“What will be your little thing that will help to conserve Mother Earth and fully guard her wildlife?” This was the challenge posed by the Honorable Chris Wamalwa to the delegates gathered for the CYNESA Summit 2017. Hon. Wamalwa, the Chairman of the Catholic MPs Spiritual Support Initiative (CAMPSSI) and Member of Parliament for Kiminini Constituency, was represented at the opening ceremony of the Summit by Mrs. Alice Muchiri the CAMPSSI Administrator, who delivered the speech on his behalf.
The CYNESA Summit 2017, whose theme was “Laudato Si: Youth and Wildlife Conservation in Africa”, was attended by 25 delegates from 6 CYNESA chapters-Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Rwanda and hosts Kenya. Also in attendance was Ms. Iris Ho, Wildlife Programs Manager at Humane Society International. CYNESA and HSI are currently partnering on a youth and wildlife conservation project.
Hon. Wamalwa, quoting Nobel Peace Prize Laureaute, Prof. Wangari Maathai, reminded delegates that it is the small things we do that make the difference. The MP decried corruption and bad governance in Africa, which he described as being of greater threat to wildlife in developing nations, rather than human population pressures and poverty. “Bob Smith of the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology at the University of Kent in England, led a study on corruption being the top threat to African wildlife and had this to say “The most corrupt countries are the least successful at protecting their important species and habitats. .Money that’s earmarked for anti-poaching and conservation programs often ends up in the pockets of corrupt officials instead””, added Hon. Wamalwa. He further invited young people in Africa “to define ways of pushing for measures to curb these vices by taking leadership roles for its easier to control systems from within rather that without, influencing positive legislations and raising the levels of advocacy.”
Citing education as key in shaping positive attitudes and values towards caring for our common home, Hon. Wamalwa called for “increased support for education among the youth and improved support for environmental and wildlife clubs can be beneficial to wildlife and environmental conservation”.
Reminding the young people that they have solutions at hand, which can address climate change, destruction of forests and pollution water bodies, Hon. Wamalwa encouraged young people in Africa to use their innovation and creativity, to develop conservation programs, set up enterprises and create awareness campaigns for wildlife conservations. “The youth spend more hours on social media than anywhere else. They should use such platforms to campaign for wildlife conservation, create awareness market their own alternatives to wildlife products and air success stories”, said Hon. Wamalwa.
“Allow me to congratulate the organizers of this summit for this great idea of involving the youth in preserving the environment and its heritage for the common good and a better tomorrow”, said Hon. Wamalwa, as he concluded with the words of Pope Francis delivered at the United Nations Office in Nairobi: “Planting a tree is first and foremost an invitation to continue the battle against phenomena like deforestation and desertification”
Founder & Executive Director, CYNESA.