The Urgent Challenge for Young Cameroonians: Mobilizing for Climate Action

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The Urgent Challenge for Young Cameroonians: Mobilizing for Climate Action The Urgent Challenge for Young Cameroonians: Mobilizing for Climate Action

Why should we mobilize in this way around a concept that seems so distant to us, when we are facing even more urgent challenges, such as unemployment, poverty, disease, or food insecurity? The answer is simple: the effects of climate change are exacerbating these scourges and exposing us as young people to an uncertain future.
Climate change and youth 

On February 9, 2024, the day before National Youth Day, there was a downpour in Yaoundé in the middle of the dry season. Reflecting on this rain event, a colleague in the office offered the following observation: “I think that the world we knew has been changed. A different world has been given to us.” To me, this is the clearest possible insight into climate change. Will these changes benefit or adversely affect future generations?   As we celebrate our young people, are they aware of the climate challenges facing them? And are they ready to get to grips with them in order to secure their future?

These questions, which characterize the way young Cameroonians relate to climate change, has led the Cameroonian chapter of Youth Voices to raise awareness of these issues by organizing a contest entitled: Photo Contest #changement_climatique. Youth Voices Cameroon is an association of young people working for change and development in Cameroon. 

Contestants were asked to submit photos and texts that raise awareness of global warming, and a vote was organized to choose the most striking entries, with the three images with the highest number of “Likes” winning the competition. The number of responses and the level of interaction generated by this competition underlined the tremendous interest that young people have in this issue.

The Urgent Challenge for Young Cameroonians: Mobilizing for Climate Action

Justin Taïra, an agronomy student, placed second in the photo contest with 211 Likes. He is more acutely aware of the effects of climate change because he lives in the Far North region, one of the regions in Cameroon most affected by global warming. He bemoans the level of food insecurity in the region, a situation that is caused by unstable rainfall patterns. The rains now come later than the usual planting seasons and farmers are obliged to plant at unsuitable times, resulting in a drop in production. He has bitter memories of the floods in the areas of Maga, Yagoua and Pouss. “For several years, events such as these have been destroying farmers’ fields, ruining their homes and displacing the population,” he observes.

The Urgent Challenge for Young Cameroonians: Mobilizing for Climate Action

Frigui Baina Yifoundsou, a videographer by profession and house painter, won first prize in the competition, with 334 likes. Although global warming does not directly impact his daily life, he feels the consequences because the lengthening of the rainy seasons causes enormous delays for him in his work as a painter.

According to the World Bank’s 2022 Cameroon Country Climate and Development Report, “Climate change is an imminent threat to Cameroon’s development due to the country’s dependence on natural resources.” Economists speak of a “10 percent drop in GDP by 2050 due to the impact of climate change.” This means that the country’s level of wealth production will drop dramatically. People, including me, you, and our families, will be more exposed to famine, lack of clean water, and to conflicts linked to the scarcity of natural resources. It is absolutely urgent for us as young people to get involved to make a difference. 

The Urgent Challenge for Young Cameroonians: Mobilizing for Climate Action

Ways to cool the planet 

Our country relies on its forests to absorb greenhouse gases and to help mitigate global warming. When it comes to reforestation, young people like you and me are making a difference, sometimes with only few resources. Litinerelle Ngandeu Wonga, the third-place winner in the photo contest, is taking action to protect the climate. She regularly participates in reforestation activities. Like her, you too can join forces as a volunteer with environmental protection associations to replant trees and, in the process, fight against desertification and mitigate global warming.

Justin suggests the adoption of environmentally responsible actions and raising the awareness of people in your circle about the extent of the phenomenon. We can participate in collective actions such as eco-jogging or the recycling of materials that pollute the environment. 

An alternative proposed by Frigui is the use of renewable energies (solar, wind, biomass) instead of fossil fuels.

Do your part to help lower the temperature! By advocating with decision-makers to strengthen climate change policies, by participating in reforestation projects, by adopting more resilient agricultural practices...  

Whether or not we emit abundant volumes of greenhouse gases, climate change poses a challenge to the young people of Cameroon, whose dream is to see our continent flourish. The baton of change is being passed on to us; we need to take it up.   


Rowina Nguimbis

Digital Communication intern

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