Building an eco-responsible generation starts at an early age

Fatoumata Niamoye Toure a Young Voices of Sahel doing awareness on the importance of a clean environment in a public place in Mopti region, center, Mali.

The term "climate change" refers to long-term fluctuations in temperature and weather. Although some variations are natural, since the beginning of the 19th century human activity, mainly the use of fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas, has been the main cause of these changes, resulting in the production of greenhouse gases (source: United Nations).

It is in this context that our organization, Young Voices of Sahel, was born, aiming to fight climate change and protect our community through awareness raising and concrete actions. From our creation until today, we have conducted awareness campaigns, training and information initiatives on climate issues. This includes sanitation activities, educational exchanges between members and observers, as well as workshops and training on the recycling of old objects.

For us, the fight against climate change starts with individual actions, such as reducing our use of single-use plastics, reducing or stopping the use of coal, planting and protecting trees. The northern and central regions of Mali are affected by the scarcity of rains, resulting from the advance of the desert, which hinders the growth of trees. In addition, conflicts also have effects on climate change in these areas.

Currently, we are present in Soufouroulaye, in the Mopti region, to participate in the Citizens' Holidays, with the financial support of UNICEF and the Republic of Germany. During this event, we hosted a panel on climate change to raise awareness among young people from all regions of Mali. During our stay at the Soufouroulaye camp, we were moved to see local children planting trees, a gesture that resonates with us as a call to action for everyone.

In this effort we embody hope and sustainability, demonstrating that every little bit counts. Together, we can create a veritable forest of change for collective well-being. As our colleague Awa Dicko pointed out: "I am Awa Dicko, a young voice from the Sahel Mali, currently engaged in civic holidays in Mopti. This incredible experience allows me to participate in a space for cultural encounters, bringing together the various regions of Mali. As a young Malian girl and representative of Young Voices of Sahel in Mali, I took this opportunity to raise awareness about reducing climate change among children and young people. My commitment is manifested in actions such as the use of transport to reduce air pollution, consumption of organic products, planting trees and recycling waste. In summary, I am convinced that young people like me can play a crucial role in the fight against global warming taking care of our environment and educating others about the implications of climate change. I have already participated in activities such as reforestation in Soufroulaye and climate and environmental awareness sessions. Ultimately, I strongly believe that young people have the power to make a meaningful contribution to protecting our planet by raising awareness of the urgency of climate change."

Assanatou Diallo also adds that tackling the climate crisis involves protecting the environment through waste reduction, recycling, increasing the consumption of plant-based food and the preservation of forests. The reforestation and sanitation activities carried out in Soufouroulaye are particularly commendable, as they promote the growth of trees and improve the local environment.

A Young Voice of Sahel during the launch ceremony of the International Youth Day
A Young Voices of Sahel participating in reforestation in Soufroulaye, Mopti.
A child in Soufroulaye, in Mopti region planting a tree.
A child in Soufroulaye, Mopti region planting a tree.