Greenpeace Africa roots for sustainable, long-term investments in women

As the world marked International Women’s Day on March 8, environmental and women’s rights campaigners in Africa have called for sustainable and long-term investments in the well-being of women.

This, particularly to women living and working at the forefront of environmental challenges and bearing the brunt of the climate crisis.

According to Greenpeace Africa’s Mbong Akiy Fokwa Tsafack, investments in women that are not designed with their long-term sustainability in mind are simply not good enough.

“Women are the pillars of our families and communities as well as the guardians of our environment, and investing in their well-being is the most profitable investment we can make in saving the planet,” said Mbong.

Mbong called on leaders to consider the debilitating impacts of their decisions on the very women they celebrate on International Women’s Day.

“I urge leaders to prioritise policies that safeguard women’s rights and livelihoods. Enacting strong global legal frameworks such as the plastics and fossil fuels treaties will go a long way in tackling the triple planetary crisis of pollution, climate change, and biodiversity loss,” Mbong noted.

These decisions, Mbong emphasised, can have significant consequences for women’s economic security and access to resources.

Across the African frontlines, women on the peripheries of development are raising their voices to highlight their specific needs and challenges.

Diaba Diop, President of REFEPAS, a group of women working in artisanal fishing in Senegal reiterated the need to be included in decision-making processes where policies directly affect their work.

“We face numerous challenges, including limited access to financing, dwindling fish stocks, precarious working conditions, and the additional burden of climate change.

“Investing in supporting these women will not only uplift them but also ensure the Senegalese economy benefits from their invaluable contributions,” stated Diop.

Elsewhere, while reflecting on this year’s celebration, Barbra Kangwana, a young Kenyan climate activist, remarked: “Sustainable investments mean going back to basics.

“It means acknowledging that young women have a critical role to play in policy-making, and are not to be seen solely as vulnerable but as agents of change. Empowering and investing in them would be critical in shaping our future.”

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, where women are actively involved in protecting vital forest ecosystems, Bonaventure Bondo, Coordinator of Mouvement des Jeunes pour la Protection de l’Environnement (MJPE) noted that market gardening is the primary source of food supplies in Kinshasa.

These activities, mostly carried out by women, have been hard hit by the consequences of the climate crisis, undermining their livelihood.

“Women are the first victims of the effects of climate change, as their main activities are negatively impacted.

“On this International Women’s Day, it is important for us to make the voice of these vulnerable women heard and to involve them in the search for solutions to the climate crisis,” declared Bondo.

Greenpeace Africa joins the global call for action beyond mere words to commemorate the International Women’s Day.

By investing sustainably in women, protecting their rights, and ensuring their concerns are taken into consideration in policy-making and budget allocation, we can build a healthier and more equitable future for all.

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