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.
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.”