Advocating for a better environment in Madagascar
Madagascar is one of the world’s poorest countries. People struggle to work, access health facilities or feed their families; therefore, preserving the environment is not an economic or social priority. However, more and more Malagasy young people are raising their voices to protect their country and YMCA Madagascar is currently leading a number of initiatives to support them in protecting the environment.
UN Youth Climate Summit 2019
On 21 September 2019, more than 100 young people gathered at the offices of YMCA Madagascar to attend workshops held during the UN Youth Climate Summit 2019. One workshop was held in Malagasy, another one in English.
Lana, from Gasy Youth Up, led the first one. “We presented statistics and data about the consequences of climate change,” she said. “The voices of the young people have to be heard at an international level, so we promote participation by giving them what they need to reflect and come up with ideas for a better climate justice.”
At the English workshop, young people were debating and discussing how they could positively and actively impact their communities. Participants felt it was their time to take responsibility for the environment around them as opposed to waiting for government officials to take action.
Participants then wrote down their action points and pledged to share these ideas with their families and communities.
Y-Urban Environment Club
The Y-Urban Environment Club aims to empower young people in protecting the environment of the Malagasy capital Antananarivo and its surroundings.
Fetra is one of the co-leaders of this club. “We show people how to recycle,” she said. “We go to high schools to encourage them to be creative with plastic bottles and with waste. We also hold monthly workshops at YMCA.”
At the back of YMCA, they created a garden made of plastic bottles and water systems regulators. Fetra said, “This land has been given to us by God, we have to protect it. I want my great grand children to be able to live in it.”
For 175 years, YMCAs around the world have adapted to the needs and interests of young people, providing opportunities for them to change their communities for the better. Today, young Malagasy people are ready to take climate action, so naturally one of the priorities of YMCA Madagascar is to empower green activists to plant seeds of knowledge for a better future.