The voices of the marginalized youth climate leaders in India are often missing in the larger climate movement, due to distinct geographical, sociological and cultural conditions. The clear lack of political and media representation of the local climate issues and solutions further excludes them from the picture. As a result, the climate movement in India has a very urban-centric approach and needs decentralization of climate leadership and participation. With the Haiyya Youth Climate Resilience Network project, we aim to build a diverse network of young emerging climate groups, collectives and organizations of tier 2 and tier 3 cities from 5 different regions of India that will enhance the youth participation and leadership, strengthen the movement overall and push for pressing climate policy impact. This will create an opportunity to develop the leadership of the marginalized youth networks, grow their network of allies, build power over the decision-makers and expand their work to exponentially grow and center their local climate issues and voices in the wider climate movement.
In 2020, due to the pandemic lingering upon in the world, Haiyya Youth Climate Resilience Network was launched as an emergency response program, a collaboration of Haiyya and Urban Movement Incubation Fund. The aim of this network was to cater to the youth climate activists in India by providing financial and capacity-building support to existing movements such that they don’t fizzle out and rather sustain and thrive in today’s context of global pandemic and its parallel manifestations in the lives of organizations and movements. We created a space for 15 promising youth-led climate change campaigns/movements, majorly from the tier 2 and 3 cities in India and provided them with funds such that they are able to grow their movement, network and infrastructure, along with capacity building training, workshops, one to one mentorship with climate experts, so they are able to use a people-powered organizing approach to bring shifts at the community and systemic level. The 2020 pilot resulted in some great shifts in the campaigns and the overall climate movement network from the tier 2, tier 3 cities of India. The project has shown the need for such interventions for the marginalized youth organisations in order to sustain these movements as well as make space and solidarity within the larger climate movement of India.
– Akshay G, Head of Campaigns & Mobilisation, Haiyya