During the last week of March 2017, Young Friends of the earth Africa (FoEA) groups and Young Friends of the Earth Europe (FoEE) had a cross-regional learning meeting for groups participating in the Erasmus project of the FoEI federation in Durban South Africa. The meeting was hosted by groundwork, FoE South Africa.
The Erasmus project brings together youths from African and European regions that are partners to Friends of the Earth to strengthen the Youth Environmental Justice movement, both internally in FoEI and externally with Youth Social and Environmental Justice allies.
The project is also an opportunity to strengthen relationships and ways of working across the European and African regions, and supporting the active engagement of young people in decision-making.
The Director of groundwork, Bobby peek told the young people that one of the principles of FOEI is inclusiveness. Young people can only be included in most of the FOE work if they acquire deeper knowledge around movement building and FoEI is ready to support them.
Ms Sophie Manson, the coordinator for the Erasmus project in FOEI advised the youth to collectively identify creative strategies to enhance the engagement of diverse youth groups.
She told them the future belongs to young people and therefore young people need to critically reflect on particular role they can play in struggles against injustice. She advised them to have one firm voice through the environmental justice movement and suitable thematic campaigns that will prosper their struggles in their individual organizations
In the meeting, NAPE was represented by Peruth Atukwatse who coordinates the Youth Projects. NAPE, in 2016 started a Youth Movement for Social and Environmental Justice in Uganda. The movement is aimed at among other things:
- Supporting youth involvement in decision-making processes at all levels
- Participation of young people in international fora to share experiences and deepen their knowledge on environmental justice issues to enable them advocate for social growth and environmental sustainability of their communities
- Mobilize 7000 youths by 2018 and build their civic competence, inspire and motivate them to increase their inclusiveness in promoting and building pressure for good governance in natural resources, and
- Promote social and economic empowerment for the youths in Uganda
NAPE believes that once the young people are in the driving seat, they can cause the change the organization and other activists and other Civil Society Organizations globally have been struggling to make. Society sometimes have a negative perception of young and because of this, young people are disengage from social, economic and political processes and feel powerless to bring about a sustainable change in their communities. NAPE stands in solidarity with young people as they demand for social and environmental justice.
The story was compiled by Peruth Atukwatse