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Green Innovations Contributing to Youth Empowerment

by Byron Adonis Mutingwende

By Joyce Mukucha

The Boost Fellowship, Action 24, and SNV with the support of international development partners, UNICEF Zimbabwe and the Swedish Development International Agency have been implementing the green innovations aimed at presenting unique opportunities for youths to address the adverse challenges of climate change.

The youth-focused projects are being implemented throughout the country to address sustainable, environmental and renewable energy challenges in Zimbabwe. The overall objective is to ignite creative ideas in youths for environmental sustainability and renewable energy through social innovations.

The projects are playing a pivotal role in addressing social and community needs and are contributing to capacity building in areas of environmental sustainability and renewable energy for young people and children. Green innovations are also contributing to supporting children in schools to nurture innovative approaches to community challenges and cultivating the culture of environmental stewardship among the youth and Small to Medium Enterprises contributing to climate change mitigation.

Speaking during the Green Innovation Hub Phase III Policy Brief Launch in Harare last week, the BOOST Executive Director Cleopatra Makoni said it was of paramount importance to leverage on green innovations in Zimbabwe to contribute to youth employment.

“The green innovations play a critical role in youth development and participation especially when it comes to advocating of conserving the environment. The innovations are aimed at empowering youths and tackling environmental degradation and climate change. The main objective was to create and test innovative ideas for environmental sustainability addressing social and economic needs, at the same time making sure that high rate of unemployment amongst youth is reduced,” she said.

On the sidelines interview with one of the green innovators, Evangelist Chekera who is the Managing Director of Passion Poultry, Spiked Online Media learnt about innovative poultry equipment the beneficiary invented. As a way of using renewable energy, Chekera designed a chick breeding device powered by steel to reduce chick mortality by 95 percent. She said the innovation is able to create jobs for at least 100 youth for at least five countries within Sub-Saharan Africa.

“I want to extend my gratitude to SNV and UNICEF for offering me the opportunity to scale up my innovation. It is meant to keep chicks warm during the breeding period that is between 14 days in summer and 21 days in winter. What the farmer does is to simply put the chicks inside the breeding room and the heater which is also placed in the middle of the chick breeding device to ensure that chicks do not run away from the heat source. As a result, chick mortality is reduced because the chicks will have sufficient heat to help them keep alive and therefore, farmers can enjoy more profits because they would have less mortality. The equipment is also friendly to the environment because it does not produce carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide,” she said.

The Executive Director of Business Council for Sustainability in Zimbabwe, Tawanda Muzamwese said the world was living in unprecedented times where people are facing a plethora of problems chief amongst them being climate change. More than 50 percent of the African population, he highlighted, is constituted by young people thus it was important to make sure youth are at the centre when it comes to the talk of green innovation and sustainable development.

He urged young people to play a critical role in protecting the environment, mitigate climate change as well as scaling up the green innovations projects. According to the Inter-Governmental Panel of Climate Change, he said, the world temperatures will increases by two degrees Celsius by 2030 if the business as usual scenario continues to take place. He said generation of waste continues to be a headache in developing and transitional countries including the emergence of new waste trims such as electronic waste with energy being also a challenge that is affecting the country.

“Youth Corporation spearheads the promotion of sustainable development and young people projects. This requires concerted determinations in which transparency and accountability are vital in obtaining resources for green innovations projects.

“As we launch this Green Innovation Hub Phase III, it is important to support young people as we know that economic development is at the centre of economic prosperity. If we want our economy to achieve the highest level of development, we need to ensure that sustainable development is a quintessential pillar in the national developmental plan. In doing so, there is need to ensure that young people are included. The green innovations can create services, projects which can be commercialised reducing emissions protecting the environment, raising income as well as creating green jobs. Dealing with unprecedented challenges requires the voice of youth who are innovative and focused,” said Muzamwese.

He added that energy was at the centre of socio-economic development yet the majority do not have enough of it therefore there was need for stakeholders to join hands with youths and speak with one voice towards embracing renewable energy. Chemicals, he highlighted, were also a big issue in as far as the issue of green innovations is concerned. Globally, more than 100 000 chemicals are in use for fumigation and disinfection. Some of these are becoming toxic to human health and the environment, thereby causing respiratory diseases.

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