SDG 11: Sustainable cities and communities
It’s half past midday in Kawama Village in Northwestern Zambia and Mildred Kikwanda is busy preparing ‘Nshima’ – the staple maize meal – with chicken stew and vegetables, using a non-traditional means of cooking – a wood-saving, earth-block stove popularly known as energy-saving stove.
Beaming with a smile, and with a blue colourful ‘chitenge’ (wrapper) tied around her waist, she takes some ‘mealie meal’ (maize flour) from a sachet and sprinkles it into a boiling water while briskly stirring it with a cooking stick to make it thicker.
Myanmar is highly susceptible to natural disasters and ranks second out of 187 countries in the 2016 Global Climate Risk Index. Prolonged conflict fuelled by ethnic tensions has exacerbated Myanmar’s vulnerability to natural disasters, so much so that the Government of Myanmar has placed emergency response and disaster preparedness at the top of its priority list.
It takes two hours to cover the 60 kilometers between Batouri, the capital of the Kadey department to the Lolo refugee site. Near the border with the Central African Republic (CAR) in the commune of Kentzou, the camp hosts a population of over 13,000 refugees from CAR. Fleeing a war-torn country, these vulnerable communities, predominately Muslims, settled at the site from the beginning of 2014.
The day the cyclone hit, we accommodated five neighbour families who sought refuge after the cyclone winds destroyed their houses. A total of 33 people sat in our small sitting room and I had to climb up the roof to place stone blocks to prevent the roof of being swept away.
Working with UNICEF as a UN volunteer over the past year, my assignment included building awareness among staff on climate change, its impact and how we can mitigate its effects. I also advocate for sustainable practices in the way people consume energy and resources and manage waste both at work and in their personal lives. These efforts are in line with one of the targets of Sustainable Development Goal 13: to improve education, awareness-raising, human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning.
Imagine living close to a river and not knowing if and when the rivers will rise above normal levels. Imagine a large wave of rain flooding your land, destroying your home while washing away your dear belongings. This was the reality of many Laotians during the rainy season in 2018.