Climate Advocacy in Action: Steve Misati’s Journey
By Cidee Despi
In a world facing environmental challenges, individuals like Steve Misati emerge as beacons of hope, leading the charge for marine conservation and climate justice. Hailing from Mombasa, Kenya, Steve is not just a dedicated Marine Conservationist but also a fervent Climate Justice Advocate and Environmental Defender. His tireless efforts revolve around fostering meaningful youth engagement and driving positive environmental change. In this feature, we delve into Steve’s remarkable journey, his impactful projects, and the transformative role of capacity-building programs in shaping his mission.
Steve Misati: A Force for Environmental Change
Meet Steve Misati, a Marine Conservationist, Climate Justice Advocate, and Environmental Defender. His journey towards becoming an advocate for the environment was fueled by a deep connection to the coastal landscapes of Kenya. Spending half of his life in these mesmerizing surroundings made him acutely aware of the delicate balance of marine ecosystems, particularly mangroves. These intimate experiences propelled Steve’s determination to protect these ecosystems and amplify the voices of those most affected by climate change. He views his advocacy as a bridge between environmental concerns and social inequalities, believing that community-driven actions are potent tools for lasting ecological transformation.
Mangrove Eco-Restoration: A Vision of Hope
One of Steve’s most significant initiatives is the Mangrove Eco-Restoration project. This project aims to conserve and restore degraded mangrove ecosystems along the Kenyan coast. It’s not just about environmental preservation; it’s about creating alternative sustainable sources of livelihood for coastal communities.
The project was born out of a pressing need to combat the escalating deforestation of mangrove populations by local communities living adjacent to them. The consequences were dire – loss of natural barriers against ocean floods, which led to damage and loss on the mainland. Mangroves, with their intricate root systems, act as natural buffers, protecting against soil erosion, which can devastate coral reefs and sea banks used for marine sources reproduction. Moreover, they provide a shield against storm surges, windstorms, and flooding, protecting coastal communities and lives.
The EXCELerator: A Turning Point
Steve’s journey took an exciting turn when he was invited to participate in the EXCELerator program, a product of CoalitionWILD’s partner organization, The Iris Project. This opportunity was presented to him as a winner of the 2022 Iris Prize, aligning perfectly with his commitment to conservation and learning. The EXCELerator program became a pivotal experience for Steve. It served as a dual-propellant, igniting transformation not only for his project but also for him personally. The program honed his strategic planning, problem-solving skills, and overall project effectiveness. Moreover, it emphasized personal growth, nurturing his communication abilities, leadership skills, and self-awareness.
Beyond skill-building, the EXCELerator program connected Steve with a network of like-minded peers and mentors. This collaboration continues to enrich his work, making him a more resilient, adept, and connected advocate for marine conservation.
The Significance of Capacity-Building Programs for Youth
Steve Misati strongly advocates for capacity-building programs for the youth. These programs play a vital role in fostering resilience, innovation, and sustainable progress. By equipping young individuals with the skills, knowledge, and experiences needed to address contemporary challenges, they become catalysts for positive change. Steve echoes Kailash Satyarthi’s sentiment that the power of youth is a commonwealth for the world, making youth development a critical investment for building a more inclusive and prosperous future.
Achievements and Learnings
Through the EXCELerator program, Steve acquired essential skills that significantly boosted his project’s impact. Notably, he learned how to create detailed and captivating project proposals and budgets. These skills have allowed him to secure more funding for his project’s expansion and attracted collaboration from other organizations. Additionally, a key lesson from the program’s “Public Speaking, Developing your Pitch and Communicating your Message” webinar underscored the importance of confidence and determination in making dreams come true.
The Vision for the Future
Steve’s vision for the future is straightforward but powerful. He envisions more land covered with vegetation, not only along the coast but also in the mainland. He hopes to see more trees planted, more youth engaged, and more conservation and climate awareness shared. Through his work, he believes that he can make these changes one step at a time.
With the capacity-building programs behind him, Steve plans to apply the skills he gained to expand his project’s reach. He aims to approach more organizations and individuals for collaboration in his conservation efforts. Moreover, he intends to educate more youth on skills like planning, project management, and implementation, believing that empowering young people with these soft skills will lead to positive impacts on the environment and communities.
Steve Misati’s journey exemplifies the transformative power of dedication and capacity-building programs. His work in marine conservation and climate justice serves as an inspiring example of how one individual can make a significant impact on their environment and society. As he continues to shape a more sustainable and equitable future, Steve’s dedication to conservation is a reminder that collective efforts and education can drive positive change for the planet we all share.