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Meet Gloria Masula, the Youth Representative of the Malawi Delegation to COP 21

Last updated: 12.02.2016 // Last December, Gloria Masula with the support from the Development Fund of Norway participated as youth representative of the official Malawi delegation to the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris (COP21). After attending the conference, she returned home with a key message to Malawian youth: “It’s time to wake up and get more involved in the debate concerning climate changes”, said Ms. Masula

Gloria Masula is 24 years old and has a Bachelors Degree in agriculture majoring in Aquaculture and Fisheries science from LUANAR, Lilongwe University of Agriculture & Natural Resources.  She is a District Coordinator in the organisation Network for Youth Development (NfYD) in Malawi. Before she started in NfYD, she worked for UN women as an intern working on Gender and Agriculture. In addition, after she graduated, she was an intern at the School of Agriculture for Family Independence, where she taught farmers about fish farming and environmental management. With the experience from previous internships relating to gender and agriculture, she started the NfYD project “My Life My Choice”. It works to promote youth and women’s empowerment, with issues concerning education, environment management, decision-making and policy are discussed. In addition to her work in NfYD, she is also active in different youth networks on a voluntary basis, mainly with training and activities to empower youth. One of the youth networks is called “the World Bank Youth Network Malawi”, where Gloria is the central region coordinator.

During the The 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris it was important for Gloria to represent youths of Malawi. Before the COP21 she worked with Malawi’s position document about youth, and argues that it is important that the voice of youths are heard in the discussion of a sustainable future. “We, the youth, are not the future; the future is right now. If we do not act now, it might be too late”, she said.

Based on her experience from Paris, she has been extending activities and workshops for youth on climate change in rural areas. The purpose is to raise awareness on the effects climate change has for Malawi, and to connect these issues among young people through working with NfYD.

“As most of the Malawian population is under the age of 35, it is absolutely necessary to include them in discussions concerning the effects of climate change”, says Ms. Masula.

The youth in Malawi has felt the consequences of climate change. Last year, in January, the country was affected by flood, then followed by drought. When floods appear, schools are often used as shelters to those affected by the floods. This means that schools are closed, and the children are not able to go to school. In addition, due to climate changes, the youth as well as the rest of the Malawian population faces food shortages and food security uncertainties. 

The Norwegian Embassy supports several projects on climate change that in part are activities that informs and provides skills to the youths, to address the effects of climate change. One example of skills training is sustainable farming to meet the challenges of food security. Another example is skills training to establish sustainable household infrastructures, which can face the effects of climate change such as floods. One of the projects the Embassy funds, that includes a youth component is “Sustainable Agriculture Lead Farmer Programme”, through the Norwegian Development Fund. A second one is “Malawi Lake Basin Programme”, where We Effect is the Embassy’s agreement partner. A third project is through the National Smallholder Farmers Association of Malawi, the project called “Strategic Development Programme”. These and other agreements, that the Norwegian Embassy has entered can be found here

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