What I take home from COP 17 in Durban
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It was a great experience being at COP17 and it was my first time in South Africa and Durban, a beautiful city. We were kindly welcomed by the Girl Guides of South Africa. I felt home away from home.
I bonded with amazing Girl Guides and Girl Scouts from all over the world, who are now my good friends and most of all, my sisters. I was amazed how much work we accomplished in a day as we worked as a team. We worked on our projects, actions, painting of the Fairfell Guide center’s wall, going to schools, making our own permaculture garden, helping each other through the 7th Conference of Youth (COY 7) and COP 17 with the interviews, speeches, working groups, constituency meetings and side events.
It was a great feeling when the late Prof. Wangari Maathai was honored at the opening of the COY 7. I was glad to share my passion to help girls and young women in the gender working group at COY 7 and COP 17. I was lucky to attend the opening ceremony of COP 17 where the President of COP elected was an African woman Minister Mashabane. I got the opportunity to meet different youths and network with them and also meet the Kenyan delegation. I also got to see how negotiations go on in COP and attended the briefing with the President of COP and got a chance to talk to her and she gave me a hug.
On the Young Future Generation day (YoFuGe), I had a chance to represent WAGGGS at our own side event “The African voice” and I was amazed by outcome of my speech and the interviews I had after. I got to speak out on behalf of girls and young women affected negatively by climate change and gave my personal experience on how climate change affects me. The German media got to follow Edith (Nigeria) and me at COP for half a day to know what WAGGGS delegates do at COP and know how climate change affects girls and young women and our projects.
I supported my Guiding and Scouting sisters in their interviews and press conference. We presented our action infront of the SBI Chair who let us present it again at the Plenary to the COP 17 delegation. It was incredible.
It was not only work, we had fun; enjoying an Indian evening, a campfire, relaxing at the botanical gardens and dancing with the Girl Guides of South Africa
At the end of everything, I got to learn different cultures, WAGGGS advocacy and project management. I would like to thank WAGGGS for giving me a chance to be part of WAGGGS youth delegation at COP 17, the Girl Guides of South Africa and the WAGGGS youth delegates who did a great job. It was amazing!
Beatrice Omweri, WAGGGS youth delegate from Kenya