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#YALICHAT: Community Organizing and #YALIGoesGreen
December 17, 2015

Graphic promotes online event, starting: YALICHAT continues today! Ask your community organizing questions.
#YALICHAT on community organizing

Last week, in a three-day Facebook #YALICHAT, community organizers from the YALI Network in Nigeria, Mali the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Zimbabwe fielded questions on how to mobilize and motivate your audience by holding a #YALIGoesGreen event on climate change.

A common theme of the chat was the need to raise awareness about the need for adaptation and mitigation in the face of climate change.

Jean-Vincent Merry Gankpa asked for an effective argument that would motivate people in his community to address climate change. Alf Sidibe, one of the community organizers from Mali, responded: “What i did in my Community was to take practical examples from yesterday and today. I gathered people from my community — mainly community leaders — and talked to them about what they see now compared to what they saw yesterday. It helped you to [see] clearly how the environment is being affected by our daily actions. When I did that people easily understood the causes and the actions to be taken to protect the environment.”

Albert Chijindu Obi Berto asked about the best way to disseminate information to people in inaccessible rural areas. “Rural dwellers usually respect their local administration institutions headed by a Chief, so engaging Chiefs to disseminate information will be key,” said organizer Obrien Makore. “In many rural areas in Africa, there are village health workers who engage with local people frequently, as do agricultural extension officers. If your audience has access to mobile networks, sending bulk SMSs can be very useful.”

Makore responded to another question about rural Lesotho, suggesting focusing on those things the audience can help to change, such as deforestation, veld fires and burning fossil fuels. “You can start your initiative to educate rural folks using their vernacular language starting at ward using local administration institutions like the chiefs.”

Of course, what most of these climate-minded Network members wanted were suggestions on launching their own #YALIGoesGreen event. “Identify the main policymakers who will be most influential to the population,” advised Kakel Mbumb. “It is most likely the traditional leaders with whom you can partner in order to spread the message to the community.” Chima Michael Oleru reminded members to focus on the “specific needs of your immediate community and start from there. This way you can empower others in joining and supporting your cause.”

Here are the six steps offered in the chat for getting your #YALIGoesGreen event underway:

  1. Find a small aspect of climate change that affects your community the most: Trash and recycling? Drought and farming? Awareness of climate change?
  2. Research solutions related to that issue — including information from the YALI Network and members facing similar issues.
  3. Find an audience in your community that is interested in solving this issue. University students? Farmers? Spreading awareness through local radio? Local journalists? Talking to secondary school classes?
  4. Convene those community members to discuss the problem and solutions you can take action on. Find an event facilitation guide to help you with events on yali.lab.dev.getusinfo.com/climate. Picking up trash? Starting a radio show? Holding community info sessions?
  5. Continue to work with these interested community members and turn your conversations into actions.
  6. Then share the results and ideas with the YALI Network to earn a Green Champion certificate and help other YALI Network members with their own community challenges.