All days are equal but for some people some days are more equal than others. Olumide Idowu, a 28-year-old Nigerian falls under this category of people who have special preferences for specific days. ClimateWednesday, the brainchild of Olumide Idowu, is a weekly tweet conversation on climate change, environmental sustainability and related matters. The initiative is aimed at building a climate-smart generation in Africa.
Founded in April 2013, #ClimateWednesday leverages the internet to campaign on the importance of climate action. And of course, green is the colour of this youthful movement. Together with a small team of climate activists, the founder commits 2 hours every Wednesday to educating and engaging young Nigerians on the imperative to build a society that is environmentally responsible.
In a country where youth-led initiatives are a dime a dozen, Olumide—through his actions—maintains that #ClimateWednesday is not just another NGO for raising funds from the Global North but rather a community of voices who are “seeking to identify key climate-based issues that are affecting development specifically in Nigeria, and Africa overall.” In essence, the mission of #ClimateWednesday is to critically look at the issue of climate by thinking locally, and then acting globally.
Although the initiative is still in its nascent stage, the founder has been recognised for his efforts. He has received the COP21 Global South Award for Reporting, the Social Media Coordinator for Youth Beyond Disaster Award and financial support from the French government, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Climate Action Network. In November 2014, he was named a TUNZA Country Representative where his duties include showcasing youths who are engaging in climate work.
An essential aspect of the tweet conversation is the privilege given to a leading climate activist to ‘be a guest on #ClimateWednesday.’ Such an opportunity enables young professionals to present their work in climate action to a larger audience as well as encourage others to take up the responsibility of ensuring that the issue of climate change is not allowed to take the back seat in their respective communities. Richard Munang, the African Regional Climate Change Coordinator at UNEP in Nairobi, Kenya is one of the several guests who have been featured during the weekly tweet conversation.
Olumide’s Twitter followers, which currently stands at over 11,000 is a digital constituency for reaching youths across the world and it offers the possibility of expanding the frontiers of climate action on the continent. Through his various climate activities, Olumide has shown how impactful African youths can be when given the rights tools and opportunities to become leaders.