In September 2016 I was fortunate enough to get a writing fellowship with Climate Tracker, at that time I did not know a lot about climate change and I had very little experience in environmental journalism. The fellowship was a 4 weeks writing program to write and publish 4 articles about different topics related mainly to fossil fuel and clean energy transition. Climate Tracker provided me with a mentor to help me write my articles and get it published, they taught how to write a strong pitch and get my article published everywhere. Only a couple of days after I started the fellowship, I managed to get my first article published in one of the biggest newspapers in Sudan, shortly after, I got my second article published in another known publication. By the end of the fellowship I have had my 4 article published in 4 different publications and my editors’ network started to grow.

Lina (middle), with COP 23 team

After completing the fellowship I was chosen as one of Climate Tracker’s fellows in COP 22 Marrakesh, Morocco. I was part of a team made up of 12 young talented environmental activists from different countries and backgrounds. Working with a diverse team like this, was a good opportunity for me to gain new skills and share experiences. During my two weeks in COP, I was able to publish 15 articles about different topics related to climate change in and outside Sudan. the articles that I wrote included world top expert’s opinions and whoever reads my article would think that I spent a tremendous amount of time trying to book a call with that person while in fact, I managed to do the whole conversation over a coffee in one of the conference’s restaurants.

Lina (at center), after the announcement of Trump's presidency

Lina (at center), after the announcement of Trump’s presidency

Being part of Climate Tracker’s team at COP 22 was a life changing experience for me. I learned how to conduct an interview, how to speak in a panel discussion and more importantly I learned how to get out of my comfort zone and get things done on time. During and After COP 22 I got three job offers, a chance to represent Sudanese’s Youth at a panel discussion with the environment minister and I started publishing more articles outside my country. COP is not just one opportunity, it has hundreds of other opportunities, and it is a chance for you to discover and understand yourself better.

In COP I had fun, I met some important government officials and I have made friends from all over the world which represents a useful network that will forever last. This experience had a huge impact on my life, it made me gain more confidence in myself and change my perspective on different things. I now work as MENA Programs Manager at Climate Tracker, I enjoy my work very much because it is giving me the chance to create a difference and empower other young people like me to become powerful voices in their community.

Leena Yassen

About Leena Yassen