Youth groups working in Africa’s Congo Basin countries are supporting economic progress in isolated rural communities while protecting the forest, and it is high time their voices were heard, a young woman at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP23) in Bonn, Germany, said Thursday
For several years, Cameroon Green Youth Association (Association de la Jeunesse verte du Cameroun – AJVC) has been developing a program in Cameroon for the electrification of isolated rural areas with solar panels. The program started in 15 pilot communities in the east, in the center and in the far north of the country with the installation of solar panels in homes and schools. A contribution is made by the community itself, representing 25 to 30 per cent of the cost.
“Young people in the Congo Basin have been doing things on the ground that often go ignored,” explained Marie Tamoifo, President of AJVC and Regional Coordinator of the Youth Network for sustainable management of forest ecosystems in Central Africa (Réseau des jeunes pour la gestion durable des écosystèmes forestiers d’Afrique centrale – REJEFAC) in an interview with UN News.
REJEFAC brings together youth organizations from 10 Congo Basin countries – Burundi, Cameroon, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe and Chad).
Its aim is to promote the effective participation of young environmental actors in decision-making in the Congo Basin and “to contribute to the emergence in the region of a new type of leadership, more sensitive and open to the requirements of sustainable development.”
“[As for] actions on the ground, there are reforestation, awareness and education program for young people. It’s about strengthening the work that is done by governments,” said Ms. Tamoifo.