Signatures are gathered on the streets of Mzuzu, Malawi (Photo: NCA)
Young people in “We have faith” t-shirts tumble out of six buses in the town of Mzuzu, Malawi. Soon a crowd gathers, and the caravan participants start collecting signatures for their campaign demanding that world leaders achieve a just and binding climate agreement in Durban this December. Ten Sing Norway is singing, and the locals are joining in on the song “Ooo it’s hot in here, there’s too much carbon in the atmosphere”.
“The youth caravan decided to arrange a so-called flash mob, or spontaneous collective activity, in Mzuzu because the “We Have Faith – Act Now for Climate Justice” Campaign is about people,” Paul Mbole, Country Coordinator at NCA Kenya explains. “It’s time we move the negotiations out of the conference halls and into the street. By engaging with people we recharge the negotiations with the vocabulary of the people,” he continues.
The streets fill with activity when the caravan rolls into town! (Photo: NCA)
On the streets of Lilongwe
Sunday the caravan passed through the streets of Lilongwe in a rally to collect signatures. The buses stopped at several locations where the youth jumped out and engaged with people they met.
The flash mobs in Malawi this week are intended to make people the most important players at the upcoming climate negotiations in Durban. “We need ordinary people to state their claims from an informed point of view,” Paul Mbole adds.
Call for leadership
The caravan’s sojourn in Malawi concluded with a big concert at the national stadium in Lilongwe. Church leaders and the Minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Environmental Affairs attended the concert.
One of the participants to join the caravan in Malawi, Heather Maseko, took the stage and asked the leaders of the world to lead us through COP 17 and to ensure a legally binding agreement is achieved. “We need to act now to save my generation and generations to come,” Heather Maseko said.
Already making a difference
The caravan has created quite a stir on its journey from Nairobi so far. As the buses left Tanzania, the participants discovered that they were front-page news in the national newspaper The Guardian. The caravan hopes to mobilize even more people by attracting more media attention in the countries it has yet to visit.
Next stop: Zambia!
Read all about the climate caravan's travels through Africa here