Young People’s Climate Change Engagement in Tanzania


Start date: 1 April, 2021 End date: 31 March, 2026 Project type: Research projects in countries with extended development cooperation (earlier Window 1) Project code: 20-08-KU Countries: Tanzania Thematic areas: Climate change, Lead institution: University of Copenhagen (UCPH), Denmark Partner institutions: Ardhi University (ARU), Tanzania Tanzania Youth Coalition (TYC), Tanzania University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM), Tanzania Project website: go to website (the site might be inactive) Project coordinator: Morten Skovdal Total grant: 11,999,947 DKK

Project summary

Climate change is one of the greatest threats facing humanity, and a defining issue of our time. Young people in sub-Saharan Africa are on the front line of this crisis. They constitute both the largest and most vulnerable group to experience the harmful effects of climate change. It is critical that we learn from and engage young people – all over the world – in the fight against climate change. However, much current knowledge on young people’s climate engagement reflects the experiences of young people in the global North. Through explorations of young lives in Tanzania, Y-ENGAGE seeks to diversify our understandings of young people’s engagement with climate change and galvanise the activism potential of young people in sub-Saharan Africa. Through photography-focused participatory research in four diverse settings of Tanzania, Y-ENGAGE empirically explores: 1) young people’s experiences, conceptions, struggles, and ways of coping with climate change; 2) opportunities and challenges for young people to exert influence and transform climate-related practices; 3) the role of teachers and schools in facilitating engagement with climate change; and 4) the role of school-based dialogical approaches in instigating young people’s engagement with climate change. Through strategic comparisons of this empirical work, Y-ENGAGE aims to generate understandings of the patterns of young people’s daily life that shape how they experience, interpret and respond to climate change, and seeks to co-construct theories and practical models for engaging young people in locally relevant and empowering climate actions. Y-ENGAGE also examines the transformative potential and socio-ethical dilemmas of inviting young people to study their own engagement with climate change through photography. There is an urgency to this research. It addresses clear scientific gaps with major implications for climate change education and action in Tanzania and sub-Saharan Africa more broadly.


First year report:
Although 2021 was the first year of Y-ENGAGE, we were unable to get many things off the ground due to delays in getting the partnership agreement drafted and approved by the legal teams of the different institutions involved. Nonetheless, the project management team did behind the scenes work, preparing recruitment protocols for PhD students and postdocs working on the project, and planning a kick-off project meeting in Dar es Salaam for start 2022. In 2021 we also joined forces with Save the Children who will contribute to the project and use findings to steer their strategic work. The project coordinator also edited a special issue in the journal Children's Geographies on the topic of young people's everyday climate crisis activism. We also managed to develop a project website.

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