African women and children constitute the majority of the continent’s poor and play a vital role in food production in Africa. Therefore they will be the hardest hit by famine due to climate change, if they are not effectively prepared and food security issues are not addressed properly. The continent will suffer as a result.
Hoping for an intervention, it is with this message that Executive Mayor of Lekwa, Caroline Morasane, will be attending the 17th Conference of Parties (COP17) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Durban from November 28 to December 9.
“Women’s plight in climate change needs urgent intervention. Our land here in Standerton is rich in agriculture, yet you find nothing being ploughed anymore. As our ancestors marched in 1956 to take a stand for their rights, I believe now is the time for all women of Africa to take a stand and say enough is enough!” According to her women and particularly, mothers are not being adequately educated about climate change and ways on how to adapt. She says because of this lack of knowledge, the younger generation will suffer the most.
Empower women – feed the nation
“People have too many excuses when it comes to adapting to climate change, but I firmly believe that we need to start at home. If we can teach and educate the women in our communities, we are one step closer to changing the world. Women need to be mobilised. That is why I am so grateful that the Climate Train decided to visit Standerton so that the people can see and hear for themselves what climate change is and what we need to do as individuals to contribute to change.”
At the recent Continental Consultative Dialogue on the Impact of Climate Change on Women’s gala dinner at the Oliver Tambo Building in Pretoria, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Maite Nkoana Mashabane (pictured) said that women empowerment is the solution to the looming hunger problems Africa faces.
“Women are the key to overcoming the challenge of hunger in Africa and without women in leadership, this noble dream will be difficult to achieve,” she said. “They are the major producers of food crops in Africa. To make real headway on food production, we should invest in women and improve their skills to access the inputs they require.”
Traditional respect for nature needs to return
Recognising the need for education for climate change in her community, Mayor Caroline Morasane plans to implement everything she learnt on her visit to the Climate Train in local schools and church groups.
“Mothers are no longer teaching their children the values and morals the older generation grew up with. You will find polluted areas and disrespect for nature, because children have moved away from the traditional way of life. It’s a scary reality because we as women will be the worse hit by climate change, yet we are the least informed. We need to start mobilising our communities and teach them about recycling, re-using and ways to adapt to the changes. It was wonderful learning on the train and I am delighted that the youth also got involved.”
To help them offset their carbon footprint, the Climate Train donated a total of 110 indigenous plants to the community. Councillor Mopaseka Molaba was delighted with this gift.
“It’s like a dream come true for us! As a community we have been struggling for three years to ‘green’ our uncared for and polluted parks. This is just the beginning. The youth are involved in so many negative things and have lost their love for nature. When we plant the trees, we will get them involved so that they can feel a sense of responsibility and connection towards this new space that will be created.”