Climate Leader organises first Sustainable Energy School Debates in Zambia

Mr. Muyunda Akufuna is a Climate Reality Leader and the Executive Director of Young Volunteers for Environment (YVE) Zambia. The Young Volunteers for Environment Zambia ‘adopt’ schools to be advocates for Sustainable Energy as Zambia seeks alternative sources of energy to counter the effects of the climate crisis and daily power cut.

In January 2017, YVE-Zambia organised the first ever Sustainable Energy School Debate Award in four Lusaka-based schools, namely Matero Girls, Munali Boys, Nelson Mandela and Olympia Park secondary schools.

Representing the board of YVE Zambia, Mr. Muyunda Akufuna launched the Sustainable Energy Debate Award with an address on the issue of climate change. He distinguished Zambia as a developing country that is vulnerable to the effects of climate change, emanating in part from the lack of adequate technological innovations that are necessary to adapt and mitigate the threats posed by the climate crisis. The Southern African state has undertaken a number of appropriate countervailing measures as espoused by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), such as the recent signing and ratification of the Paris Agreement.

Mr Akufuna explained that energy poverty negatively affect many people in developing countries in the form of low access to energy, use of dirty or polluting fuels and excessive time spent collecting fuel to meet basic needs. Many household don’t have access or cannot afford to have the basic energy for day to day need such as are lighting, cooking, domestic heating or cooling. Most rural areas in developing countries rely heavily on traditional biomass such as fuelwood, charcoal, crop residual, and pellets for cooking as well as kerosene lamps and candle lights for lighting.

Yet there are reliable sources of clean and renewable energy such as solar, wind, geothermal and biofuels coupled with innovations such as clean cook stoves and various solar products promoted around the world to help meet the basic needs of energy of human race without causing harm on our environment. Southern Africa, particularly Zambia, has an excellent solar potential, making this free and readily available source of energy a very viable venture in this part of Africa.

The Lusaka District Administration represented by the District Commissioner Captain Davies Mulenga, challenged young people to take the front line and engage in such delightful discussions that promote research in learners, build confidence and bring about public speaking skills in our young people who are not just the future leaders but co-leaders of today.

Prior to the debate deliberations, presentations on innovations around sustainable energy solutions were shared from VITALITE Zambia, a social enterprise which is committed to providing quality solar and cooking solutions to households in Zambia using a very affordable Pay As You Go system. This was followed by a presentation on the Eco-Charcoal project by Biocarbon Partners, who seek to improve charcoal processing methods by making it more sustainable and effective.

The debate team from Olympia Park Secondary School won this first Sustainable Energy Debate Award, which shall be challenged annually by other schools going forward.

The forestry department was represented at the event as well and donated trees to be planted in all participating schools. They will be periodically checked and monitored by a team from YVE Zambia. Among other prices won were the Sunking Pro 2 solar home systems, which went to the best speaker to be used mostly for studying and phone charging, and EcoZoom’s Mbaula Fresh cooking stoves.