- The initiative trains leaders for today and tomorrow, equipping them to be changemakers in their areas of service.
- Climate change effects aversion has been among the major aims of the initiative.
- Kenya and Tanzania are the main target countries.
The founder of a global environmental movement, Patrick Arnold, returned to east Africa and camped twice in Kenya (Nairobi and Kisumu) and then in Tanzania.
He intended to empower billions of young people to become activists and leaders—meaning an impact on the current and future populations globally.
The initiative, dubbed 10 Billion Strong, has been having a minimum of three cohorts annually for more than three years with the goal of equipping as many youth leaders as feasible.
Launching a green center
Thirty young climate leaders from across Kenya bode their time on March 15 at the Ikigai Center in Riverside, Nairobi, preparing to launch a green center in Kenya.
The green hub is an effort to avert the effects of climate change in the country, with the support of other organizations from across Africa.
It was an open invitation to all youth networks and Global Initiative Training Program graduates to join forces and launch a hub that would accommodate everyone.
Most of them were recent graduates from the December 2022 cohort, who began their training around December 12, 2022, and graduated on February 27 this year.
In his opening remarks, the organization’s Founder, Patrick Arnold, inspired by the want of his kids to find the world a better place, explained that his initial goal was to empower leaders of approximately 10 billion people—hence the name 10 Billion Strong.
Partnering with green hubs
Given the organization’s quick success, he has raised the bar a bit higher by calling for green hubs in some of Africa’s largest cities to get involved in the real work of climate acclimation.
Arnold is partnering with two organizations to offer grants to start-ups majoring in curbing environmental challenges.
“Training is an output, but it’s not always a result,” Arnold said.
Going about it
The participants were required to respond to a few questions to better grasp the environmental challenges and the context around them.
Issues of interest hovered around the need to:
- Establish a goal that anybody can lead in the environmental movement.
Realizing the legal framework and advocating for various environmental protection and restoration initiatives are all necessary. Encouraging other youth organizations and even the youngsters themselves to join groups that support the legislative frameworks governing environmental protection regions is essential too.
- Create a community centered on a vision.
Lack of opportunities, which entails misrepresentations of the ranks and roles of environmental activists, insufficient political support and government support in terms of funding, resource allocation, and distribution, a lack of youth interest in environmental issues, and insufficient environmental awareness and education.
It also entails raising community awareness, converting from a linear to a circular economy to help reduce waste, and embracing renewable energy, particularly in rural areas where these resources are abundant, through chiefs, community elders, and parties that are directly connected to the group.
- Put out audacious proposals to advance and address pressing issues.
Building local capacity that is sustainable involves partnering with important local and international stakeholders, integrating technology into the program, focusing on leaders who are actively addressing environmental issues, looking at policy and environmental evaluation, and training young environmental leaders to embrace a better future.
- Checking out available resources’ activist can work with
These include financial resources that can be obtained from stakeholders such as the national government, for-profit and non-profit organizations, philanthropists, human resources, social and network resources, technology resources, and renewable resources.
Arnold addressed the first gathering that aims to launch a 10 billion-strong community hub in Nairobi through an interactive engagement with climate leaders from various parts of Kenya.
He initially focused on Kenya and Tanzania.
After visiting Nairobi, he traveled to Kisumu, a lakeside city, where he met with ten ecopreneurs and climate activists currently running start-ups that are addressing climate catastrophe.
Selecting the trainees
A specific selection of trainees was made from the top seven counties that account for 10% of Kenya’s GDP, thanks to financing from the US Embassy in Kenya, together with partnerships from WISE Kenya hub and Green Kenya.
WISE Kenya (Women in Sustainable Enterprises) is an organization that seeks to empower women and girls in the fishing villages of Lake Victoria and its surrounding counties through skills, tools, and resources for economic development.
Green Kenya is a non-profit organization specializing in sports for development action, working in challenging environments in Africa.
The ecopreneurs from Kenya’s outlying regions are to be supported for six months through assistance and coaching in developing their business models and scaling up their strategies.
A group of beekeepers, mushroom farmers, biodegradable packaging entrepreneurs, clean energy pioneers, and zero waste enthusiasts joined together to combat the invasive water hyacinth in Lake Victoria with a goal to convert agricultural waste into building materials.
Lake water hyacinth in Lake Victoria has been a persistent issue for both lakeside socioeconomic activities and aquatic life.
By deoxygenating the water and decreasing nutrition to juvenile fish in protected bays, it has stifled aquatic life and contributed to decreased fish numbers in the lake.
It interferes with local subsistence fishing and even restricts access to the beaches when it is present in large enough quantities to impede intakes for hydropower facilities.
Prizing the winners
A company pitching event marked the conclusion of the training in Kisumu, and the outstanding businesses received seed money.
Three businesses aiming to produce cleaner fuels from invasive water hyacinth, sustaining a circular economy by inventing avocado oil and seed waste, and producing high-quality paper from leftover banana tree fiber, respectively, emerged winners.
The US embassy invested out of the top metropolitan areas in order to boost Eco entrepreneurship.
Hellen Mueni, Joshua Leshan of Kajiado, Emily Omondi of Kisumu, Apetsy Ameka of Mbale, Esther Nyambura of Machakos, Dancun Jairo of Migori, Darell Onyango of Siaya, Margret Atieno of Homabay, and Rose Shikulu Machuma of Bungoma were the chosen ecopreneurs.
On to Tanzania
Following the two events in Kenya, he continued to Tanzania, where he once more ran into a group of climate activists who had also benefited from the training workshops.
10 Billion Strong has been, over the past three years, awarding different climate and environmental activists different grants at the end of its training.
This further facilitates the cause of climate action.
This comes at a time Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a scientific organization that advises the United Nations (UN) on rising temperatures, just published its 2023 climate report on March 20, stating that there is little prospect of preventing global warming of more than 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2030.
As the reports now plainly show, the world has already warmed by 1.1 degrees Celsius and is set to exceed the mark in the next seven years if action is not taken to avert the danger.
The youthful population should embrace climate action as it resonates well if the earth is to be preserved in or around 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2100.
The report asserts that scaling up solutions requires greater funding and that adaptation strategies can assist in increasing resilience.
Even though at least 179 countries are now considering adaptation, many still have not made the transition from planning to implementation, with the gap between current levels of adaptation and those that are necessarily varying greatly due to a lack of funding.
The IPCC estimates that developing nations alone will require $127 billion annually by 2030 and $295 billion annually by 2050 in order to adapt to climate change.
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However, from 2017 to 2018, the amount of funding allocated for adaptation was only $23 billion to $46 billion, or 4% to 8% of the overall climate finance.