Closing Ceremony – Online Executive Training “Young Women Leadership on Climate Adaptation”

The first Online Executive Training “Young Women Leadership on Climate Adaptation” concluded on Thursday, 17 March 2022, celebrating six months of intensive learning amongst 30 young changemakers from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana, Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria and Zimbabwe. Organized by the BKMC, CARE Climate and Resilience Academy, the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna and supported by the Global Center on Adaptation and NORAD, the training served to strengthen the participants’ knowledge, skills and network to lead climate adaptation solutions.

BKMC Co-chair Ban Ki-moon, CEO of GCA Patrick Verkooijen, and BKMC CEO Monika Froehler were amongst the high-level speakers who congratulated the young women for their remarkable accomplishments. The Closing Ceremony also introduced the outstanding work of the young leaders and their innovative ideas to #AdaptOurWorld. 

Representing her fellow trainees, Stephanie Eyram Akrumah, Valedictorian of the Online Executive Training, held an emotional speech to summarize their learning journey. Read her remarks below.

See the SDG Micro-Adaptation Project illustrations below. 

Online Executive Training "Young Women Leaders on Climate Adaptation" - SDG Micro-Project Illustrations Watch the Micro-Project Adaptation Pitches here.

Watch the Closing Ceremony below.


Valedictorian Speech by Stephanie Eyram Akrumah

“I’m grateful to be here, and I’m grateful to be speaking on behalf of all my colleagues here.

I can’t believe that it’s almost the end, actually the end, although it seems like just recently a friend shared the application of the training programme with me and to be honest, I was not sure what to expect from the training programme.

When I received the congratulatory email, I had knowledge as to what I wanted to do in climate change adaptation but honestly where I am today, my knowledge has been impacted, thus the high-level leadership that you wanted to impact in us has been impacted in me, at least.

 Honoured guest, fellow trainees, and the team that put all of this together, thank you for being here and good day, good afternoon, good evening to you, wherever you are.

I am honoured and elated to give the speech on behalf of my brilliant and inspiring fellow trainee of the Young Women Leadership on Climate Adaptation Executive Training program 2021/22 for women.

 I am very fortunate to have met my fellow trainees from Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Democratic Republic of Congo and Egypt.

 It has been an exciting journey for us so far. It has not necessarily been very easy because this has been competing with other equally important things in our lives especially practical things in our jobs and our works, but this has been impactful enough for us to always be here, be punctual, be on time and try to do our best with our programme.

WE MADE IT ladies, WE MADE IT, fellow woman leaders, we have made it to the very end of our course, with glamour with grace and with a lot of wit.

I remember the days when some trainees were on the move, you could see that their cameras were on, not known to them, they were actively listening, the cameras showed that they were working with their phones on the field in some farm somewhere and trying to listen on the go.

 Thank you all, ladies, for having put in your best in the training programme and given it your best that we’ve learned from each other and we are here as it stands.

 Ladies, WE MADE IT till the end. I recount the gender sensitive adaptation solutions that we learned and realised that women have been left out of very important roles such as women farming in lands that they do not own, gender-based violence, women gap pays at the workplace, were interconnected with problems on gender sensitivity in climate adaptation and that if we needed to resolve these issues, we needed to see them as a comprehensive issue and provide a comprehensive solution.    

I remember when we were studying effective communication for adaptation, how we can Communicate effectively so we can get our message across to the respective stakeholders and involve the people that we wanted to include.

 I remember our talks on adaptation policies on local, regional and global policies that we could implement.

I remember when we said to each other some of the policies needed to tickle down to the local levels, in that, policy is very disconnected from local level practices.

I remember negotiating like a pro and understanding that we needed to communicate better and what we needed was a kind of negotiation that doesn’t leave out the other party but one that brings a solution to both parties.

I also remember that we need to be global leaders and global citizens to a complex world with complex problems and that we are capable of providing those solutions.

I have never in my life experienced a micro adaptation project and I am exceptionally sure that my fellow women leaders will agree with me that we’ve not had a practical micro adaptation project like this on an online programme that you think will be very theoretical.

I must say that from the beginning until now, we have become the very skilled high-level leaders that you wanted to create.

On moving forward after our graduation or finishing and completing this programme, that we show support to each other. We have already practiced as we have done things in teams and collaborated on different works. I recognize especially our Eagles-entrepreneurs for the green environment team when we went out of our way in the late-night calls and tried to finish our assignments on time.

I know all other groups and team members were also trying as much as possible to meet with their teams and finish assignments, even when we were late, we pleaded very actively that one thing or the other caught us up and that we wanted to finish as soon as possible so we can forward to you.

We are also very thankful for the patience of some of our leaders here, it helped us understand things we didn’t understand and when we were running late on some of these programmes, you were there to hold our hands and pull us up.

 I’m also grateful that we have learned to collaborate amongst each other and keep collaborating because of our alumni group that we’re putting together, and we intend to do certain programmes together after this programme.

I encourage that we continue to lead with the energy we have applied to the adaptation training and the strength and boldness that we need for sustainable solutions.

The executive training wanted to impact and show the ripple effects of investing in women and lead effective climate adaptation on local, regional and national levels, well from the people that I have seen and have worked with and the leaders here, I know that we are able to make this happen directly and indirectly, and we will keep impacting.

I don’t want to bore you too much, so I will here, say thank you so much to the team that put this all together, to Viola Christian, Alina Stinx, Aurélie Ceinos, Julia Németh & Maximilian Huck, Adriana Valenzuela to the team from Norad, thank you very much.

 I’m going to say a special thank you to the organizations; to the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens, to  CARE Climate and Resilience Academy, to the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna, to the  Global Centre on Adaptation (GCA) and Norad, thank you all so much.

Thank you so much to all our trainees who are spent time and energy of their busy schedules at work and school to be here to be impacted and have given it their best.

Before I leave, I must tell you, that there is an old Chinese proverb that says that women hold up half the sky and, in our case, it is quite literal, that we literally hold up half of our climate. We need to contribute our quota as women in the world for climate change to be able to meet our global goals or 1.5 average temperatures by 2030.

Congratulations again to my fellow leaders. YES! WE DID IT, let us lead the cause in climate adaptation and resilience building. Let us transform our continent and inspire the world.

From the latest IPCC report on climate change, the climate crisis has hit Africa the hardest, and every time things hit Africa, we need leaders that will stand up to the challenge and bring solutions.

African needs you, my dear woman leader, Africa needs you and the world needs you.

Thank you and I look forward to meeting you in person, hopefully at the next COP, COP27.

Thank you very much.”

International Women’s Day: Celebrating Women who #AdaptOurWorld

Guest blog post by Gabriela Díaz Musmanni for International Women’s Day. 

The Covid crisis has exposed the depths of gender inequality on a global and disquieting scale: from a spike in gender violence, to a sharp rise in women and girl’s unpaid care work fuelled by worldwide lockdowns and school closures.

Sadly, the pandemic is just the tip of the iceberg. With a similarly pervasive scope, the climate emergency is not gender neutral either:

In spite of being hit hardest, and possessing valuable local knowledge, women have limited access to climate decision-making and leadership roles that could improve their situation and the world’s. Their inclusion is crucial to effective climate adaptation action, yet this remains a global challenge.

This year’s International Women’s Day, celebrated today, focuses on “gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow.” The 2022 theme encompasses the contribution of women and girls all over the world who, despite insurmountable challenges, have taken the lead in climate adaptation and mitigation action to build a more sustainable future for all of us.

With a similar goal, the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens (BKMC), partnered with CARE’s Climate Change and Resilience Platform, and the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna to conduct a capacity-building training to elevate the leadership of young women in one of the world’s most climate-vulnerable regions, the African continent, in response to the climate crisis.

In October 2021, thirty African women between the ages of 20 and 35 embarked on the 20-week “Online Executive Training – Young Women Leadership on Climate Adaptation,” supported by the Global Center on Adaptation (GCA) and the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation.

The women, from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, and Zimbabwe, were selected from a pool of more than 400 applicants based on their community leadership skills and dedication to climate action and adaptation, according to Viola Christian, Program Officer at BKMC.

The participants shared some of the training’s many benefits, including the opportunity to belong to an empowering network of women in adaptation:

“The training gave me a platform to connect with more than thirty climate champions: the instructors, resource persons and other trainees,” said Jiata Ugwah Ekele, 24, a Knowledge Management and Extension Assistant at the Climate and Sustainable Development Network of Nigeria.

Dorah Momanyi, 29, a Kenyan food scientist and founder of the Nutritious Agriculture Network, applied for the training because she finds “a strong link between local food systems, climate change and the attainment of SDGs given local food systems play a critical role in climate adaptation.”

“In a continent where youth unemployment is on the rise, climate adaptation puts a meal on my table,” she said, highlighting that, “I am a bigger and better brand as a result of this online training. Being a millennial generation influenced by everything western, I appreciate more than ever the role of local climate adaptation strategies fronted, designed, and led by women.”

Patience Sibanda, 28, a Zimbabwean student and researcher in the field of Climate Smart Agriculture and resilience building at the University of Fort Hare, South Africa, said, “I gained priceless knowledge on climate crisis management, the nexus of gender, climate vulnerability, adaptation, resilience and advocacy and the pivotal role young women play in bringing attention to climate policy architecture.”

For Mariam Elsadek, 27, a marine scientist from Egypt who works as an Environmental Communication Manager at Hurghada Environmental Protection and Conservation Association, the training created “a powerful community of women who work in the field and support and encourage each other.”

“The idea is to bring these young leaders together and elevate them to another level so that they can be more effective at driving climate adaptation solutions,” said Christian, explaining that one of the training’s main goals is that, as women, its participants will transfer the knowledge gained into more gender inclusive climate adaptation practices.

“Another big reason is that we want to connect them and give them opportunities and platforms to show the world that they have knowledge and that they already do so much for climate adaptation but their voices are often just not listened to – bringing them into opportunities where they can network with high-level decision makers. That way we ensure that they can be more effective in what they want to achieve,” Christian said.

The training, which is designed to be replicated in future, will conclude on 17th March and CEO of GCA, Professor Dr. Patrick Verkooijen, will deliver a speech during the closing ceremony.

For more information about the training “Young Women Leadership on Climate Adaptation” visit the BKMC or GCA website. 

BKMC teams up with Global Citizen to Promote Climate-Resilient Agriculture

Climate change is already transforming humanity’s relationship with nature, and nowhere is this shift more apparent than in the field of agriculture. Farmers worldwide are contending with rising temperatures, proliferating pests, and increasing droughts and floods that require new approaches to crops that have been grown for generations.

It’s a dynamic that leaves farmers exposed to financial ruin and diminishing yields, a prospect that threatens global food security at a time when the global population and its demand for calories continues to grow.

The COVID-19 pandemic has further impacted farmers, often cutting them off from laborers, markets, and government assistance. Building back better” from the pandemic requires bold climate action that prioritizes smallholder farmers who are struggling to overcome structural and environmental forces outside of their control. That’s why the BKMC is entering a two-year partnership with Global Citizen — to advocate for climate-resilient agriculture by championing smallholder farmers especially in Africa and calling on world leaders to strengthen global food security and increase development aid to agricultural adaptation.

“2021 is the year we recover back better and call for increased political commitments,” said Ban Ki-moon, founder of the organization and 8th secretary-general of the United Nations.

“Partnering with Global Citizen on adaptation, the Ban Ki-moon Centre will join the collective effort to address climate change, focusing on building the climate resilience of smallholder farmers around the world.”

 

The partnership will involve behind-the-scenes advocacy and public awareness efforts that work hand-in-hand. By identifying governments that have shown broad sympathy for the cause of climate adaptation, the partnership will seek to increase development aid for agricultural adaptation in low-income countries.

 In support of these outreach efforts, Global Citizen and the BKMC will also seek to improve understanding of the challenges facing smallholder farmers, the complex dynamics of climate change, and how demand-driven research, such as those championed by CGIAR, accelerates climate adaptation on the ground.

In particular, the Program will bring forward the stories of smallholder farmers and how they’re confronting the climate crisis, incorporating agricultural adaptation tools and techniques, and building a better future.

While countries have shifted toward a form of industrial agriculture in recent decades that features massive plots of land and heavy use of chemicals, there are still roughly 570 million smallholder farms worldwide that manage land less than two acres in size. These farms support communities through food production, jobs, and the maintenance of traditional practices. But climate change primarily threatens smallholder farmers who do not always have the resources to adapt to emerging disruptions. Farmers often have to sell or leave their land when faced with rising temperatures, droughts, and other environmental changes. The absorption of small farms into industrial farms, meanwhile, often further contributes to the problem of greenhouse gas emissions.

 

Today you can start by taking our joint short quiz powered by Global Citizen to understand why the situation facing farmers is so urgent. 

The partnership will highlight the lived experiences of female farmers on the front lines of food production; break down how adequately funded research can transform agriculture; explore how young people are reshaping agriculture and unlocking new opportunities; explain how agricultural adaptation practices can actually mitigate climate change, and look at how farming communities can improve rural development more broadly.

Through written content, video, and social media, the partners will put a light on the people who are crucial to the future survival of humanity: farmers.

Whether or not countries can navigate the disruptions of the worsening climate crisis depends in part on how well smallholder farmers can adapt. Farmers require stable weather conditions and steady supplies of water, both of which are becoming increasingly precarious as temperatures rise. Looked at another way, focusing on the plight of farmers can foster society-wide climate resilience. If the people who tilled the land were prioritized in global decision-making processes, then fossil fuels would be phased out more rapidly and inequality eradicated sooner. After all, fewer greenhouse emissions mean less climate change and more favorable conditions for growing food.

Global Citizen Scholar Samuel Afadu & Global Citizen Fellow Horia Sardarzada at VEF

The VEF Virtual Series “Empowering Women and Youth to Accelerate the Clean Energy Transition”, on January 12-13, invited women and young leaders to discuss how we can ensure a clean energy transition that is just and leaves no one behind.

For this year’s first virtual VEF session, we were excited to see our Global Citizen Scholar (2019) Samuel Kofi Afadu & Global Citizen Fellow (2019) Horia Sardarzada participate in the January Edition, focused on gender, youth and equity.

After introductory remarks, the session diverged into four Breakout Sessions on different themes. The session “Enabling Environment for Youth,” featured Global Citizen Scholar Samuel Kofi Afadu Co-founder of Light my World International, an NGO that is working to promote access to clean energy solutions to off-grid communities in Ghana. The session also featured Israel FaleyeMYSOLARBID LTD, Jichen Liu Clear Plate®, Pontsho Moletsane – GCIP South Africa 2017 Youth Winner, Esther Wanza – SDG7 Youth Constituency, Tracey CroweSeforAll, Anurag MalooSeedstars Asia-Pacific , and David OutRural Electrification Agency (REA).

Global Citizen Scholar Samuel commented how including youth is a prerequisite to a successful clean energy transition. He also highlighted that there is a need for youth to take action and that their actions should be taken seriously by decision-makers. “It is time for the youth to take action. The youth of today and the world will benefit or suffer from our actions and in-actions. Let’s take action in solving problems and connecting them with our passions, creating a sustainable and equitable world for all.”  

 

Global Citizen Fellow Horia Sardarzada, who is currently serving as Director-General of Early Childhood Care and Education ECCE/Kindergartens at Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs in Afghanistan, participated in the Breakout Session “Enabling Environment for Women,” alongside Sheila OparaochaENERGIA/Hivos, Abir El SaadiMinistry of Trade and Industry Egypt, Kerry MaxGlobal Affairs Canada, Kavita SinhaGreen Climate Fund, Marta Luca- SNAM, Jasmin Haider – Austrian Federal Ministry for Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation & Technology, and Reuben James Barrete – Male Champions of Change.

Horia pointed to gender norms, social and cultural practices, the lack of financial funds, and limited access to networks and partnerships as the main challenges women entrepreneurs face in equally leading, contributing to and benefiting from the clean energy transition.    

“Through the platform Women’s Initiatives for Sustainable Energy (WISE) we started to provide input, access to information for female fresh graduates who want to invest in green energy or do partnerships. We provided them with access to information, training, advocacy, where they could meet with financial organizations.”

Horia Sardarzada is founder of the organization Women’s Initiatives for Sustainable Energy (WISE), which is aiming to economically empower women in Afghanistan to invest in clean energy sector. 

Credits: https://twitter.com/ForumVienna/status/1350056114260504576

 

To watch a recap of the session, visit VEF Virtual Series

For more information about the VEF, visit VIENNA ENERGY FORUM

CEO Froehler Moderates Food Systems Panel at VEF

On November 4, 2020, Ban Ki-moon Centre CEO Monika Froehler moderated a breakout session during the “Priorities at the Farm Level” session of the Vienna Energy Forum “Food Systems Track” online series. This year the sessions serve as a platform to discuss pathways to better align the energy transition with the food systems transformation, focusing on opportunities in developing countries.

The “Enablers for Progress” discussion welcomed: Fiona Hoffman-Harland – Shell Foundation, Manssor Ahmad – Agribusiness Impact Investment of The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office of UK, Camile Andre Bataille – ANKA Madagascar, Joseph Kienzle – FAO, and Lowell Randel – Global Cold Chain Alliance. 

The session (starting at 1:47:10) focused on the enablers for food systems transitions, especially for enabling opportunities when considering #farm-level priorities. The panelists discussed what is needed as a helping hand for smallholder farmers and how to effectively involve women and youth in food system processes. 

Joseph Kienzle – FAO, emphasized: “We need transportation, access to modern technology, and capacity building incentive packages. We need to make the private sector understand what smallholder farmers need.”

 

On how to integrate and reach women and youth on these opportunities, Lowell Randel – Global Cold Chain Alliance recommended that “We really have to pay close attention and provide them with training on, farm and the value of the cold chain. It is educating the youth and women that is critical to keep the cold chain and extend product life”.

Fiona Hoffman-Harland – Shell Foundation called for a need to focus on the entrepreneurial side of women, reasoning that “We must address social barriers and not just provide women tailored products. Women spend more money on their families than their businesses. Both men and women struggle with time poverty. But women struggle more than men with subsidized time, child-care, which go hand in hand with social norms.”

Credit: https://twitter.com/ForumVienna/status/1325786918026682368
Credit: https://twitter.com/ForumVienna/status/1325786918026682368
 

To conclude the session CEO Monika Froehler put together a list of recommendations to provide opportunities for smallholder farmers, she continued: “The full chain value approach needs to be taken into consideration. The three-legged-stool is key; we need training, technology, and finance.” 

Ban Ki-moon delivers keynote address at the launch of GCA

“Without urgent adaptation action, we risk undermining food, energy and water security for decades to come,” said BKMC Co-chair Ban Ki-moon
who is a leader of the Global Commission on Adaption and Chair of the Advisory Board of the Global Center on Adaptation (GCA) at the launch and opening ceremony of the Global Commission on Adaptation in The Hague, the Netherlands on October 16th, 2018. The Global Commission on Adaptation is co-hosted by GCA and World Resources Institute. The Managing Partners coordinate and support the engagement activities of Commissioners, help to deliver research products, and support the overall functioning of the Commission’s work. The Commission is headed by Co-chair Ban Ki-moon, Co-chair Bill Gates of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and CEO Kristalina Georgieva of World Bank, and consists of 17 convening countries and 28 Commissioners, including leaders representing all regions of the globe and all sectors of development and industry.
“Millions of lives are being lost, and poor people who did the least to cause the problems are suffering the most.” Ban pointed out that “Projects in water scarcity in Africa and the Middle East will cause growth rate to decline by as much as 6 per cent of GDP.”
Ban urged leaders of the world to work on making a complete transformation of “policies, programs, and projects across government, the private sector, and civil society” in order to adopt to climate and to ensure the well-being of humanity. The Global Commission on Adaptation will provide a road map for what actions should be taken and how differently we should approach the development of the world. Ban says that the next two years will be critical for humanity and that greater climate resilience is reachable if we work together.
“We are at a point of no return!” “The time to act is now, and we cannot do it alone!”
  Watch the full speech of Ban Ki-moon and other global leaders at the launch event: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=paw1Jtew2P0 Co-chair Ban’s introductory video on the Global Commission on Adaptation can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=px9Z83hycxI Photo: GCA