AAL strengthens inclusion of people living with disabilities in climate justice engagements
People living with disabilities are often forgotten when it comes to community engagements and interventions in times of crisis. They are the most affected yet forgotten. Global Platform Liberia through the Youth Buzz Project worked with young people living with disabilities to try and bridge the information gap as well as increase their active agency on climate justice. Prior to the project being implemented, it was always difficult for people living with disabilities to actively participate or even attend training events and meetings as the environment and learning aids used were not tailor-made to enable their full participation. For young people with visual impairment, information, education, and communication produced was unusable and thereby living them behind. Similarly, those with speech and hearing impairment could not engage in community mobilization. This is despite the fact that the Government of Liberia made a commitment to ensure no one is left behind in its SDGs pledge.
Chris Muriah Togbor is a young lady aged 20 and visually impaired. She is a member of Potential Leaders of Sustainable Future, an implementing partner of the Youth Buzz project, and also a student at African Methodist Episcopal University and studying Administration. Chris had no idea what climate change is, its causes and effects but she like all other young people felt its adverse impacts. Below Chris shares with AAL how a young woman living with visual impairment feels about climate change.
“I know that the weather is always changing because I can feel it, not only me but also those with a similar condition like me. We did not know the causes of this. After joining the GP Liberia artists, my mind opened and I began to know in depth what climate change is, its causes and effects and what I could do as a young woman to contribute in reducing the impact,” retorts Chris.
Chris participated in a Climate Justice Innovation Challenge that was held in August 2021 where she took part under the spoken word category. She had to do a lot of research on climate justice although she never won in the category, she and the other artists collectively formed a Global Platform Artists Group. The group embarked on the production of a comprehensive Climate Justice Song, which they will produce and send to the radio station for airing. The song will be used as an advocacy tool for behavior change and communication on climate change.
“I am glad that I came into this space where I have learned about women's rights, SHEA, and safeguarding, climate justice causes, and effects. I am confident enough to raise awareness among my fellow people”
Chris will be starting awareness sessions on climate justice, SHEA, and Safeguarding with her community of people living with disabilities in 2022. She noted that she will advocate for the production of more IEC material in braille.
Global Platform Liberia uses a feminist lens to make sure everyone gets the same opportunity to participate with respect and get an education without being segregated. GP Liberia is a training hub for all young people under the age of 35 that enables them to challenge social issues/problems and come up with solutions in an amicable without having to hate each side. The platform also builds the capacity of young people to become better leaders who can strategically analyze situations related to community development