August 14, 2011

Faith, Fortitude & Fun: One Friday Morning...

The youth from 9 countries along UN Avenue
It is a cold Friday morning in Nairobi and over 300 youth are gathered along the United Nations Avenue for a procession and a dance for Climate Justice. The wind blows gently in the morning chilliness then stills at some point. Voices of participants can be heard in whispers then they rise, reaching a crescendo as the crowd of youth swells to capacity. They are from Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan, Tanzania and Ethiopia. On their faces is written hope,faith and  an earnest desire to make a difference, this is it!The Occasion: The Launch of the ‘Have Faith-Act Now’ Campaign on August 12, the International Day of Youth.

MP Mutava Musyimi with Winnie, Davida & Sylvia
Clad in Tshirts written ‘We have Faith: Act Now for Climate Justice’ the procession sets off at about 10.30a.m snaking towards the UN Complex and US Embassy, bringing traffic to a standstill on the busy route. It’s history in the making. Peter Kenneth, who is the Chief Guest flags us off. Mutava Musyimi joins in as we move along, then there is Dr Moustapha and other guests. In the background ‘climate change’ songs play urging us all to make a difference. And the moment is not lost as youth  dance and swing gaily.
It’s at the entrance of the UN Complex in Nairobi that the procession grinds to a halt and we all gather to listen and dance some more. Caroline Thuo of the Church World Service taking charge as the MC does the introduction, then there is the dance.....youth gyrate to the ‘Rauka’ song by Juliani then Juliani himself performs and we dance some more. See, climate change issues can be fun as well, but wait, its with purpose!
Juliani, perfoming with the youth

The youth deliver the key speech for the day calling for world leaders to:

Commit to a fair, ambitious and legally binding agreement and to a second commitment period for the Kyoto Protocol to ensure the survival of coming generations.

Set clear short and long term targets for carbon emission reductions that keep average global temperature increases well below 1.5degrees centigrade, and to support solutions that contribute to healing the earth.

Ensure there is adequate finance for adaptation in Africa. Such finance should come from historically polluting nations in recognition of their ecological debt and be additional to existing development aid, governed inclusively and equitably under the United Nations.

Mutava Musyimi calls for decisive action on climate change and lauds the youth for being proactive. Peter Kenneth marvels at the youth gathered as pacesetters; the youth that will take not only Kenya but Africa to the next level. Amina from UNEP promises to engage more with youth who are trying to make a difference. Moustapha of the African Council of Religious Leaders says he is humbled by this initative.It is clear that the message has permeated many a place!

Then its over, hawk-eyed policemen making sure youth don’t go on the rampage, UNON Security, US Embassy Security and by-standers are markedly wowed by this group of youth. We turn and march away, with song and dance as if saying ‘We ain’t done yet, this is but a beginning’!

This has been a dream come true; after all, it’s not every day youth in Kenya get a permit to have a procession infront of the UN Complex and the US Embassy......

Its late noon when I sign off.... in the distance, echoes and sounds of Climate justice from Fridays’ procession can still be heard, and then some, and I am more than convinced that we are on the right path!


The Launch in Photos & articles:



  1. this is really good and detailed, kudos and keep it up

  2. This is great! The strength, fortitude and determination of the African youth from all over the continent will ensure that we actively take hold of what belongs not only to us, but to our future children, grandchildren and their children.


  3. Hi Young Kenyans, you have done good job... but it is what have expecting from you...