Divestment from fossil fuels has been gaining quite the momentum globally in the last few years. This week two youth groups in Kenya and Nigeria took action, joining the Fossil Fuel Divestment Day.
On 12th February, students in the Chiromo campus of the University of Nairobi, Kenya engaged in a 1-hour sit-in session. The forum attracted over 40 participants and took the form of a participatory dialogue to exchange on the need to invest in renewable energy in the campus, its advantages, as well as reaching out to other campuses to follow suit. The students, mostly drawn from the Chiromo Environmental Awareness Club and environmental scientists in the making had strong contributions on how renewable energy on campuses could look like, citing the need for academia and researchers to take a lead in implementing solutions to the fight against the climate crisis.
It happened! We are likely the first across the world to host the #divestED event owing to our special circumstances that could not allow us a quorum tomorrow.
— Y-CEARE (@YCeare) February 12, 2020
Among the emerging issues was the need to have a strong legal requirement that enables campuses and institutions to have renewable energy systems as a part of them going green in energy production and usage. The action was led by Y-CEARE (Youth Coalition for Environmental Advocacy and Renewable Energy), a team part of AfrikaVuka.
In Nigeria, GIFSEP (Global Initiative on Food Security and Ecosystem Preservation) held a workshop on reducing carbon footprint, followed by a mock protest within the university of Abuja, targeting students from the department of geography and environmental management. The team intended to encourage the department to join the ongoing efforts to transition from fossil fuels addiction to renewable energy. Students specifically asked the university administration to switch to renewable energy and install solar panels on top of administrative and campuses blocs.
When asked about what to expect after this divestEd initiative, Joseph Ibrahim of GIFSEP said “We are still having issues of unstable electricity supply. We believe this initiative will inspire the students and the university to take on renewable energy and create an example for other campuses and schools and hopefully Nigeria as a whole. ”
— Joseph Ibrahim (@joeibro) February 13, 2020
Both teams joined the Fossil Fuel Divestment Day or divestEd, a mobilisation moment led by US divestment students to demand specific institutions to divest from fossil-fueled destruction of land, air, and water and re-invest in renewable energy.
Author: Rukiya Khamis, 350Africa.org Anglophone Field Organizer.