Athenkosi Baba has been working in the youth leadership development sector for the past 10 years. He first joined Project 90 by 2030 back in 2015, and quickly excelled at using his own life experiences to develop climate-conscious youth leaders. At Project 90 he developed his own understanding of the growing climate emergency and the need for climate justice, particularly on how low income families will be most affected by the impacts of climate change.
Back in 2017-2018, Baba helped develop a new youth project at Project 90 called the YouLead Initiative. It focuses on creating opportunities for 40 young people from Khayelitsha to grow their understanding of climate change and find pathways for action.
He was inspired by the impact civil society has had on him, saying:
“I would advise anyone not to underestimate the opportunities that are presented to them, and for young people to join youth organisations that bring positive change to their communities.”
He is currently the organisation’s youth programme co-ordinator, a role that gives him the opportunity to inspire a future generation of community leaders and climate activists. He says: “I want to see the youth who are informed about climate change and leaders who are activists in their communities. Also, we are building leaders who can challenge our government to see that climate change is real and it’s happening now.”
Baba has continued to develop not only himself but others around him. He has proven his passion to develop the capacities of the youth he engages with, dedicating almost every weekend of the year to running workshops, leading youth leadership hikes and running youth events. He explains: “The social ills in my community are the motivation that drives me to keep making changes for the youths I work with.”