African women advocate for an end to climate change

Women from 10 African countries under the umbrella of the African Women’s Climate Assembly, have lent their voices to the call to end climate change on the continent.
They made the call at a climate change conference hosted by the Assembly in Port Harcourt recently.
The women came from Guinea Conakry, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Democratic Republic of Congo and Nigeria.
In her welcoming remarks, the director of the Kebetkache Women’s Resource and Development Center, Chief Emem Okon, explained that the essence of the conference was to provide a space for women to share their experiences, organize positive strategies , learn from each other and deepen their knowledge of climate change.
The Director, who is hosting the Assembly in collaboration with WoMin African Alliance, urged participants and all African women to be focused and resilient in their fight for “climate justice” until their voices are heard.
According to her, “Communities affected by oil have suffered from many health problems, no access to good drinking water, oil spills in agricultural lands and rivers, in streams. As a result, the sources of ‘good quality drinking water for the population is contaminated, no running water, borehole water is not clean, so having access to good drinking water is a problem’.
Okon also lamented the increase in cancer cases due to the hydrocarbons released into the atmosphere daily during oil production, and called on the government for immediate intervention.
“We’ve also had toxic gases released into the atmosphere as part of the processes, people are dying; we therefore call on the government and all stakeholders to do something, so that people can get a good source of drinking water that would transcend good health for all,” she said.
Also speaking, the Edo State Coordinator of the Political Organization for Women Empowerment and Development Comrade Cynthia Ebere White urged women as caregivers and bunden carriers to stand up , to express themselves and to claim their rights and status in society.
She noted that many African women have become refugees in other communities due to the devastating effects of uncontrollable floods in Africa, citing Rivers and Bayelsa states as examples.
Ms. White called on leaders of African countries and all project officers involved in flood issues to assist victims as well as implement and monitor policies that would end perennial flooding on the continent.
Meanwhile, a delegate from Burkina Faso, Ms Saknatou Onodiosogo, told The Tide on the sidelines of the conference that climate change has increased poverty, hunger and disease in Africa.

By: Susan Serekara-Nwikhana & Blessing Ita

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