Reflections on the Cardiff #SummerUndod2022

Categories: NewsPublished On: 25th July, 2022756 words3.9 min read

Reflections on the Cardiff #SummerUndod2022

Categories: NewsPublished On: 25th July, 202234.5 min read

#SummerUndod2022 kicked off in Cardiff at the beautiful Grange Pavilion

After two years of virtual summits, we were thrilled to hold our regional networking events in person once again, starting in Cardiff on 2nd July on the theme of Climate Justice.

The Grange Pavilion is a green and vibrant community space that supports community-led projects. An open and bright space, its outdoor grounds include five rainwater ponds, a wildflower meadow, a honey-bee garden, a community allotment and a green lawn for fresh air and networking.

We heard from voices in those communities most affected by the climate crisis and about the response to the emergency from Wales.

The event opened with the introduction of the new chair of Hub Cymru Africa, Tina Fahm. She told us about her Nigerian heritage and her hopes for the future work and developments of Hub Cymru Africa. She also raised the importance of the diaspora in bridging old and new Africa, as there are 2.5 million diaspora Africans in the UK alone. Many countries in Africa are struggling with food security and rolling out the COVID-19 vaccine, but this quotation from Nelson Mandela inspired us all:

“Such challenges seem impossible until they are done.”

We were joined by some amazing women who spoke in our Climate Justice session, sharing their work and experiences of bridging Wales and Africa.

Cardiff speaker panel

Speaker panel: Left to right at table: Claire O’Shea, Clare James, Mari McNeill, Barbara Davies Quy, Beth Kidd; Left to right on screen: Lorna Alum, Deborah Wekesa

Lorna Alum from Mount Elgon Tree Growing Enterprise and Deborah Wekesa from Bumaena Tree Nursery Group joined us from Uganda via video link. They told us about the problems in their country due to deforestation and climate change: rainfall is inconsistent, which leads to flooding or drought; felled trees cause soil erosion and deprives plants from enough nutrients to grow; strong winds blow over houses and buildings; there is a lack of food and fresh water; and communities struggle with everyday life.

Mari McNeill, Head of Wales at Christian Aid, told us how her organisation’s focus in Wales was on platforming the experience of their partners in Africa and their model of “Give/Act/Pray” in response to the climate crisis.

Clare James from Climate Cymru talked of the projects in Wales that focus on building resilient communities, such as sustainable energy and food-growing to tackle climate change. The Great Big Green Week is happening this autumn and is a celebration of community action to tackle climate change and protect nature.

Barbara Davies Quy, Deputy Director of Size of Wales, spoke about how her organisation is working with communities in Africa and the Amazon to plant 25 million trees by 2025 and wants Wales to be the first “deforestation-free nation”. There is a shift in focus on how we spend our money, she said, as we are buying more products that are made ethically and sustainably.

Embroidery by Ophelia Dos Santos

Parallel afternoon sessions were led by Daisy Rees from the Centre for African Entrepreneurship on the topic of diaspora and climate change, and by local textile artist and activist Ophelia Dos Santos on sustainability in the fashion industry, who taught participants to embroider their own items.

Attendees had the chance to view the winners of our 2022 Photography Competition on the theme “Reframing the Narrative”, and an exhibition on the theme of “Climate Justice” by the Vale of Glamorgan Fairtrade Youth.

We asked attendees what global solidarity looked like to them. The responses included: internationalism, responsibility, finding common ground and strengths, empathy, courage, equity, amplifying underrepresented voices, recognising our common humanity, decolonising charities and partnerships.

We had excellent musical entertainment from Blank Face and N’famady Kouyaté and ate delicious Nigerian cuisine courtesy of Id’s Place.

N’famady Kouyaté playing the balafon

N’famady Kouyaté playing the balafon

Five key learning points:

  • By 2100, one in three people on the planet will be African.
  • People are more focused on growing their own food as they want to build skills and offset the cost of living.
  • Women have a key part to play in tackling the climate crisis in Africa as they collect water and firewood, raise children and cook. Training in horticulture is vital for their future.
  • Education on climate finance is important, as many investors support initiatives in direct opposition to climate justice.
  • Clothes are the second biggest polluter behind the oil industry. Making, mending and buying second-hand items are important things we as individuals can do to help tackle this problem.

See more photos from this event in our Flickr album.