CDKN Innovation Fund for Africa – Round 2

The Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) Innovation Fund is flexible to catalyze a range of different project types, scales of operation and stages of development. This fund is designed as an open competitive mechanism to offer fast-moving support for creative initiatives in the field of climate change and international development.

Round 2 is now structured around support for partnership in designing and developing projects on climate compatible development, through an innovation process. Potential outputs from this process could include a “game-changing” (defined as: ‘an event, idea, or procedure that effects a significant shift in the current way of doing or thinking about something’) project proposal, learning materials, best practice tool kits, policy briefs and an implementation road map.

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Connect4Climate Photo and Video Competition on Climate Change

Connect4Climate (C4C) is seeking entries for the photo and video competition on climate change focused on African youth aged 13 to 30. To participate in this competition you can send your photos or videos (60 seconds or less) telling a story on climate change or present a cool idea for solutions to climate change issues.

The goal of C4C is to raise awareness about climate change issues around the world, with an initial focus on Africa. C4C, together with its knowledge partners, aims to act as a convener of all parties with an interest in raising awareness about climate change issues and participating in an interactive, global dialogue on climate change. With the help of their broad coalition of partners, both big and small, they are kickstarting an interactive dialogue on climate change issues amongst African youth and global social media users. With roughly 70% of Africa’s total population under 30, the Connect4Climate campaign will tap the rich potential of African’s youth as powerful agents of social change.

Competition Categories

  • Agriculture
  • Energy
  • Forests
  • Gender
  • Health
  • Water


C4C will be awarding more than 60 prizes, including cameras, mobile phones, computer tablets and solar backpacks. Winning entries will be exhibited at the UN Conference on Climate Change (COP17) in Durban, South Africa, this December. World leaders and prominent climate change thinkers will get a chance to look, listen, and learn about these climate stories generated by African youth from around the continent.

Last date for submission of entries is November 15, 2011

For more information, visit

Find more open competitions by visiting

Call For Profiling Youth Organisations Working On Climate Change In Kenya

Climate Change is definitely well known to us, however, the key issue is preparing or being prepared to live with its impacts or minimize its impacts on our lives.

The extreme events associated with climate change will make life extremely hard for the majority of the youth and to this end Kenya Young Greens, which works with youth on climate change, is calling upon the youth of this country to stand and take action in order for us to be able to survive the storm of the effects of the phenomena and contribute towards reducing its causes.

Forests (Conservation)

Despite the extent of our local environment degradation, Kenya is described as having a low forest cover, just below 3% whereas some countries have as high as 50 % forest cover.

The international climate change policy making is moving towards creating a framework in which developing countries in the tropics would be paid either through market scheme or funds based scheme to halt deforestation, forest degradation and enhance the ability of forest to absorb one of the gases that cause global warming that is carbon dioxide, however, the same policy is also moving towards incorporating afforestation in which Kenya has even greater potential.


Agriculture has two faces in climate change:

  1. It is one of the most vulnerable sources of livelihoods for the majority of Kenyans to extreme events like rainfall (both change in timing of onset, intensity, distribution, and duration) and drought.
  2. In terms of contributing to climate change itself, since through agriculture there are gases that get released to the atmosphere that cause global warming, this include methane gases which largely come from animal farming. And Nitrous oxide which comes from the use of fertilizers and are even more dangerous than carbon dioxide.

The Call:

There are plenty of opportunities for the youth largely working on Agriculture, Forestry, Renewable Energy and Waste Management sectors and it is for this reason therefore that Kenya Young Greens is calling upon the youth engaged in these sectors.

Kenya Young Greens seeks to profile the youth groups and organisations involved in agriculture and conservation towards finding solutions to adapt to the effects of climate change and also employ technologies and techniques that contribute to reducing the levels of these gases that get emitted.

The mode of profiling is open to both individuals and organisations although organisations such as registered groups, CBO’s and youth serving NGO’s are highly encouraged.

Kenya Young Greens will accept information in form:

  • The Name of organisation,
  • Contact Details of the organisation
  • Location where the organisation is based
  • Size of the organisation
  • Activities undertaken by the organisation
  • Contact person of the organisation

Once documented, the profile will be disseminated to all actors both governmental and non-governmental actors working on climate change so as to assure that youth participation is assured. It will also provide a chance for youth to pitch their voices to push for policy and legislations that enhance productivity in the face of the changing climate, moreover for mitigation there could be a potential for engaging in the carbon markets. The profile will also be made available to the organisations documented therein so as to enable them to be part of networks working on the same issues.

Where to send your profile

Kenya Young Greens

P O Box 13229-00200

Nairobi- Kenya



In case of need for further clarification please feel free to reach us on the office number 0202680745 or Contact Philip Otieno on 0724857647 or Stephen Mwakesi on 0723229117

In case of need for further clarification please feel free to reach us on the office number 0202680745 or Contact Philip Otieno on 0724857647 or Stephen Mwakesi on 0723229117

African youth declare that governments must foster entrepreneurship to eradicate poverty

The 1st World Youth Meeting at Bari, Italy ended yesterday where African delegates released a Declaration that recognised the challenges African youth face including unemployment, corruption,  poverty, lack of access to meaningful education, climate change effects, and civil wars among others.

The Declaration further demanded that African youth be included in decision making and that poverty eradication approaches focus on entrepreneurship development, specifically through the creation of youth funds.

Read the full Declaration here

Dictatorship more dangerous than climate change

By Alemayehu G. Mariam

The inconvenient truth about Africa today is that dictatorship presents a far more perilous threat to the survival of Africans than climate change. The devastation African dictators have wreaked upon the social fabric and ecosystem of African societies is incalculable. Over the past several decades, bloodthirsty dictators like Uganda’s Idi Amin, Zaire’s (The Congo) Mobutu Sese Seko, Central African Republic’s Jean Bedel Bokassa, Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe, Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir, Chad’s Hissiene Habre, and the political fraternal twins Mengistu Haile Mariam and Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia have been responsible for untold deaths on the continent. Millions of Africans have starved to death because of the criminal negligence, depraved indifference and gross incompetence of African dictators, not climate change. Millions more suffer today in abject poverty because corrupt African dictators have systematically siphoned off international aid, pilfered loans provided by the international banks and plundered the tax coffers. Africans face extreme privation and mass starvation not because of climate change but because of the rapacity of power-hungry dictators. The continent today suffers from a terminal case of metastasised cancer of dictatorships, not the blight of global warming.

The fact that greenhouse gas emissions (global warming) from human activities are responsible for a dangerous elevation of the global temperature is accepted by most climatologists in the world. Only clueless flat-earther troglodytes like US Senator James Inhofe believe that climate change is a conspiracy hatched by ‘the media, Hollywood and our pop culture.’ The general scientific understanding is that the planet is facing ruin from an unprecedented combination of extreme weather patterns, floods, droughts, heat waves and epidemics. The developed countries are primarily blamed for the rise in temperatures caused by excess industrial carbon emissions. This is evident in the increase in the average temperature of the Earth’s near-surface air and oceans. Africa has contributed virtually nothing to global warming. For instance, Africa produces an average of one metric ton of carbon dioxide per person per year compared to 16 metric tons for every American.

For Africa, climate change paints a doomsday scenario: Global warming will severely aggravate the atmospheric circulation and precipitation in the African monsoonal system resulting in severe shortages in agricultural output. Millions of Africans will die from famine, and the continent’s agriculture will be crippled. Deforestation and overgrazing will cause further increases in global temperatures through emission of greenhouse gases. Africa’s subsistence farmers who already operate in marginal environments will face catastrophic consequences in terms of decreased tillable and pastoral lands. Competition for water, agricultural and grazing land and other resources will inevitably result in conflicts and wars. Vector-borne diseases such as malaria, dengue, trypanosomiasis and others will spread rapidly causing large scale deaths in Africa.

The climate change debate has been honey in the mouths of forked tongue African dictators. It has provided them the perfect foil to avoid detection and accountability for their corruption and mismanagement of their societies, and a convenient opportunity to divert attention from their criminal state enterprises. Global warming has proven to be the perfect substitute for the old Bogeymen of Africa – colonialism, imperialism, neo-colonialism and poverty. Why is Africa reduced to becoming the ‘beggar continent of the planet’? Global warming! Why are millions starving (euphemistically referred to as ‘severe food shortages’ by officials) to death in Ethiopia? Climate change. African dictators are using global warming as their new preferred ideology behind which they can hide and ply their trade of corruption while expanding their thriving kleptocracies.

The global warming debate has also offered African dictators a historic opportunity to guilt-trip the industrialised countries and rob them blind. Beginning on 7 December, a phalanx of African climate change negotiators will swarm Copenhagen to attend the UN Conference on Climate Change. For Africa, the outcome of the negotiations is foreshadowed by pronouncements of comic bravado. On 3 September 2009, the patriarch of African dictators and head of the ‘single African negotiating team’ on climate change, Meles Zenawi, huffed and puffed about what he and his sidekicks will do if the industrialised countries refuse to comply with his imperial ultimatum. Zenawi roared, ‘We will use our numbers to delegitimise any agreement that is not consistent with our minimal position… We are prepared to walk out of any negotiations that threatens to be another rape of our continent.’ (Whether African dictators or the industrialised countries are raping the continent is an open question. Witnesses say it is a gang rape situation.)

It was vintage Zenawi with his trademark zero-sum game strategy writ large to the world: ‘My way or the highway!’ It does appear rather preposterous and irrational for the master of the zero-sum game to open negotiations with his long-time benefactors by sticking an ultimatum in their faces. Obviously, the strategic negotiating bottom line is to shakedown the industrialised countries and strong-arm them into forking over billions in carbon blood money; and Zenawi did not mince words: ‘The key thing for me is that Africa be compensated for the damage caused by global warming. Many institutions have tried to quantify that and they have come up with different figures. The sort of median figure would be in the range of US$40 billion a year.’

Curiously, we could ask what Zenawi and his brotherhood of dictators would do with the windfall of billions, if they could get it? It is reasonable to assume that they will use it to expand their kleptocracies and cling to power like ticks on a milk cow. They will certainly not use it to meet the needs of their people. What they have done with the international aid money and loans they have received over the decades provides compelling extrapolative evidence of what they will do with any windfall of carbon blood money.

As Dambisa Moyo and others have shown, in the last fifty years the West has poured more than a trillion dollars of aid into Africa. Today, over 350 million Africans live on less than US$1. Real per-capita income in Africa is lower today than it was four decades ago. Aid money and international bank loans have been stolen by African dictators and their henchmen to line their pockets and maintain their huge kleptocracies.

In 2002, an African Union study estimated the loss of US$150 billion a year to corruption in Africa, and not without the complicity of the donor countries. Compare this to the US$22 billion the developed countries gave to all of sub-Saharan Africa in 2008. In 2006, former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo, who faced impeachment for corruption and ineptitude, declared at an African civic groups meeting in Addis Ababa that African leaders ‘have stolen at least US$140 billion from their people in the decades since independence.’ Ghanaian economist George Ayittey citing UN data argues, ‘These are gross underestimates… US$200 billion or 90 per cent of the sub-Saharan part of the continent’s gross domestic product was shipped to foreign banks in 1991 alone. Civil wars in Africa cost at least US$15 billion annually in lost output, wreckage of infrastructure, and refugee crises… In Zimbabwe, foreign investors have fled the region and more than four million Zimbabweans have left the country along with 60,000 physicians and other professionals…’ Is it any wonder that Africa today is worse off than it was 50 years ago?

The question is not whether global warming could impact Africa disproportionately, or Africa is entitled to assistance to overcome the effects of greenhouse emissions caused by the industrialised countries. The question is whether African dictators have the moral credibility and standing to make a demand for compensation and what they will do with such compensation if they were to get it. Certainly, the ‘capo’ African negotiator has as much credibility to demand compensation in Copenhagen as a bank robber has from the bank owners. It has been a notorious fact for at least two decades that Ethiopia is facing environmental disaster. Ethiopia’s forest coverage by the turn of the last century was 40 per cent. By 1987, under the military government, it went down to 5.5 per cent. In 2003, it dropped down to 0.2 per cent. The Ethiopian Agricultural Research Institute says Ethiopia loses up to 200,000 hectares of forest every year. Between 1990 and 2005, Ethiopia lost 14.0 per cent of its forest cover (2,114,000 hectares) and 3.6 per cent of its forest and woodland habitat. If the trend continues, it is expected that Ethiopia could lose all of its forest resources in 11 years, by the year 2020. What has Zenawi’s regime done to reverse the problem of deforestation in Ethiopia? They have sold what little arable land is left to the Saudis, the Shiekdoms, the Indians, the South Korea and others with crisp dollar bills looking for fire sales on African lands.

There has been a lot of environmental window dressing and grandstanding in various parts of Africa. In Ethiopia, lofty proclamations have been issued to ‘improve and enhance the health and quality of life of all Ethiopians’, ‘control pollution’ and facilitate ‘environmental impact’ studies. The ‘nations, nationalities and peoples’ are granted environmental self-determination. There is an Environmental Protection Council which ‘oversees activities of sectoral agencies and environmental units with respect to environmental all regional states.’ The Environmental Protection Agency is ‘accountable to the Prime Minister.’ What have these make-believe bureaucracies done to save Lake Koka, just outside the capital, and the 17,000 people who drink its toxic water daily?

Zenawi and his minions will show up looking for a pot of gold at the end of the Copenhagen rainbow. It does not appear that a bonanza of riches will be awaiting them. If the advance Barcelona negotiations held last month are any indication, a deal does not appear possible in Copenhagen. German Chancellor Angela Merkel told the Barcelona summit that ‘global climate negotiations would inevitably drag out after the meeting in Copenhagen ends on 19 December.’ African dictators deserve our grudging admiration for their sheer tenacity and brazen audacity. After sucking their people dry, they are now moving camp to the greener pastures of climate change to continue their vampiric trade.

The fact of the matter is that while the rest of the world toasts from global warming, Africa is burning down in the fires of dictatorship. While Europeans are fretting about their carbon footprint, Africans are gasping to breathe free under the bootprints of dictators. While Americans are worried about carbon emission trapped in the atmosphere, Africans find themselves trapped in minefields of dictatorship. Handing over carbon blood money to African dictators is like increasing industrial emissions to cut back on global warming. It is the wrong thing to do.

Africa faces an ecological collapse not because of climate change but because of lack of regime change. It is humorously ironic that African dictators who panhandle the industrialised countries for over two-thirds of their budgets should threaten to walk out on them. We know the bravado is nothing more than the ‘chatter of a beggar’s teeth’. As the bank robber will not walk out of the bank empty handed because of moral outrage over the small amount of money sitting in the vault, we do not expect the band of African negotiators to walk out Copenhagen because they are offered less than what they are asking. We expect to see them making a beeline to the conference door for handouts for there is no such thing as a choosy beggar. We wish them well. Go on, take the money and run.

About the Author

Alemayehu G. Mariam is professor of political science at California State University, San Bernardino.  This article first appeared in The Huffington Post.

Republished under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License from Pambazuka News

Nurturing Africa’s “green” youth entrepreneurs

Nowadays, the media is full of stories on green fuels, ranging from jatropha, coffee husks as well as peanut casings, amongst other innovative sources. There is even a sub-set of the social entrepreneur class, the so-called “green entrepreneur” who in turn consist of “renewable energy entrepreneurs”.

Biodiesels such as jatropha have the potential to create upto 300 direct and indirect jobs from every 1,000 hectares cultivated. The crop grows well even in arid areas, making it an ideal agricultural based enterprise. Even apart from its use as a fuel, jatropha is ideal for other consumer items such as soaps and insect repellents. However, such an enterprise is beyond the reach of young entrepreneurs. Not only do they lack access to land, but more importantly, they are often unaware of information on new trends in green enterprise.

Agri-based enterprise is now big business. African governments are even leasing land to Middle and far Eastern countries. Even large corporations such as Daewoo have leased large tracts of land. Indeed environmental conservation and climate change management have become common. Our larger companies have even found an alternative source of income through carbon credits trading.

Unfortunately youth entrepreneurs have not taken advantage of such opportunities.

To address this gap, the Entrepreneurship Portal regularly posts information for our “green” youth entrepreneurs. Currently, there are two opportunities that young entrepreneurs interested in making a change to our environment can take advantage of:
• The World Bank’s International Essay Competition invites the youth to share ideas on the impact of climate change on their lives and how to tackle climate change through youth-led solutions.
• The Financial Times Climate Change Challenge sponsored by Hewlett-Packard and Forum for the Future aims at highlighting businesses with ground-breaking approaches for tackling the threat of climate change.

As the business leaders of tomorrow, it remains imperative that the youth are made aware of such opportunities. At we shall continue to keep them “in the know”.