Her Podcast Is Amplifying African Voices on Climate Change, Locally and Globally
When Pato Kelesitse saw how much a drought impacted her Botswanian home in Gaborone, she was inspired to become a climate change activist. Kelesitse is the founder of Sustain267 and the host of Sustain267 Podcast. On her podcast, she discusses issues affecting the environment and gender equity.
“The Gaborone Dam, which is our main water source, was nearly empty, leading to extreme water rationing,” she tells CircleAround. Then the more I found out about the effects of climate change on my family, country, and region, the more I felt compelled to address the climate crisis.”
Kelesitse began her podcast to amplify African voices and share her growing knowledge of the impacts of climate change, locally and globally. Today, the podcast is a self-sustaining initiative funded via a Patreon page, allowing Kelesitse to connect with listeners and provide content without restrictions.
Previously, Kelesitse was part of #CleanUpBW, a monthly clean-up project involving different communities in Greater-Gaborone Botswana. “The clean-ups are done in partnership with Global Shapers Gaborone Hub,” she explains. “This has been one of my favorite projects because of the interactions [with people in the community], and how much we learn about keeping our living spaces clean. It also taught me a lot in terms of different solutions that are best suited to different places, even within the same community.”
Hopefully, this will lead to changes in policies and more climate action.
An active community member, Kelesitse had to cancel all her physical initiatives once the pandemic hit. “It's made me embrace the power of tech more and its ability to [have] wider reach geographically,” she tells CircleAround. “Actually knowing people listen to [the podcast] and engage affirms that there is a need for it, and an appetite for African content and voices around environmental matters.”
But Kelesitse knows not everyone has access to the Internet. “It is rather expensive to access tools online,” she says. “Some of the people who we worked with on activities like clean-ups, we will not be able to reach, which is unfortunate.”
Kelesitse says that the exclusion of young Africans "except to be tokenized” is a particular struggle. “We constantly get requests to sit on panels for exposure, without the same organizations supporting the work we do in any substantial way.
As she works to create more inclusive opportunities, she appreciates hearing others talk about climate change, and ask her about issues she didn't know existed. “That expression of interest is affirming that there is an impact from the work we do in terms of advocacy,” she tells CircleAround. “Hopefully, this will lead to changes in policies and more climate action.”