The Making of a Global Climate Action and Development Champion

The Making of a Global Climate Action and Development Champion

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

I grew up in a village setting like millions across Africa do. Our village called Jinkfuin was and still is a typical African setting where you have a chief, you have an entire community, and every child is everyone’s child and there is this African proverb that says, “it takes a village to raise a child”. We were brought up in a communal way of interacting with each other. Doing things to support the community. I went to school in the same village and after primary school and secondary school, I later went to High school in the city of Bamenda where I did my GCE Advanced levels.

At the university, I studied education and physics, so I was trained to be a teacher. After my university studies, I volunteered for one year and the experience gained from this volunteering helped get me a scholarship to study at the University of Nottingham, where I did my Masters and later on my PhD in Climate change and Development Policy. What I am today is a climate change Action and Development Policy Expert. More importantly, my passion is to inspire young people so that they can be able to find purpose and retool their skills in such a way that benefits society and helps them see themselves as problem solvers.

When we were growing up, we were not as vocal as the young people of today and I think one of the reasons is the social media platforms they have today like Twitter, LinkedIn, so they can say anything they want to say so they have the opportunities we never had 40 years ago. The reality is what I have noticed is that young people especially today seem not to have role models to inspire them to use their skills to solve problems but rather they look up to people who have wealth and are popular. It is more about optics and not solutions to problems.

As a result of that young people want to be like them, but what I have learnt is that dealing with the youth you need to guide them to make them see value in themselves. Most of them follow instructions and guidance when they are told it is valuable to build themselves. Inspiring the Youth to a self-belief that they have what it takes, is one of the most important aspects. When you show them an example of how life experiences can help shape you from nothing to something, this becomes a very powerful message for them to believe they can make it.

It is super important that people showcase the good of others starting from themselves to inspire others so that at least they can also know that if they are good and they do something nice, they will become role models for others. The beauty is, being a role model, sometimes you might not know, but there are some people, who are silently looking up to you and emulating you. Sometimes when you do good you will not have an output now, however, one day someone will tell you that they emulated you.

Your actions and behaviour are copied by others and hence you must always do what is right and connect with those who are doing right. I think that kind of value system approach to engaging people, building on values of respect, humility, is urgently needed in our society. Value systems approach used to engage people, building on values of respect, humility, ensuring that we can also listen to the guidance and instruction and do something great is what is urgently needed in our society today.

The reality is if you look at a community there are so many challenges. I call it multifaceted challenges. I mean you have challenges of poverty. People live in poverty, they cannot afford a home, they cannot afford food and they cannot even afford to send their kids to school. These are realities that are spotted across the world. However, at the same time if you look at one challenge that wires throughout all these challenges is climate change because when there is a drought there is no food.  When there is a drought, those who depend on livestock, their livestock die, then when there is no food, those who depend on food to feed their family will not be able to feed their family. Those who depend on selling food in the market will not be able to. So, climate change only helps to make a problem that is already a big problem bigger.  If you are not addressing climate change, then the injustice aspect becomes even bigger because, in a world that is so rich, no single citizen should be poor; that is a fact and so if there is an issue, an environmental issue like climate change that can be addressed, we must all pull together to do whatever we can to ensure we address it.

Young people taking up climate activism are doing the right thing. However, activism alone is important but not enough. Activism is a means not an end. Therefore, in as much as there is activism, there needs also to be certain actions that young people can take. Therefore, I developed and championed the innovative development model called Innovative volunteerism which centers on engaging the entirety of Africa in providing structured guidance to tap into opportunities in the entire agro value chain leveraging clean energy solutions and other enablers but do so for the willing who are ready to be guided. This has yielded fruits from across the entire continent. Innovative volunteerism stems from the fact that many always think without money they cannot do anything which is false and has crippled Africa for many years and now with motivation and innovative structured guidance leveraging on passion and inspiration for the willing we are debunking that myth of money first attitude. The structural guidance also ensures traceability of climate action solutions and accountability which is key for transformational development both for individual youth and continent. Dr Munang

About the author

Dr Munang holds a PhD in Environmental Change & Policy from the University of Nottingham and an Executive Certificate in Climate Change and Energy Policy from Harvard University Kennedy School of Government.


Dr. Richard Munang

Dr Munang holds a PhD in Environmental Change & Policy from the University of Nottingham and an Executive Certificate in Climate Change and Energy Policy from Harvard University Kennedy School of Government.

1 Comment

  1. Achuo francis

    Says January 27, 2021 at 7:35 am

    Am Achuo Francis can u plse help me to learn more about recycling waste in my home to useful product thanks for your write ups I do enjoy them

Leave your comments


Fiifi is a Ghanaian and currently serves as Communications and Information Officer at the West Africa Civil Society Institute. He joined the Institute in December 2020.


Nancy is a Ghanaian and currently serves as Programme Officer in the Knowledge Management unit at the West Africa Civil Society Institute. She joined the Institute in January 2021.


Agnes is a Ghanaian and currently serves as Head of the Administration unit in the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). She joined the Institute in October 2021.


Doris holds a Bachelor of Arts in Social sciences (Economics and Sociology) from the University of Cape Coast. She is passionate about impacting young lives hence co-founded Impart Foundation. A non-profit organization which seeks to empower young lives through education, technology and entrepreneurship.


Prince Akowuah is a Ghanaian and currently the Programme Assistant in the Translation Unit at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). She joined the Institute in 2020.


Maxwell Apenteng is a Ghanaian and joined WACSI in September 2010. He provides gardening and janitorial services at the Institute.


George Adu-Mintah is a Ghanaian and currently the Protocol Assistant/Driver at the West Africa Civil Society (WACSI). He joined the Institute in October 2006.


Ibrahim Kwaku Gbadago is a Ghanaian. He joined the Institute in 2008 and provides janitorial services and assisting the institute's errands. Before joining the Institute, he worked at the Palestinian embassy in Accra, Ghana.


Ruth Yakana is from Cameroon and currently the Receptionist at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). She joined the Institute in 2020.


Bethel is a Ghanaian. He provides technical and IT related support to the Institute. He joined the Institute in October 2006.


Whitnay Segnonna holds a Bachelor’s Degree in International Management from the University of Benin. With 2 years of experience, she has a strong knowledge of organizational and project management. Combined with her bilingualism, she is very passionate about her work. She joined WACSI as Project Assistant on Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) for the Capacity Development Unit.


Stella Yawa Wowoui holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Translation Studies. She has a perfect grasp of both French and English, as well as an intermediate level in Spanish. She is currently working as a Project Assistant on the Techsoup Project.


Kwame is an experienced IT Consultant/Software Developer. He is skilled in Web Applications Development, Digital Security, Database Management, Digital Marketing and Brand Management. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Information Technology and is a Microsoft Programme Alumni. He is currently serving as a Marketing and IT Officer on the Techsoup Project.


Grace Akpene Ziggah is a Togolese and currently the Logistics Officer and also assists in administration duties at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). She joined the Institute in June 2009.


Lilian Dafeamekpor is a Ghanaian and currently the Assistant to the Executive Director at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). She joined the Institute in 2020.


John P. Frinjuah has expertise and interests in civil society, international development, democracy and governance, conflict, crisis, and security. He has extensive experience working with civil society and international development organizations where he supported and managed research, programmes, and provided technical assistance on a variety of themes around public policy, governance, and development. He is an alumnus of the University of Ghana and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy - Tufts University in the United States, with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from two institutions respectively. John speaks English, French and several Ghanaian and regional West Africa languages.


Gervin has extensive international development experience, including 5 years of policy advocacy and capacity building of grass root organisations. He has implemented over the years a combination of agriculture value chain, livelihood, food security and governance and rights programmes.
Prior to joining WACSI, Gervin worked on two USAID projects focusing on agriculture value chain development and governance in northern Ghana
Gervin holds a master’s degree in development & Governance from the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany as well as a Masters in Global Studies from the Universities of Vienna (Austria), Leipzig (Germany) and California (Santa Barbara), USA. He is passionate social justice and inclusion.


Leandre Banon, Beninese, joined WACSI in September 2014 as Capacity Development Programme Assistant. Since then, he has worked in various units within the Institute to support operational and institutional capacity strengthening programmes for civil society in the region. Currently serving as Capacity Development Programme Officer at WACSI, his main responsibilities involve designing, planning, implementing and monitoring capacity development programmes for civil society constituents and grouping across the West Africa. Leandre is a certified Change the Game Academy Programme Trainer. His background lies in the areas of economics and development planning.


Samuel Appiah is a Ghanaian and currently the Programme Officer in the Finance and Administrative Unit at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). He joined the Institute in May, 2016.


Jimm Chick Fomunjong, Cameroonian, joined WACSI in May 2018 as the Head of the Knowledge Management and Communication Units of the Institute. He has over ten years’ experience as a journalist and a development communications expert. He has a vast experience in supporting African organisations to strengthen their internal and external communications, building and sustaining relationships with the media and, leveraging on the power of social media to promote their mission. He is also excellent at supporting organisations to set up and operationalise functional communications and knowledge management systems. He has a deep passion and expertise in supporting Africans and African civil society organisations to document their praxis, share and learn from experiences documented from the African civil society sector.


Franck Sombo is a development practitioner with the drive to lead self and others to influence productivity and efficiency. His work involves supporting organisations to develop strategic plans, design monitoring and evaluation systems, develop and use relevant performance measurement tools to track progress, assess organizational growth and institutionalise learning. Franck has eight years of experience working with WACSI where he currently serves as the Head, Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning. His academic qualifications include Masters in Organisations’ and Projects’ Management, and in Business Sciences and a High National Diploma in Finance and Accounting.

Franck is a Fellow of the International Program for Development Evaluation Training (IPDET) and a graduate of the Graduate Training Institute (GTI) - Ghana with specialization in Strategic Management and Corporate Leadership. He has a rich experience in Project Management, Capacity Development, Strategic planning, Data Analytics, Monitoring and Evaluation, Training and Facilitation, Mentoring and Coaching among others.


Omolara is a development practitioner and advocacy strategist with over 15 years of progressive experience in development programming targeted at strengthening civil society in West Africa.

She joined WACSI in November 2009 as a Regional Advocacy Consultant and later became the first Policy Advocacy Officer of the Institute in 2010.

She was promoted to Head of the Policy Influencing and Advocacy (PIA) Unit in 2015. As the Head of the PIA unit, Omolara offers strategic direction to the Institutes’ ambitions to connect and convene groups of organised and organic civil society actors; and influence regional and global discourses on crosscutting policy issues including—civil society regulations, sustainable development goals, civic space and enabling environment, aid effectiveness, gender equality, and civil society accountability.

Previously, Omolara served as a Programmes Associate with the Women in Peace and Security Network-Africa (WIPSEN-Africa), where she worked with her team to design and implement pan-African programmes on—multidimensional peace support operations and gender mainstreaming in security sector reform in Ghana, Sierra Leone, and Liberia.

She also served as a Service Development Marshal at TVQ Consulting Group, a customer service firm focused on designing strategic customer relationship and business growth plans for private and public financial institutions in Nigeria.

Omolara is a social justice advocate, a network weaver, and a convener. She has a postgraduate degree in Peace and Conflict Studies; a degree in International Relations and History, from the University of Ibadan and Obafemi Awolowo University in Nigeria respectively.

She also holds executive certificates in Behavioral Science in Public Policy from Harvard University Executive Education in Cambridge and in Citizen Advocacy from the Coady International Institute, St Francis Xavier University in Canada.


Kwabena Kroduah is a Ghanaian and currently heads the Finance Unit at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). He joined the Institute in January 2008.


Charles currently serves as the Head of the Capacity Development Unit at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). Charles has over 10 years of experience working in international development and social justice issues in Africa. Charles has expertise in strengthening civil society and public agencies including the design and implementation of governance and leadership programmes, development of knowledge pieces and policy advice. Charles was the founding Board Chair of Innovation for Change (i4C)-Hub Afrique, as well as the founding member of the International Consortium on Closing Civic Space (iCon), an initiative of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington DC. Charles currently serves as the Member of the Governing Board (Coordination Collective) of Africans Rising. He is a Member of the Development Studies Association, United Kingdom. Charles is a 2017 Stanford University Fellow for Nonprofit Leaders and a certified Change the Game Resource Mobilisation Trainer.


Nana Afadzinu is a Ghanaian and currently serves as the Executive Director of the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). She joined the Institute in October 2010.