Marthe Bénédicte Kra Akissi
Union: SYNAPPCI, Ivory Coast
What do you do when you feel your job has lost its value? You join a union! This is why Akissi joined hers. With rising threats to jobs, working conditions and social benefits, the only possible answer to the crisis was mutual aid and solidarity. “Joining the union has allowed me to be at the heart of the daily realities of media men and women. To benefit from the support of fellow trade unionists but also to put myself at the service of others in order to give weight to the voice of the employees”.
She is an activist by nature. Not only does she fight in the union for workers’ rights, but she is leaving her mark in the protection of the environment. She upcycles clothes!
“The idea of upcycling clothes was born out of a personal observation that we tend to throw everything we think is damaged in the trash without thinking of how this affects the environment. If we could add value to these used objects or products, we could give them a new life. Upcycling allows us to reuse so we avoid creating a new product, saving energy and raw materials, as well as reducing our production of waste.” A great idea if you take into consideration that the fashion industry produces 10% of all of humanity's carbon emissions and is the second largest consumer of water in the world, whilst polluting the oceans with microplastics and chemicals.
For Akissi, young people need to be actively involved in environmental issues. “Environmental issues are part of sustainable development goals. And these goals are also an intergenerational issue. They cannot be achieved without the mobilization and involvement of young people. Especially since the world today has the largest number of young people in its history, with a quarter of the world population under 24”
And how can unions help? They can help with training and learning programs about protecting the environment, adopting environmentally friendly actions and work to fight the waste of resources, supporting other organizations in the protection of the environment and negotiating clauses in collective agreements that promote sustainable and environmentally friendly policies.
Young environmental activists like Akissi are an example of what mobilizes our young workers: a deep passion for a better world for all.