In the semi-arid region of Namibia where Borduas Gambadatoun lives and works in agriculture, climate change has created vicious cycles of drought, harvest loss, and unstable markets.
A native of Benin, the 26-year-old is currently volunteering in the southern African country as an assistant agriculture trainer, helping communities adopt sustainable farming practices.
Climate change has led to more volatile weather, with Borduas and his community experiencing much colder winters and extremely hot summers. The extreme weather has shortened the duration of the region’s two rainy seasons, leaving farmers with inadequate water for their crops.
Consequently, Borduas and others in his community are relying on groundwater for irrigation. But the pumping equipment is prohibitively expensive, which few farmers can afford. Insufficient water has reduced the size of harvests, creating more volatility in local food markets.
Longer term, continuous use of groundwater can lead to the depletion of groundwater levels and ultimately accelerate land degradation.
To arrive at a climate smart solution, Borduas brought his community together.
“Because water is our main problem, we decided to start a community garden instead of backyard gardens, to save water,” Borduas said.
The community garden promotes a more efficient use of scarce water resources – meaning Borduas and his neighbors can look to a more climate resilient future.
He sees climate action as an effort belonging to all age groups. As Borduas put it, “Elders have the knowledge; youth have the energy.”
“This is where we the youth come in with our energy, to march and use different platforms to make people aware of the injustice of climate change,” he added.