Tuesday, June 2, 2015

PRESS RELEASE: Youth Group Task Nigeria President Buhari on Climate Change

Abuja-Nigeria, 29th of May, 2015: Today Nigerians has been given a new opportunity for change and transformational leadership in the fight against climate change as President Muhammadu Buhari takes over as President of Federal Republic of Nigeria.

‘Climate change remain one of the biggest challenge facing the world today, from storms in America to heat waves in India and recalling the 2012 floods in Nigeria that eroded the small gains in development and democracy. We are reminded of need for leadership and the required but urgent and rigorous action on climate change’, Esther Agbarakwe.

‘When it comes to climate change, people generally look towards experts for solutions forgetting to engage us, young people. As young Nigerians we are more disproportionately affected by the impact of climate change more than any generation and we will not watch as our future is risked by the inactions of our past leaders’, Hamzat Lawal. 

We commend President Muhammadu Buhari for making Climate Change one of his top Policy actions and we express hope that the leadership we lacked in the years past will be demonstrated especially now as we transits from Millennium Development Goals to the Sustainable Development Goals and the new Climate Change Agreement to be decided in Paris during the Conference of parties (COP 21) later this year.

‘We call on the President to focus on investing more in renewable energy which can create millions of job for young people and support local efforts in bridging the intergenerational gap in climate leadership. We also ask the President to give young people a voice in climate decision making at all levels’ Lawal stressed.

‘As young people are working under the umbrella of the Nigeria Youth Climate Coalition (NYCC) and the African Youth Initiative on Climate change (AYICC) to empower each other through peer education, policy advocacy and social media awareness campaign such as #ClimateWednesday’  Esther confirmed.

We are hopeful that Nigeria will take her leadership place in the regional and international agenda in the fight against climate change and we are ready to support and hold the government accountable. 

Esther Agbarakwe
Nigeria Youth Climate Coalition


African Youth Initiative on Climate Change
Communication Officer

UN Sec-Gen Advocates Youth Empowerment through Employment

When young people have decent jobs, political weight, negotiating muscle and real influence in the world, they will create a better future, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today as he kicked off a Headquarters event on empowering youth through employment.
“A lack of jobs feeds insecurity. A jobs-rich country can have a wealth of stability. Young people are forced to bear the brunt of conflicts. They should be given the chance to carry the banner of peace,” Mr. Ban told the General Assembly.
“The world now has the largest generation of young people in history. I place great hopes in their power to shape our future. They are part of the first generation that can end poverty and the last that can avoid the worst impacts of climate change,” he added.
Today’s High-Level Eventon the Demographic Dividend and Youth Employment essentially takes stock of how countries with large populations of young people and declining fertility rates stand poised to benefit the most from this so-called demographic dividend.
Co-organized by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), today’s event follows last Friday’s General Assembly meeting that marked the 20th anniversary of the World Programme of Action for Youth and will consist of two panel discussions on the demographic dividend and creating opportunities for employment.
“We renewed our commitment to the World Programme of Action,” Mr. Ban said about Friday’s meeting. “And I stressed that we cannot talk about sustainable development without the active involvement of youth.”
This year the United Nations hopes to change the course of human history by adopting the new development agenda at our special summit on sustainable development in New York in September and a universal climate change agreement at conference in Paris this December.
The UN chief, who was joined today by several ministers as well as his Youth Envoy, Ahmad Alhendawi and President of the General Assembly, Sam Kutesa, pointed out that some 74 million people worldwide still cannot find work. The #YouthNow campaign Mr. Ban launched in February and which has generated nearly a billion digital engagements demonstrates the significance of youth issues.
He highlighted the link between development and peace and urged empowering young people to address security matters. It is also critical to invest in young women and adolescent girls who face more obstacles than young men and boys and deserve special support in seizing opportunities and claiming their rights, the Secretary-General said.
To help harness the demographic dividend, Mr. Ban proposed four steps: first, he called for increasing access to family planning and reproductive health care services so that families are able to choose the number and timing of their children. Second, there is a need to ensure that young people get quality education and training to meet the needs of labour markets. Third, there needs to be investments with a focus on human rights and finally, social protection systems must help end poverty and fight persistent inequalities.
Also speaking today, General Assembly President Sam Kutesa said that countries with large populations of young people and declining fertility rates stand poised to benefit the most from the demographic dividend.
“The more young people grow into well-educated adults with fewer dependents and new opportunities to acquire wealth, savings and purchasing power, the more they will be able to accelerate economic growth and development,” he emphasized.
To harness the demographic dividend, right policies and interventions are needed in order to get a higher proportion of the youthful population into economically productive adults. For example, Asia experienced a seven-fold increase in gross domestic product (GDP) per capita by harnessing their demographic dividend, while Latin America experienced a two-fold increase.
Of the 1.8 billion young people worldwide, nine out of 10 of them live in least developed countries, and many in Africa, he added. And the number of young Africans aged 15-24 is set to double by 2045. By harnessing its demographic dividend, the African continent could add up to $500 billion per year to its economy, for as many as 30 years.
“Through vocational training, specialized and practical job-related skills can be developed that prepare young people for work in occupations more in-line with the job market needs,” the General Assembly President said.
Greater investments are required in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) to advance innovation. The empowerment of women and girls, particularly in educational opportunities and universal access to quality reproductive health knowledge is also critical.
“The needs of countries with large youth populations should be considered in the context of our sustainable development objectives,” he added, highlighting the need for partnerships between governments, the private sector, and other stakeholders to make the necessary investments in order to empower youth

Monday, April 13, 2015

SIX Young & Powerful Nigerian Women In Politics & Policy

I am very pleased to share that it is a humbling experience to be listed among this very amazing women. 
See Original post by WomenNg here  and See the #YNaijaPowerList of Powerful Young People in Policy here 
Ynaija has just released the #YNaijaPowerList for  the most influential young Nigerians under 40 who are in politics and policy. Six young and influential women made this list, below is their names and profiles as on the #YNaijaPowerLists;
josephineJosephine Washima
Washima is an accomplished business transformation expert but it is her position as the Special Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan on Job Creation that earns her a spot on this list. Ms Washima brief includes coordinating and monitoring all job creation activities nationwide as well as generating a verifiable unemployment database. Formerly of the Abuja Enterprise Agency, Washima takes some credit for the perceived success of YouWin and G-Win

mojiMoji Rhodes
For 8 years, Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos state has been quite the performer. Granted but a lot of this is made possible because of the careful, deliberate work of Moji Rhodes who functions as his deputy chief of staff. Rhodes’ office coordinates the activities and itinerary of her principal. Reportedly a privileged member of his inner circle, anyone hoping to score an audience with BRF probably has to go through her to ease out the process.

adaAda Osakwe
According to Forbes magazine, Ada Osakwe is a huge part of the Nigerian agricultural sector’s $4billion private sector investment commitments. At 34, Osakwe serves as the Senior Investment Adviser to the performing Minister of Agriculture, Akinwunmi Adesina, and in this capacity, advises on policies regarding private sector investments, while interacting with prospective agribusiness investors. Osakwe has also served as Vice President of Kuramo Capital, a New York-based investment management firm.
estherEsther Agbarakwe
Esther Climate as she is fondly called, Is the founder of the Nigerian Youth Climate Coalition. An environmental activist with over 10 years experience, Agbarakwe has represented both country and African youth at many global interactions and assemblies. In 2013, she was elected the convener of Actionaid Nigeria general assembly and serves as technical advisor to the Africa Youth Initiative on Climate Change (AYICC). She works as communications officer, (Global Fund) for the Association For Reproductive & Family Health
joyceeJoyce Awojoodu
Awojoodu is a renewable energy advocate who has worked in the renewable energy research and development team at the Nigeran Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and also as the technical assistant on research, analysis and informatics to the Minister of Power. She has started the Solar and Alternative Resources (SOAR) to illuminate remote and rural communities lacking grid connectivity and is a World Economic Forum Global shaper.

katKatja Schiller Nwator
This vibrant and accomplished young woman is the director, Elumelu Nigeria Empowerment Fund, a non-profit organisation tasked with the responsibility of transforming post-conflict and post-disaster communities into thriving and economically sustainable communities. She also doubles as head of the The Tony & Awele Elumelu Prize, a reward and opportunity platform for African students. She has also worked as the leadership director and CSR manager at the TEF. She is a member of the independent audit committee, The Future Awards Africa prize.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Beyond the drum beat: Social Media for behavior change

Esther shares with us her insights and thoughts on opportunities to use social media more effectively in the African context.Social media is accessible in most part of Africa through, laptops, mobile phones and tablets. Yet many still lack the much needed access to information on climate change and other environmental issue. Why? Lack of interest is certainly not one of it.
Previously we usually go out to look for information, like travel long distance to Internet cafĂ© to use the internet and other facilities (that is when the electricity is available). Information now find us wherever we are; home, work or school through digital technology including new media. Many of us young people across Africa are very excited about this, as our ability to communicate with our peers has been enhanced especially for those of us that know how to use it. Social media has the power to change the way we access and use information, permitting us to bypass the gatekeepers – reporters, editors and government officials – who shape or control the press agenda. The Arab spring in 2010 – 11 revealed how social networks such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube revolutionized political communication in North Africa.
We are currently witnessing an unusual changing climate. It is affecting every aspect of our life, education, food, forced migration and security. Climate has changed on all time scales throughout Earth’s history. Some aspects of the current climate change are not unusual, but others are. Although climate change is a global issue, likewise its impacts, but the biting effects are felt more by poor and developing countries especially those in Africa due to low level of infrastructural development, awareness and coping capacities. But this can change, if people have access to correct information on adaption and holding their government accountable.
Let me share the Story of how we use social media for climate change and environmental education/awareness and advocacy. First we saw and acknowledged the presence of many young Nigerians on Facebook and twitter, engaging constantly and having great fun. Amidst the sound of the drum beat, we decided to throw in climate change information into their conversations, sharing where, what and when off line climate change education will or have taken place.
We came to realized that for those that are already interested in environmental issues, social media made it possible for them to be updated instantly on recent reports and environmental issues, such as 2012 flooding in Nigeria (#NGFloods), oil spill in the Niger Delta, etx, engaging their thoughts and allowing them to make their voice heard. During 2012 Floods that devastated many part of Nigeria, families were displaced, schools were destroyed, young people lost their means of livelihoods and other exisiting ‘manageable’ infrastructure such as roads, etc damaged thereby impacting children’s rights to education, as many of them are cut off from their schools or become refugees in refugee camps where there is no room for education. Peasant farmers had their own story to tell....
Continue reading here
This piece was originally posted on adoptanegotiator

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

President-Elect, General Mohammed Buhari Promises To Fight Climate Change in Nigeria


“I assure all foreign governments that Nigeria will become a more forceful and constructive player in the global fight against terrorism and in other matters of collective concern, such as the fight against drugs, climate change, financial fraud, communicable diseases and other issues requiring global response,” - Buhari

The President elect General Mohammed Buhari (Rtd) has promised to fight Climate Change in Nigeria. He made this pledge through his Party Manifesto and reaffirmed this commitment during his his acceptance speech on Wednesday 1st of April 2015

‘’I must also add my appreciation for the role played by civil societies, national and International observers, other world leaders in ensuring that Nigeria holds free and fair elections. I assure all foreign governments that Nigeria will become a more forceful and constructive player in the global fight against terrorism and in other matters of collective concern, such as the fight against drugs, climate change, financial fraud, communicable diseases and other issues requiring global response’’- Buhari

In 2014 when he  officially started his campaign, I engaged  him on twitter about  his vision for environmental sustainable Nigeria and I got a response!

My colleagues and I through the Nigerian Youth Climate Coalition  (NYCC) are  looking forward to engaging the new government when they officially take over in May as this year is an important year for climate Action and especially now on the Road to Paris Campaign.  We will continue to use all available resources accessible to engage while holding the president elect accountable to all his promises.

Nigeria can no longer afford to be left behind.  This is the change we seek!

Monday, April 6, 2015

#ID100 Paper Published! 100 Key Questions for Development Policy and Research

From Monday June 30th  to July 3rd 2014, I was a guest of the University of Sheffield, Sheffield in the UK, as part of the #ID100 Project: Identifying critical questions for development research& policy.  Participants who are experts in International development were invited to identify and agree on the most important questions in International Development (ID). With the deadline of the MDGs fast approaching, these questions will define how the post-2015 agenda can be addressed in a realistic and evidenced way. 

I am pleased to share that the working paper has been published. See information bellow from SIID

How can research best contribute to a new global agenda for international development? SIID has just published the results of a global consultative exercise called ID100, which sought to identify 100 key questions for development policy and research. These 100 questions, published in an open access working paper with the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD), were gathered and selected via a broad participatory consultative exercise involving more than 700 people from 34 countries.
They include a combination of long-standing problems as well as new challenges emerging from recent socio-political and environmental changes. Well-established concerns about the rights of women, and of vulnerable groups such as poor workers, small-scale farmers, people with disabilities, children and ethnic minorities feature alongside emerging issues, including the role of business in protecting human rights, and information and communication technologies as tools for empowerment and the value of art in development


In a fast-growing world where technology has become an essential part of the human life and activity, Esther shows an example of how tech can be used to shape the society for justice and the greater good.” – Editor’s note.
Guest Writer: Esther Agbarakwe
World Day of Social Justice | Credit: sabcAs the world’s population continue to increase, so is the population of young people, the largest in human history. Nigeria, Africa’s most populous and biggest economy has seen the growth in the number of young people as an opportunity and a challenge.
Technology continues to shape this opportunity, providing young people with inspiration and knowledge to shape their future. In 2012,  the Occupy Nigeria movement was birthed; the same year we experienced the biggest flood disaster in Nigerian history in more than 40 years. The Occupy Nigeria was a socio-political protest movement that began on Monday, 2 January 2012 in response to the fuel subsidy removal by the federal government of the current President – Dr. Goodluck Jonathan (GCFR). This movement was inspired by young Nigerians and shaped by technology – social media.
Read more here