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Climate Justice Diaries: 'No One Should Be Left Behind'

Climate Justice Diaries: 'No One Should Be Left Behind'

Wednesday November 24 2021

Maness Nkhata, a young activist with CCAP (Church of Central Africa Presbyterian) Blantyre Synod in Malawi, describes how climate change is affecting subsistence farmers in her country.

The Majority of Malawi’s population lives in rural areas. Most of them depend on rain-fed subsistence farming and are extremely vulnerable to climate change.

The majority have an average land holding of 0.6 hectares and have their plots allocated to rain-fed maize. Only 0.3% of the households use irrigation for farming. They report inadequate food due to drought, irregular rains and few families are able to overcome climate-related shocks. This leads to poor food and nutritional insecurity. Increased droughts, floods and storms potentially exacerbate the hazards faced by poor smallholder farmers in Malawi.

Climate change has also contributed to poor hygiene and sanitation due to lower water levels that have affected availability of water for farmers resulting in regular sanitation related diseases. Also low agricultural production due to erratic rains, means an upsurge of nutrition related conditions which affect productivity of the household because of reduced workforce. 

I am a young global ambassador and through my work with LAPE (Lakeshore Agro-Processors Enterprise) and CCAP Blantyre Synod, I am committed to working to achieve results by finding ways and means of mitigating climate change. LAPE has been engaging with young girls, young men and also women, teaching them small business management therefore reducing poverty, climate change adaptation including planting trees, new use of farming by-products and other agricultural waste.

We also have piggery and poultry projects, seed cake and bakery enterprises. We provide tree seedlings to our business partners so that they have an opportunity to protect their lands which eventually improve their soil. We also seek to intensify internship programme for newly graduated individuals to upscale climate change mitigation technologies, develop ICT in agriculture and off-farm enterprises and provide access to loans with frequent repayments and establishment of compulsory saving accounts for investing in sustainable economic value and supply chains.

Being in Glasgow has helped me to see climate change as a global issue and the need for all nations to be serious if we are to deal with it. People agree that climate change can only be addressed if all stakeholders come together and play their part. No one should be left behind. Women and youth are mostly affected by climate change.

Attendance at COP26 has helped me in looking at climate change related issues from another angle and given me new ideas on how to address them. Glasgow has revealed that there is a need to have a strong support from leaders on how to support and listen to the youth. There is a need for long term solutions and the involvement of all stakeholders, particularly the youth themselves, if we are to address the challenges.

Lack of climate financing has been a problem since the commitments made by global leaders in 2015 have not been met and this is affecting implementation of climate change related activities. I have also observed that there is more talking than implementation of the climate change related activities. There is a need to involve the private sector in implementing climate change mitigation, adaptation and resilience strategies.

Climate Justice Diaries: a new series in which Church of Scotland partners from around the world explore the impact of climate change, and what is being done to help. 

Keith and Ida Waddell highlight how those least to blame for climate change are most at risk.
Joel Hafvenstein explains how climate change is impacting farming communities in Nepal.
Gorden Simango on how the crisis is affecting the poorest in Africa.