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By Ntalasha Chisha, Youth Facilitator.
The Fifth Zambian Children’s Climate Conference (ZCCC5) kicks off Today Monday 10th December,2012.The curtains will close down on the 14th. The opening ceremonies takes place tommorow on the 11th and District Commisioners are expected to grace the occassion. The perfomances for the opening ceremonies will be spiced by the Delegates under the guidance of the barefeet Team.
The conference will attract 125 Child Delegates from 5 districts of Zambia. This time around the set up of the conference has been decentralized and the conferences will take place in the 5 districts simultaneously.
The five districts are MANSA in Luapula province, MONGU in western Province, SOLWEZI in North Western province, KABWE in Central Province, and KITWE in the Copperbelt. Copperbelt province branch Education officer (Mr. Chikanya Fidelis) for Wildlife Conservation Society of Zambia echoed on how good the conference is to the child delegates. In an Interview with ZCCC times Child Journalist he said the conference serves as a platform on which foundations to fight climate change are built. Look at this, every house needs a foundation before it is built. This conference is building future leaders.
A child delegate who arrived at Mansa Lodge for the training as early as 07:30 hrs looking in a high mood said she can’t wait to get started, this is a dream come true.
The conference which was first held in April 2010 seeks to raise awareness on not only Climate Change but also HIV and AIDS. It falls under the Unite4Climate programme and has trained over 600 child climate ambassadors to date from around Zambia.
By Kondwani Ngoma, Facilitator, Lusaka
After four days of intensive training and skills building, the Zambian Children’s Climate Conference (ZCCC4) came to a close with 103 delegates being designated as Climate Ambassadors.
The ceremony was graced by the Brothers for life ambassador Kangwa Chilesha. His presence symbolised the role model we need in advocating for an HIV free generation. Kangwa challenged the delegates to adopt healthy lifestyles if they are to attain their goals. “You are the generation that is going to change our country and continent, but that can only happen if you remain determined and focussed. Practice safe sex, respect people from the opposite sex especially boys,” he said.
Speaking at the same occasion, UNICEF Chief Communications officer, Patrick Slavin expressed delight at the optimism exhibited by the Climate ambassadors in coming up with work plans. “In the short time you have been here, you have done extremely well. What is important is to engage with your peers and become actively involved in conservation,” he said.
15 year old Stephanie Sitali from Lusaka spoke on behalf of the delegates. She described the conference as a huge success. “We had a great experience from day one, we plan on using the information we received to sensitize our communities,” she said.
The closing of ZCCC4 is only the beginning of great things to come, years from now we will look back and marvel at the enormous progress we will score. Bear in mind where it all started and do not lose focus.
By Climate Ambassador Stephanie Sitali 16, Kamulanga High School, Lusaka and Kondwani Ngoma, Facilitator
Being a youth is incredible, it is the one stage in life were potential is at its fullest. It can also be a dangerous phase if not properly handled. It is with this in mind that the life skills session held on Wednesday at ZCCC4 was important.
Life skills are meant to equip one with problem solving techniques that can be used in the management of personal affairs. The HIV skills training centred on the topics; delay in sex, stigma and discrimination, care and support, HIV and Gender.
16 year old Jeff Tembo from Chipata described the session as interesting, knowledgeable and inspiring. “I learnt that we do not have to discriminate but communicate with people infected with HIV and AIDS,” he said. As ambassadors, we must view HIV and AIDS as a titanic and the safest lifeboat is abstinence.
Self confidence and self assertiveness are key components in ensuring that children do not give in to peer-pressure. Not only does it lessen vulnerability but also helps build a society in which we can communicate and empathise with our colleagues.
The greatest ship is acknowledging HIV exists, working hand in hand to fight it by giving support and equality to all human beings and by saying no to HIV. We believe we can get to zero HIV infections!
By Naomi Moseni, Matero girls High School, Lusaka
Talking walls was extraordinary. We got to paint our faces and some art work. I had so much fun because I got to express my views on climate change to the illiterate. My favourite part was the face painting because it was fun and both interesting to me and others.
By Adellaidah Musenge 15, St. Magrets Secondary, Chipata and Stephanie Sitali 16, Kamulanga High School.
We had so much fun, we learnt about the good and bad communication skills which we hardly knew existed, we learnt how to act and dance. When we tried them out, we got to learn that everyone has the ability to make a change through music and theatre. When we go home, we are going to impact the community on Climate change.
By Vanessa Njovu, Facilitator, Lusaka.
Over the past few years, the topic of Sustainable Development has raised great concern and brought about a lot of debate. This is because with the growing economies in most countries, environmental conservation is overlooked and more attention is focused on various developmental ventures.
Decision makers have to critically think about the current situation that the majority of Earth’s population is living in. Secondly come up with ways to sustain life, and at the same time protect our environment. A good question that we can ask ourselves is; how can we provide access to clean energy for everyone, and make sure that the energy we produce doesn’t contribute to climate change?
A good forum where such issues can be discussed is Rio +20. This is a UN Conference on Sustainable Development aimed at making policies that ensure a better future for mankind. This includes the creation of more jobs, access to clean drinking water, greater security and generally a better standard of living for all. The key thing is that policies that are implemented do not endanger our environment.
Echoing the words of the United Nations Resident Co-ordinator, Georgina Fekete. “RIO +20 starts and ends with you, start by helping formulate policy at youth level”