 emissions.
    3. Advocate for the use of energy saving bulbs, thus reducing wastage of electricity and other domestic fuels.
    4. Promote a green environment by planting trees along selected roads, within selected parks and along rivers and water bodies.
  2. Mainstreaming media campaigns to profile and reward participants, foster awareness, and encourage engagement on climate change and other environmental issues. This strategy focuses on the little things youth can do to have an impact on climate change and the environment and includes four projects:
    1. Plastic Waste Audit Campaign (PWAC) – plastic waste will be collected from homes and schools and presented by a youth delegation to the Ministers of Environment, Local Government and Education, and the Director of the Environmental Protection Agency to encourage greater commitment towards recycling at least 25% of plastic wastes produced in the country.
    2. Energy Audit and Efficiency Enhancement Campaign (EAEEC) - educate community members on energy usage and efficiency and encourage people to change their ‘onion’ bulbs to energy-saving bulbs.
    3. Clean-Up the Community Campaign (CCC) - clean the drains and gutters along selected streets and roads within each of the nine districts in the Greater Accra Region; the clean-up exercise will be done with the collaboration of the respective Assemblies and other stakeholder institutions and organizations such as youth groups, religious groups, traditional councils, and security personnel within each locality.
    4. Road Transport Improvement and Environmental Conservation Campaign (RTI&ECC) - a road campaign including a convoy of over twenty big buses will draw attention to increasing stress on roads and its environmental and economic costs. The road campaign will highlight the adverse impact of climate change on biodiversity and demand greater commitment to alternative transportation methods (e.g., utilizing bus services). Participants will also plant trees along portions of the road, the banks of the Weija Dam, and Kakum Park.
  3. Building capacity by encouraging widespread dissemination of information on environmental issues; continuing to raise awareness among youth, including sharing their values and viewpoints; and putting a national climate change strategy into global context but also making sure to connect the strategy back to the community to highlight local implications.
    1. Reinforce youth’s current awareness of environmental matters such as littering of gutters and drains with plastic waste, cutting down trees indiscriminately, bush burning, road traffic congestion and CO2 emissions, in addition to climate change.
    2. Highlight individual causes and effects of climate change, illustrating its local, national and global dimensions and impacts and how they affect the economy and way of life.
    3. Design and implement activities that involve more youth participation but require less time commitment.
    4. Empower youth to form and enhance alliances and partnerships with the government, private sector, educational system, NGOs, churches, and sports groups.

The PEO strategy will be piloted in the Greater Accra Region within 2009 and 2011, and will be replicated in other regions of the country in three phases within a period of ten years (from 2011 – 2021). It will also be used by the member organizations of Ghana National Youth on Climate Change to champion the issues.

Outcomes and Conclusions

The PEO strategy has an impact evaluation system in place to assess the effect of the strategy on youth, and to provide means by which youth can provide feedback and input. Baseline data will be established at the beginning of the PEO strategy and levels of knowledge, awareness and action will be evaluated at the end of the strategy. In addition, the social marketing campaigns will be evaluated for creating a positive and significant impact according to awareness, attitudes, behavioral intentions, interpersonal communications, current use, trends, and use of campaigns as models. 

Status

Program goals 1.Learn more about poverty and the specific impacts of climate change on people's lives in Tema New Town, how it is affecting other issues in their community, what capacity they have to adapt to these changes, and what their development priorities are. This will allow Abibimman to speak in step with their experiences and priorities when doing lobbying work such as advocacy around the climate adaptation fund. 2.Build capacity of youth in community to advocate on their own behalf with elected and traditional leaders. Abibimman will support community members to speak on their own behalf, by providing human rights seminars, opportunities to engage with their authorities, and preparation for these meetings. We also aim to give community members, especially youth, ownership of the project by including them in all aspects of project design, facilitation, monitoring and evaluation. Short-term and medium-term community objectives Short-term 1.Give members from many community groups the opportunity to learn about and discuss their rights and entitlements. Youth groups will be the main focus. 2.Give them the opportunity to participate in a diagnosis of poverty and climate change impacts in their community, and their challenges and priorities, and discuss these together with local authorities. 3.Provide opportunities for communication and collaboration between youth groups in Tema New Town and between citizens in Tema New Town and those in Community 3. Medium-term Increase the frequency and depth of community and youth engagement with local leaders, and increase communication and collaboration between citizens in the municipality Long-term outcomes 1.Increase the capacity of community members to speak up and advocate for their own rights and entitlements with local authorities and service providers, especially in poverty and climate change-related issues. 2.Provide platforms for communities to influence important national and local policies, like Ghana's climate change adaptation policy, and strengthen Abibimman's advocacy work by learning from the diagnosis process. Abibimman's program objectives 1.Provide opportunities for community members, especially youth, to participate in a sensitization also provide frequent opportunities for leaders from the two communities to meet and collaborate, to build links and allow them to work together on common issues. 2.Make an in-depth, credible study for our advocacy programs, reflecting Abibimman Foundation and the community's assessment of poverty and climate change impacts affecting them, locally or elsewhere. 3.Help organize the forum to present the results of the diagnosis and allow the community members to engage with local leaders.

Citation

Amoateng, K-N. (2010). Our Environment, Our Development: Championing Climate Change Adaptation Issues Through Education and Advocacy. Ed. Jessi Kershner [Case study on a project of the Abibimman Foundation]. Retrieved from CAKE: http://www.cakex.org/case-studies/our-environment-our-development-champi... (Last updated April 2011)

Project Contacts

Abibimman Foundation is a Non-Profit Oriented, Non-Partisan, Non-Governmental Organisation (RGD G 5,895, DSW 2525) established in 2000 in Tema. It has dedicated itself to the promotion of sustainable livelihoods, peace, and development. The essential thrust of Abibimman Foundation is to enhance livelihoods in peaceful and developed environment through Cultural, Formal and Non-Formal Education, Civic and Health Education, Human Right and Environmental Protection, and General Activities.

Keywords

Scale of Project: 
Community / Local
Sector Addressed: 
Agriculture
Aquaculture
Disaster Risk Management
Forestry
Rural / Indigenous Livelihoods
Water Resources
Target Climate Changes and Impacts: 
Biodiversity
Flow patterns
Habitat extent
Precipitation
Public health risks
Sea level rise
Water quality
Water supply
Water temperature
Timeframe: 
5-10 years
Type of Adaptation Action/Strategy: 
Natural Resource Management / Conservation
Capacity Building
Increase / Improve public awareness, education, and outreach efforts
Taxonomic Focus: 
Plants
Other Invertebrates
Sociopolitical Setting: 
Urban
Rural
Suburban
Effort Stage: 
In progress

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