August 12 is International Youth Day, and 2016’s theme was “The Road to 2030: Eradicating Poverty and Achieving Sustainable Consumption and Production”, with a special focus on goal 12 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Defining what this means for all young people including young feminists is critical. Young feminists have organized, mobilized and provided strategic insights on various issues that affect & impact them. Platforms such as the #WhatWomenWant online campaign have created space for activists and advocates across the women’s movement to amplify their voices, power their solutions and claim their agency. It provides a democratic platform and space to equalize all voices and catalyze cross movement action towards what truly works for women and girls.
1. How have young African feminists influenced the SDGs discourse and what has been your contribution?
Young feminists have strategically informed the SDGs discourse through structures such as the Women’s Major Group. The Women’s Major Group was the first platform to launch the #WhatWomenWant online campaign during the Intergovernmental negotiations. This provided a platform for young feminists to boldly infuse their messages and advocacy priorities into the broader women’s movement. Across the continent, young feminists have been part of various national and regional formations that have shaped the SDGs advocacy discourse pre and post adoption. Young feminists continue to lead local and national efforts of shaping inclusive SDGs implementation. In Kenya, the SDGs Kenya forum is one such formation that is inclusive of feminist leadership, with FEMNET as cochair and with young feminists as members of the coordination committee (Catherine Nyambura, Kenya).
2. In Cameroon how has sustainable consumption and production been articulated?
In Cameroon, grassroots organisations continue to conduct series of activism around the SDGs,
thus raising massive public attention and awareness around the SDGs and the need for sustainable
consumption and production. Wild life agencies are also instrumental in propagating these views but
the limitation to all these is that women and girls continue to be secluded from most of these strategic
discussions. The statistics guide us to the fact that over 70% of primary commodities producers are
women, yet less than 3% of them own or have access to these primary commodities/ resources such
as land (Zoneziwoh Mbondgulo, Cameroon)
3. In Kenya how has sustainable consumption and production been articulated?
Kenya as a developing country still has a window period before such measures start being strictly observed. This is cautiously presented in the agreement that will be signed in Morocco following the Climate Change discussions held in 2015 in Paris. “The least developed countries and small island developing States may prepare and communicate strategies, plans and actions for low greenhouse gas emissions development reflecting their special circumstances.” This among other parts of the declaration encourage countries like Kenya to promote sustainable production and consumption however there is an urgency to specify a timeframe by which such planned actions will be implemented. (Sarah Kutahi, Kenya)
4. What opportunities exist in advancing the discourse in sustainable consumption and production?
There are key national eventful moments such as the National Youth Day (February 11), National Day (May 20th) and March 8 (International Women’s Day) which can be explored by activists and advocates to advance discourses in sustainable consumption and production. There are also parliamentary sessions and meetings which activists can take advantage of to engage with key policymakers (Zoneziwoh Mbondgulo , Cameroon)
The rising empire of knowledgeable young people presents itself as an opportunity. Young people have realized the gap that has been created by the lack of policy infrastructure to actualize sustainable use and production including the recognition of youths as a resource and other available resources in Kenya. Leadership opportunities for young people is one opportunity that has not been exploited to the fullest and therefore presents a gap that when filled will advance the achievement of the SDGs in general (Sarah Kutahi, Kenya)
We have a number of global platforms mostly on policy development and multilateral agreements that could be strategic in initiating conversations on sustainable consumption and production. Young feminists should continue to organize and influence conversations such as TICAD VI (in August), AWID Forum (in September) and GPEDEC (in November). (Catherine Nyambura, Kenya)
Sarah Kutahi is an environmental scientist, freelance blogger, mentor and writer (currently contributes articles to Rural Reports (http://ruralreporters.com/) and Environmental Africa (http://environmentalafrica.com/). As a child of Mukuru Slums, her attention has shifted towards challenging the status quo of the people living in informal settlements through capacity building and education programmes as the program manager under International Christian Youthworks youth fellowship. Follow her on twitter: @SarahAnupi
Zoneziwoh Mbondgulo Wondieh is an award winning humanitarian reporter, feminist blogger,
community mobilizer, and sexuality activist – with over five years working experience and huge
interest on women sexuality rights and their political leadership, as well as youth civic engagement
and election violence in Africa, Cameroon in Particular. Currently, Zoneziwoh is the founder and
executive director of a feminist advocacy organization, Women for a Change, Cameroon (Wfac) that
seeks to work in and with communities of grassroots women on the promotion and protection of their
sexual and reproductive health rights and girls education with disabilities. Wfac is a member of
FEMNET. Follow her on twitter: @ZoFem, @WfacCmr
Catherine Nyambura, is a Mandela Fellow 2016, Women Deliver Young Leader and member of Youth RISE International working group. Catherine is a passionate young African feminist activist with over 7 years of experience in advancing gender equality, youth development and sexual and reproductive health and rights in the context of sustainable development through movement building, digital and social media, policy advocacy and capacity building for young women and adolescents girls. Catherine is currently working with FEMNET as an Advocacy Programme Associate. Follow her on Twitter: @catherinenyamb1