Interview with Ayshka Najib: Being Young and Engaging in Climate Advocacy

6 October 2023

Ayshka Najib is a twenty-year-old activist working for climate justice in the United Arab Emirates. She collaborates with Fridays for Future Mapa, an organization that operates in areas most affected by climate change. She serves as the youth representative for UNICEF in the United Arab Emirates and also works with UN Women and Generation Equality as the head of the Feminist Action for Climate Justice coalition.


  • How did you become engaged in these issues?

My activism journey began when I was fifteen years old. After becoming aware of the climate crisis, I was determined to do something for my community. When I was staying in India with my grandmother, my hometown was hit by one of the worst floods. I witnessed firsthand the devastation and the nightmare of evacuating our city. That’s when I realized the magnitude of the problem. We needed to organize politically to transform the system and take climate action across all sectors and at all levels, from local to global.


  • What are your future ambitions?

My ambition is to create a space for young people who are mobilizing and advocating for climate action. We need to come together and exert pressure on policymakers to become co-creators and co-leaders of climate justice programs and activities implemented in our country.


  • How do you plan to achieve these ambitions?

I believe this ambition can be realized by working with key decision-makers to implement a climate change education program in all schools, providing young people with the tools to shape climate change policies.


  • What challenges do you face as a young female activist in this field?

Of all the global philanthropic funds dedicated to climate, less than 0.76% goes to youth-led climate movements, and only 0.01% is allocated to addressing climate change and gender equality. This is one of the greatest challenges because we find it extremely difficult to support our movements and expand our work. We feel that we continue to be exploited for our expertise and lived experiences.

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