Partnership of NGOs
Alliance for global climate justice
Youth for Environment & Sustainable Development (YSD), Lilongwe, Malawi
and Youth for Sustainable Development Germany e.V., Hameln, Germany
Our partnership consists of 5 to 10 young adults in either country and focuses on the drivers and impacts of climate change, which are unequally distributed between the Global North and the Global South. We share an understanding that racism and colonialism in its historic and present manifestations constitute the ideological basis for global injustices, such as the continued global imbalance in the response to climate change and other emerging global issues.
Every YSD member is an (educational) activist fighting for global climate justice. We share a similar vision, which allows us to feel connected and to act as allies for each other. Sharing our thoughts and resources makes us stronger and has enabled us to evolve into one big family, where everyone feels equally important. This has also led to greater tolerance for the diversity that exists within our partnership. Nevertheless, we think it is important to regularly reflect on the dynamics and the quality of our collaboration. To some extent, this has already been successful, but we are still learning together how to facilitate and improve this process of reflection.
YSD Malawi works with rural and urban communities – especially with youth and women – on natural resource management, environmental education and climate resilience interventions. In the implementation of its activities, the organisation uses a community- centred, inclusive and empowering approach that also includes indigenous perspectives. This has enabled us to establish in-depth collaborations with communities, local stakeholders and other NGOs across the nation, which has turned YSD into a wellknown and recognised grassroots NGO in Malawi.
In 2015, YSD Malawi established a cooperation with YSD Germany. YSD Germany was originally founded to assist YSD Malawi in acquiring project funding from German sources. However, it soon became involved in educational activities in Germany, with a focus on the root causes of climate injustice and on encouraging people in Germany to work towards climate justice while questioning their own privileges within global power structures in order to eventually transform them. This cooperation is an important source of expertise, perspectives and knowledge for our educational activities in Germany, for example by means of video message from YSD Malawi team members.
By working together over the years, we have developed and improved the communication, mutual understanding and trust between the German and the Malawian group. Exchanging information about our specific situations, strategies and challenges has helped us to refine the process of planning and implementing projects together in a way that allows both organisations and the individual activists to develop their skills and resources. For communication, we use phone and internet, and a number of personal visits have also helped us to grow together as a team.
We are all strongly motivated to continue our cooperation, support each other’s activities and develop joint programmes. To facilitate greater stability and flexibility, we hope to secure additional sources of funding in both countries. We have a joint website that we want to develop further and eventually turn into a learning platform for other partnerships. Our vision for the future also includes the creation of exchange programmes or opportunities, so that youth from Germany and Malawi can learn from each other and work on projects that address the same global challenge but from different perspectives – which is exactly what our cooperation is about.