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Youths Contributing Towards Making Lusaka a Sustainable City: the Case of Chilufya Chisanga

Chilufya Chisanga is a 16 year old girl, in the 11th grade at Munali Girls Secondary School in Lusaka. Her desire to fight against climate change is driven by her love for nature. According to her, “mother nature bears beautiful fruits that cannot be counted or fully measured”. However, human-induced activities have damaged ecosystems leading to the extinction of some species and compromise of the normal functioning of nature.

Habitats are indiscriminately destroyed through unsustainable agricultural practices, excessive extraction of natural resources (forests, water, wildlife, and minerals), poor waste disposal, and pollution. Motivated by the urgent need to halt unprecedented assault of nature, Chilufya joined Global Resolution Application Sufficient Solution (GRASS), a school environmental club that was formed in 2018 after a climate change capacity building training by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Zambia in partnership with Plan International Zambia.  As a GRASS member she actively participated in environmental sensitization campaigns, school greening activities, and pupils mobilization to take a stand for nature. Consequently, Chilufya was selected as one of the few pupils from Munali Girls Secondary School to participate in a training on education for sustainable development and climate change that was organized last year by Plan International and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Zambia under the Our City 2030 Youth Visions and Solutions Project.

The training helped Chilufya better understand the climate changes in the context of her community. It also ignited new interest in her to know more about environmental phenomena and combat climate change.

“The training opened up my mind to various environmental issues including; climate change, environmental hazards, and sustainable lifestyles.  It also helped me do more research and reach a higher level of thinking in terms sustainable management of the environment,” said Chilufya Chisanga.

With the knowledge acquired from the training on the impact of climate change, Chilufya continued to participate in club activities and encourage fellow pupils to join the club. At home, she convinced her parents to start up an orchard, and assisted in planting a variety of fruit trees. Chilufya also educated relatives and friends on the importance of having trees in their backyards; and the need to reduce, reuse and recycle appropriate waste products such as plastics and paper to decrease the carbon footprint, pollution and excessive extraction of natural resources.

Chilufya sharing various initiatives that her environmental club has embarked on, to fight climate change, during a youth meeting in Lusaka.

Chilufya also had an opportunity to attend the Youth Climate Council Event, held in Lusaka, that was organized by Plan International and World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), under the Our City 2030 Youth Visions and Solutions Project. During this event, Chilufya presented an idea on sustainable water harvesting called Water Waste Solution (WWS) to different stakeholders including the Mayor of the City of Lusaka. Chilufya noted that that there is a lot of rain water that collects in Lusaka City, but goes to waste due to lack of rainwater harvesting mechanisms. She stated that the adoption of a Water Waste Solution (WWS) can help the city and country at large, to collect and store rainwater in dams for various economic activities including agriculture and construction. 

Chilufya presenting her Water Waste Solution (WWS) idea to various local stakeholders during the Youth Climate Council in Lusaka, Zambia

Apart from the presentation, the Youth Climate Council event gave Chilufya an opportunity to learn from other youths.

"I also learned fresh, creative, and innovative ideas from my fellow pupils”, said Chilufya Chisanga.  

Chilufya’s vision is to see Munali Girl's Secondary and Lusaka City become smart and green with a variety of plants and good water harvesting systems in the near future. She believes that this is not the role of government alone but everyone, including young people.