by Alun McDonald
Originally published by Oxfam International on November 9, 2011
The Trans African Caravan of Hope – a 17-day journey through 10 countries to raise the voices of African communities affected by climate change – set off today from Bujumbura, the capital of Burundi. Close to 300 farmers, youth, activists and journalists, will travel in a convoy of buses through Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana, before arriving in Durban, South Africa, for the start of the 17th international Climate Change Conference (COP-17).
The convoy was waved off today by Thérence Sinunguruza, the Vice-President of Burundi. Organised by the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) – an umbrella group with 300 members in 45 countries – the Caravan will meet people along the way who are affected by, or have shown ways of coping with, climate change. Along the route the Caravan will collect signatures for an African People’s Petition, calling on wealthy governments – the biggest polluters – to take responsibility for curbing pollution and greenhouse gas emissions and tackling climate change. The organisers want global leaders to commit 1.5% of their GNP to embracing low carbon development. Hundreds of thousands of signatures are expected to be handed over to South African President Jacob Zuma, the host of the COP17 talks.
You can follow the journey at the Trans African Caravan of Hope blog
Before the Caravan left Bujumbura, dozens of women farmers from across Burundi gathered to prepare a Charter on climate change, to be handed over to the Vice President. More details about some of the women farmers – as well as the route of the Caravan and what it will see – are available via Google Maps. Oxfam, along with other organisations including Action Aid and Christian Aid, is supporting the Caravan.
Alun McDonald is Oxfam’s Regional Media and Communications Officer for the Horn, East and Central Africa.