Thursday, 1 December 2011

Caravan Dispatches - Farmers Wow At COP17

I have been debating for the last few hours or so whether to sit down and write this entry in the midst of drowsiness and fatigue. Don't forget sleepiness. Hmm! that is an English word seeing it didn't go underlined red at the bottom:-) Anyways,l have to tell you this even though it is a few minutes to middnight here in University of Kwa Zulu Natal, South Africa.

Farmers, African Farmers, Resilient Farmers. On this Farmers Day, we had the African Farmers 'Kamunkunji' or Parliament if you like. Farmers from Lesotho, Swaziland, Kenya, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia among others attended and actively participated in the event.

What wowed me was the active participation that farmers had this evening. It is enough that they had activities all day and then had to come and have this meeting. But no, they had to be heard. That told me that they are ready for climate justice and that the slogan, 'Climate Justice Now' is a very timely and viable tagline.

Reflecting after the event in the L5 hall where we had the meeting,l kept thinking,'If you weren't here, you missed big time on hearing the real voices of those affected by climate change' This right here was the voice that brought everyone to COP17 in Durban, South Africa, the farmers voice which is the future for Africa.

The Farmers Kamukunji gave the farmers a safe space to share their  experiecnes which included concerns, challenges, recommendations and solutions.I have never seen caravanites this active after 7pm. By then they usually have attended so many events hence the fatigues.

The farmers spoke on and on and they wanted to be heard. We literally had to cut the meeting short because they wanted to keep sharing. I was humbled. We then did an exercise that allowed us to interactively review Oxfam's new interesting report aptly titled, 'Overcoming Barriers.' If you haven't read it, get it and go through it. The Farmer's voice is represented here again.

You had to be there and witness the energy and the positive vibe that everyone had. An official report of the meeting will be availed soon. But man! you my friend had to be there to understand why l and others were so wowed by the farmers.

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