• Hameln, Deutschland
  • Platz 2 Award 2021
  • Globales Lernen, Umwelt, Anti-Rassismus
We are young people from Malawi and Germany - together we get active for climate justice and against global power structures. During Covid, we created a TV and radio series on health and climate resilience in Malawi and started a reflection of our partnership.

Our partnership goes back to 2015 and was “love at first sight”: In 2015, due to the climate conference in Paris, Joseph Kenson Sakala, the founder of the grassroot student organisation Youth for Environment and Sustainable Development (YSD) from Malawi met some German students. Carried by the momentum, they spontaneously organised some successful climate justice events together. Before leaving, Joseph asked whether the students could imagine supporting his organisation, which is fighting against climate change and educating farmers in climate resilience, in finding more finances. This is how our partnership was initiated and since then, we have realized three larger projects targeting climate resilience of Malawian small-scale farmers and many smaller events. In Germany, we founded Youth for Sustainable Development Germany, the “daughter organisation” of YSD Malawi. Our roles are clearly separated: YSD Malawi leads the projects, writes the application and is responsible for its implementation on the ground. YSD Germany translates the application, helps with accounting and acquiring finances. Moreover, together we execute educational events in Germany.Here we talk about the linkages of (neo-)colonialism, racism and climate change and the importance of resilience and food sovereignty.


We are young people from Malawi and Germany - together we get active for climate justice and against global power structures. During Covid, we created a TV and radio series on health and climate resilience in Malawi and started a reflection of our partnership.

Kurzbeschreibung des Projektes

While Covid-19 changed our lives, we reacted to the crisis with a new format and initiated a Radio and TV show produced by YSD Malawi and broadcasted throughout Malawi, which has reached about 4 million people so far. We also entered a reflection period with a professional trainer, to reflect on the last five years of our partnership. Through the crisis, we witnessed once more how much we can count on each other, grew closer, as we embraced new online formats and found ways to support each other

Der Projektansatz

For more than five years we are challenged by the idea of interacting on a level playing field. While we can’t change the structural barriers (such as economic and bureaucratic ones), we are doing as much as we can to reflect our own biases, make the structural barriers visible and find pathways to interact which allow us to grow together as a family never the less. Within the TV and radio project, as with our other projects, our roles were separated but harmonized: YSD Germany organized the crowd-funding campaign and followed up with the accounting, YSD Malawi developed the project idea, the content, produced the episodes and did the accounting for the Malawian side. The responsible persons for project oversight, accounting and publicity talk regularly on the phone to make sure we are all on the same page. Moreover, we try to have joint online team meetings every now and then, so that we can all talk to each other. This is important to us, as we have become friends throughout the process of working together. Stunningly, long but regular phone calls can build very stable bridges. We witnessed this even more so during the pandemic: In our phone calls, we exchanged emotions, sometimes quite difficult ones, as family members and friends fell sick. These emotional moments showed that we were not alone but that we sympathized with each other and were standing together. We found very strong ways of comforting each other and we found that it strengthened us as a family – family in the Malawian sense of Ubuntu. Secondly, we finally managed to acquire funding for a reflection process on our partnership with professional guidance. This process started in March 2021 and is still ongoing, but we do already have valuable lessons learned. For instance, we now try to share personal and political news with each other more regularly, decided to have a joint team birthday calendar and the German members are improving their Chichewa skills. Further, it has been hard for the Malawian team that in the German team responsibilities change quite often (as sometimes somebody is in a challenging time at Uni and another person takes over). YSD Germany is trying to improve communication on this and finding ways to make changes more transparent. So, we do have our challenges and obviously, within the current power structures, many processes are far from equal. But our trainer reminded us that a lot also works very well and that we should acknowledge this. So, another lesson learned is to celebrate more our success and our friendship, which, as we all agree, is very special.

Die Beteiligten

The COVID-19 crisis and the reflection process brought us closer together. This is wonderful because, for all of us, YSD is a crucial part of our life. To us it is like a piece of utopia which comes true every day. It is friendship and community, resistance and change. So, also in future, we will continue working in Germany and in Malawi for our shared vision to come true. A vision of a world where… ... young people spring into action for sustainable development and the conservation of national resources. …young people overcome global power structures and inequalities that they inherited from previous generations. …young people from different parts of the world meet on a level playing field and tackle global challenges such as climate change together. Concretely, one of our next steps will be to upscale the radio project. YSD Malawi would like to start a new season. As the health crisis is far from over, we want to continue talking about how to stay healthy and become climate resilient at the same time. To make our program more inclusive and engaging for youth, we want to do the recording at schools and include the ideas of pupils. Further, YSD Germany would like to cooperate with small radios in Germany (freie Radios) to inform people in Germany, with the support of our Malawian colleagues about the interlinkages of the health, the climate and the biodiversity crisis as well and increase the visibility of our work. Moreover, we are planning on giving workshops on the results of our reflection process, in order to share our process results with other partnership organisations. As YSD Germany we have already shared our perspectives and values of partnership on different occasions, where we organized workshops and seminars or were invited by other organisations. It is important to us, to reflect on our privileges as people from the Global North and thereby use them together in solidarity with our friends from the Global South not only within our partnership but also during our daily lives and to inspire our peers. With the long-lasting youth and community education work of YSD Malawi of more than 10 years now, our global cooperation and the 5 years of educational work in Germany we are continuously inspiring our surroundings and target groups on climate justice and global alliances.


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