Africa Energy Access and jobs: “there is hope for youth”- Lawrence Mashungu
The last G20 meeting in Hamburg, in Germany, emphasized the importance of the Africa Partnership launched recently in Berlin, in recognition of the opportunities and challenges in African countries through the creation of jobs for youth and the access to energy in the continent for instance. 39 years old Lawrence Mashungu previously worked with Youth Agenda Trust, a youth organization, where he was working as a project coordinator. He has vast experience in youth and community engagement. He is now in charge of the renewable energy access plan in his country. Interview.
Eraenvironnement.com : In 2015, you were part of the youth who organized the African Youth Conference on Climate Change in Victoria’s fall, in Zimbabwe. What are you doing right now?
Lawrence Mashungu: I am a Renewable Energy expert working in the Ministry of Environment, Water and Climate as a Climate Change Mitigation Expert. I am responsible for Implementation of mitigation actions related to Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency.
How do you see the youth with Climate Change opportunities in your country?
The youth in Zimbabwe have a role to play in Climate Change Mitigation and adaptation in the country and there are a lot of opportunities for them to participate. The National Climate Change Response Strategy of 2014 provides for the youth to take part in climate change programmes both in policy formulation and actual project implementation. I must say also that before COP 21, the Youth in my country had the opportunities to participate in the National Committee on Nationally Determined Contributions that was established by government to ensure speed implementation of the NDC for the country.
How do you position yourself in these opportunities in energy for instance?
I am tasked to work directly on energy and also with youth on these issues. Currently the youth under the banner of an organisation called Action 24 Zimbabwe with support from HIVOS, an netherland organization for development, which is implementing a project focusing on promoting renewable energy and also implementation of the NDC in our country. I am working with them closely to ensure success of the project.
Do you think that it is difficult to take these opportunities to be for instance entrepreneurs in all the priorities sectors, water, water management, agriculture, energy…?
Currently the youth face a number of challenges to take up these opportunities mainly because of lack of funding. I am of the view that there is also a urgent need to invest in capacity building targeting the youth so that they will be able to take up such opportunities.
What is your hope for the youth in Zimbabwe?
The are some challenges ,yes but where there is life there is still hope and it is my confidence that if hope is there for the youth since there is still some institutions in the country who are investing in the youth like (Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung) FES and Hivos which are actively involved in youth capacity building on climate change.
By Houmi Ahamed-Mikidache