#YouthLead 2023 International Youth Day

The shift towards an empowered youth population for Environmental Justice has already begun!

In the struggle for environmental justice in Africa, our team is shining a light on youth activists as well as other people who are working at the grassroots level and organizing on specific issues. People working across the  fields of zero waste, plastics, fighting against incineration and demanding climate action. Participate with us in their celebration and the celebration of every other young leader in the region who is working out positive change from family to national level. This campaign aims to amplify the voices of young activists and grassroots organizers who are driving change in Africa’s environmental movement. By showcasing their efforts and achievements, we hope to inspire more individuals to join the fight for a sustainable and just future. Together, let us recognize and support these dedicated individuals who are making a significant impact in their communities and beyond. 

The role of young people in the environmental revolutions in Africa is gaining more momentum due to the growing need for change and inclusivity in decision making for our future. As young people, it is important to include them so that they are part of the system they serve, adding to the creation of the solutions that Africa’s rally to a just transition requires. By involving young people in environmental revolutions, we can tap into their innovative ideas and fresh perspectives, ensuring that the solutions we develop are sustainable and effective. Additionally, empowering young individuals to take an active role in decision making not only benefits the environment but also fosters a sense of ownership and responsibility among the youth, driving long-term change. 

Meet Taylen Reddy!

My name is Taylen Reddy and I am the founder and coordinator of Zero Waste Durban in South Africa. I have over 2 years of experience campaigning against plastic pollution in my hometown through Zero Waste Durban. This has culminated in me being appointed a Youth Ambassador for the Break Free From Plastic (BFFP) movement in 2022 as well as Zero Waste Durban becoming a core-member of both BFFP and GAIA Africa networks. I am also a member of the GAIA Africa Plastics Working Group, with a major focus on INC processes and how best to build capacity for member organizations to take action. This includes campaigns against waste colonialism and a shift of narrative to Global North accountability for much of the single use plastic waste that ends up in Africa. 

Since starting in this space, I have seen a rapid increase in young people getting involved in civil society, with an increased appetite to face the status quo and dismantle the systems that are failing us and the environment. A great achievement that stands out to me is the immense participation of people in the African region for the 2023 International Break Free From Plastic Summit, for which I was a coordinator for African representation. This truly is a testament to the drive and will power of the African youth! On this Youth Day, I urge all young Africans to join the fight in stopping waste colonialism by fighting back and ensuring that full accountability is shifted to the polluters.

Meet Oureya Raissa!

My name is Oureya Raissa, and I manage the programming for the non-governmental organization known as Jeunes Verts. Jeunes Verts is a non-governmental organization with the goals of preserving the natural world, minimizing the effects of climate change, and fostering an appreciation for physical activity. Our work consists of increasing awareness among young people and women of the necessity to be aware of their environment and to take care of it, to minimize the use of plastics, and to adopt sustainable ways of consumption and production. Specifically, we focus on creating awareness of the need to be aware of their environment and to take care of it. We provide them with support in the form of capacity-building and tangible projects so that they can move in this desired direction and take action. To this day, thousands of young people have already been made aware of the problem, have been provided with the information, and have made the commitment to begin engaging in environmentally conscious enterprise and to modify their behavior. 

As part of the celebrations for International Youth Day, I would like to extend an invitation to all of the young people around the world, and the young people of Togo in particular, to get involved with civil society organizations that are fighting to protect the environment, against single-use bags, and to make personal commitments to preserve this planet for the generations that will come after us. Together, let’s act our age, show some environmental consciousness, and refuse to use plastic bags.

Meet Chaima!

Zero Waste Tunisia is an organization that campaigns for the promotion of sustainable practices and the creation of communities that produce zero waste by educating, engaging, and empowering the various players who make up the ecosystem. ZWT has spent the past three years concentrating its efforts on increasing public awareness on food waste management and food security by means of digital campaigns, a zero waste guide, videos, and media programs. The goal of these initiatives is to implicate many stakeholders and involve them in the process of creating change.

To this day, we have been successful in engaging youth and children in the process of reducing the amount of waste they produce in their day-to-day lives. My most memorable experience would be during my awareness sessions and training to many participants express how easy it is to transition to the zero waste lifestyle and to practice the 4 R strategy with giving themselves the tips and the solutions; therefore, it is about making choices: beginning new habits that produce zero waste OR continuing to produce more waste. 

My call to action is for all of us to regard climate change as an individual threat, and the actions should be everyday from where we are, at home, in the schools, in the markets, and in the industry….it is easy to make waste, but trust me when I say that it is easier to minimize the waste.