Caravan – Young YMCA activists unite for climate justice

Date: 22 November 2011

Eighty young YMCA activists are spending five weeks traveling through six African countries by bus. Why? Because they believe in the urgency of mobilising people all over Africa to take a keen interest in the upcoming UN summit on climate change.

“Africa is bearing the brunt of climate change. It is time for countries, companies and indeed all of us to make commitments to reduce carbon emissions” said Carlos Sanvee of the Africa Alliance of YMCAs.

As part of the “We Have Faith – Act Now for Climate Justice” campaign, 180 young people have joined the youth climate caravan, holding awareness raising concerts in every country along the way. Whilst some young activists are singing, the rest of the caravan collects signatures for a massive petition for climate justice.

“We always wake up early morning and get to our camping sites after dark,” says Daniel Ocholi from Kenya YMCA. “But now we’re used to it and are focusing on our mission.”

The caravan has already performed in five cities and met with a fantastic response from local communities. Despite the long hours on the road, morale is good and spirits are high. Caravaners have persuaded thousands of Africans they have met along the way to sign a petition for climate justice.

But this is not just an African initiative. Fifty young members of the YMCA / YWCA Norway are also part of the caravan.

It’s amazing to meet so many young people who are concerned about the same issue” says Tora Bjørnøy Lalim from the Norwegian YMCA / YWCA. “That we can work together with friends in Africa for the same goal is fantastic.”

Local YMCAs and YWCAs have welcomed the caravan as it has passed through, giving young people from different countries the chance to encourage one another in the fight for climate justice.

To follow caravan activities or sign the petition visit the “ We Have Faith – Act Now for Climate Justice” community on Facebook.

Jenny Fretheim