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Interview with One Million Women Organisation in Australia

By Bronte Hogarth, 1MW International correspondent

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Women in the world – Interview with Rosemary Enie
Women in the world – Sharing the stories of inspiring woman around the world taking action on climate change.

Rosemary Enie is the energetic & big smiled Director of the community rights program Women’s Environment Climate Action Network (WECAN) in Tanzania.
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Promoting Women Environmental and Climate Leadership across the Continent of Africa.
Describe yourself in 3 words?

Dedicated African Woman.
Tell us a little about the work you do and what you are doing at present?

I am working to establish the Women Environment and Climate Action Network (WECAN) Centre in Tanzania to build the capacity of grassroots women within the climate change adaptation and mitigation sector. We help the women to undertake Clean Development Projects in the communities to promote the building of resilient communities, for sustainable livelihoods and development.

I work with the African First Ladies under the First Ladies Action on Climate Change (FLACC) Africa Initiative, promoting climate action and environmental leadership amongst the wives of African Presidents.

I also run the Green School Program promoting education for sustainability in schools, for schools to act as agents of change to build the capacity of children and young people within the climate action and environmental leadership. All these projects are linked towards the inter-generation alliance working with women, children and youths. Please see more about our programs at www.iweci.org or www.wecc.org.

I also serve as the council member for the Global Ecovillage Network (GEN) Africa helping to build resilient communities and promote sustainable livelihoods and development in rural Africa.
What inspires you?

The ability to impact on people and communities across Africa and other countries of the Global South.
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Simgas – using kitchen waste to produce clean cooking gas.
What do you think are the unique strengths of women in taking action on climate change and living better for the planet?

Speaking from an African Woman’s perspective, women are the care takers of the community, family and the sick. They are the natural resource managers but often at times are left out these important processes that affect their lives and that of their family. In Africa women produce 80% of the food according to the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), mostly in the informal sector. They fetch the water for cooking, washing and undertake household chores. Though often considered as victims women can become positive and active agents of change especially if they receive adequate empowerment with the economic, ecological, social and cultural concerns. There would therefore be no “Climate Justice without Gender Justice!”
What do you hope to see happening in the next year in relation to forming a Women’s Climate Action Agenda?

The Women’s Climate Action Agenda must not be just talking workshop there must be concrete actions to empower women especially at the grassroots level to undertake clean development projects for sustainable livelihoods and the development of their communities. It is every woman’s business whether they are based in the Global North or the Global South. There is also a need for partnership, information sharing and exchange to implement best practices. There is also a need to look at the holistic picture especially in the Global South where the key concerns are access to clean and safe water (Water Security), access to sufficient energy (Energy Security) and access to adequate food supply (Food Security) under the Water-Food-Energy Nexus. These connections are very crucial for the women and countries of the Global South.
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Presentation at the International Women’s Earth and Climate Initiative (IWECI) Summit September 2013, New York, USA.
We know the time to act on climate change is now. Do you have an inspiring message or a call to action you would like to share with our 1 Million Women community?

I am very aware of this. I have been following the international climate change negotiations for the past 13 years and I have not seen much even from the United Nations perspective. Women can become a powerful agent for Change. There is no “Climate Justice without Gender Justice”. We should call for the reduction of emissions and the increase of women rights (Emissions Down, Women Rights Up).

A bit more: Rosemary Enie is a Cameroonian Geologist. She is the Director of Women’s Environment Climate Action Network, WECAN in Africa. For over 20 years she has been actively working in the field of sustainable development and environmental management at grassroots levels in Cameroon, Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, Kenya, Liberia and beyond. She serves as the African Coordinator for the International Women’s Earth and Climate Initiative.

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