By Onome Amuge.
Pan-African social agency, Crtve DEVELOPMENT (CD), has launched the WE!ARE movement to build a pan-African voice on climate justice ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Summit (COP 27).
During the virtual launch, executives of the agency explained that the WE!ARE movement aims to inspire young people across Africa to share their vision of the continent they want to see and voice the climate justice demands of their communities through creative mediums.
The movement is championed by emerging and established creatives, policymakers, designers, visual artists, auditory artists and community leaders across Africa.
Collectively, the ultimate goal of the WE!ARE movement is to socialise climate justice in Africa, using creativity as a means to understand the youths’ demands for mitigation and adaptation in their communities.
With COP 27 poised to take place in Egypt in November 2022, the agency believes there has never been a better time for the continent to raise its voice in the climate discourse. This, it explained, is because Africa is the hardest-hit continent by the global climate crisis, despite contributing the least to climate change.
Citing a statement by Josefa Sacko, the AU Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, Crtve DEVELOPMENT noted that an estimated 118 million impoverished people will be exposed to drought, floods and extreme heat in Africa by 2030 if adequate response measures are not put in place. It added that those with the least capacity to cope and adapt to these impacts of climate change will face the most significant threat.
The WE!ARE movement aims to address this inequality by promoting climate justice which involves fairly sharing the problem of climate change as well as the responsibility of dealing with it, with all countries around the world.
“Africa is the least responsible for climate change but is among the first and worst to suffer. For too long, the story of climate change has been written by western countries. The solutions that have been proposed for climate change have mainly taken into account people living in places like Europe, the United Kingdom, Canada, the USA, Australia and New Zealand. We need local solutions to local climate change problems,” the agency stated.
Okito Wedi, founder and CEO, Crtve DEVELOPMENT, said the WE!ARE campaign would harness the power of art and creativity to change the narrative on climate change and development in Africa.
The campaign, Wedi said, would bridge the gap between communities who will be most affected and policymakers who will determine the future of the continent’s climate.
To further highlight the importance of climate justice in Africa, Crtve DEVELOPMENT, in partnership with Africa No Filter, issued a call-out for creative participation in WE!ARE showcases that will resemble climate justice in the context of “The Africa We Want To See”.
Creative Hubs in participating countries were invited to apply for grants to curate pop-up showcases and creative installations as well as the execution of three workshops using art and creativity as a tool for social change in local communities.
Following a rigorous selection process, the five hubs were selected in South Africa, Egypt, Mozambique and Nigeria. The Assembly and Footprints of David Arts Foundation were selected in Nigeria.
Creative Hubs are supported with in-person training and a grant of $10,000 to curate a pop-up showcase that will facilitate public engagement and participation ahead of COP 27.
The Assembly, founded by Yoanna Chikezie, is an open innovation organisation dedicated to empowering entrepreneurs and creatives from Africa and its diaspora to succeed in the global fashion industry, while Footprints of David Arts Foundation, founded in 2005 by Seun Awobajo, is an all-inclusive theatre and community development project in the Bariga community of Lagos.
In preparation for the showcases, which will kick off in September 2022, all creative hubs will attend online and in-person training workshops to equip them with practical advice on climate-related policy education, community participation, and media skills development.
By this, the WE!ARE movement is giving young Africans an opportunity to speak their minds, lead the conversation, and share their solutions on their terms.