Durban, December 6, 2011– A riveting photo “Solar Panels: The Sunny Energy” by a young Durbanite, Dina Osman, and a catchy rap video “Me and My Bike” celebrating bicycle transport by Dickson Oyuki of Kenya won top honors in the Africa-wide Connect4Climate competition announced in Durban.
Robyn Curnow, South African CNN Anchor, announced the winners at the packed Africa Pavilion of the COP 17 meeting. The event celebrated and showcased the creative energies of African youth, ages 13 to 35, who contributed 639 photos and 47 videos to answer key questions such as, How is climate change affecting Africa? Your country? Your community? You, your friends, and your family?
“The C4C competition was first and foremost an effort to hear the voices of African youth and engage their creative talents to create climate smart solutions for tomorrow,” said Andrew Steer, World Bank Special Envoy for Climate Change. “The response was enthusiastic with entries from every country on the African continent. The photos and videos we see today are proof positive that even as governments deliberate climate change, people are taking action on the ground and achieving results.”
The 54 winners hail from 20 African countries including Angola, Benin, Cameroon, Chad, Egypt, Eritrea, Gambia, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Morocco, Niger, Rwanda, South Africa, Somalia, Sudan, Tunisia, Uganda, and Zambia. Prizes include solar backpacks, digital video and still cameras, and computer tablets.
Commenting on the importance of the awards, Monique Barbut, CEO and Chairperson of the Global Environment Facility, a C4C sponsor, said, “C4C is an inspiration for those most often regarded as too young to be heard. Now, young Africans can reach world audiences through this new platform. I am convinced that the search for solutions to today’s climate change challenges must include those who will suffer its consequences the most and have the most to contribute through their daily actions. These are the young stakeholders.”
Young people submitted climate change stories related to one of six categories: agriculture, energy, forests, gender, health, and water. The response to the competition was impressive, with entries from budding photographers and filmmakers from every country on the African continent. The winning photographs include powerful images of drought and floods as well as innovative solutions such as solar panels, clean cookstoves, and reforestation projects to name just a few.
The C4C campaign unites over 110 partners, including international organizations, social media networks, UN agencies, civil society including academic institutions, as well as youth organizations and private sector representatives. Since launching in September, C4C has built a Facebook community of over 100,000 followers with a weekly online reach of six million.
The Italian Ministry of Environment is a core sponsor and founding member of the initiative. In a message, Corrado Clini, Italy’s newly-appointed Minister of Environment said, "Today’s rapidly changing social media environment presents a great opportunity for global discussion, advocacy, and participation. The C4C campaign is amplifying local voices and enabling policymakers to listen and learn from the innovations that are happening throughout Africa and helping to bring together environmentally-engaged citizens from all corners of the globe."