Bringing Knowledge Home: Abdul Ada's Journey to Inspire Mozambican Youth on Climate Change and Sustainability

June 12, 2024

Abdul Ada

Abdul Ada, a PhD student, is returning to his roots in Mozambique next spring with an inspiring mission. He will lead a transformative workshop to educate local teenagers on the impacts of climate change on marine communities while encouraging them to pursue their educational aspirations. Growing up on Inhaca Island, a community heavily reliant on fishing and tourism, his journey will become full circle as he collaborates on this international project to foster youth leadership and sustainable development.

"It's very exciting for me," said Ada. "It's something I've been thinking about for a very long time because one of my goals was to get a scholarship and now I can bring all this knowledge back home."

The workshop is called Bengo: Empowering Mozambican Youth to Explore Climate Change, Community Biodiversity and Environmental Sustainability and is funded by GlobalTiesUS through the Department of State. Ada will be working alongside Rachael Hilderbrand, a Peace Corps Volunteer he met in Mozambique. Hilderbrand now helps with international projects that focus on youth leadership, community development and sustainable growth. The goal of Bengo is to help a select group of local high school students learn about the challenges of climate change. They will also discover opportunities in ecotourism and environmental conservation. The students will also visit the marine lab to see how experiments are designed and learn about ongoing research.

Ada will lead the activities in both Portuguese and XiChangana, the local language. This will make it easier for everyone to understand and participate.


"Seeing somebody that is actually here from Inhaca and can speak the native language can help break those barriers as well," said Ada. "The world is very challenging in a lot of places but there are also some opportunities that if people continue to put in the effort, they can make small changes and help others. If you would have told me 15 years ago that I was going to be in the U.S., I would have told you that you are crazy. I believe we can make a small effort to help people with dreams realize that their dreams can grow and we can help be a bridge for their future."

Ada is a dedicated member of the Hellberg Lab, working closely with Michael Hellberg, PhD. Under Hellberg's mentorship, Ada has developed an understanding of the complex interactions within marine communities and the need for sustainable solutions.

"Sometimes when you're doing your job as a professor, you have paperwork and grading and things that aren't the reason you got into the job," said Hellberg. "Then you have a really enthusiastic student like Abdul, where you can talk about the exciting things that reminds you of why you got into it."

As Ada returns to Mozambique, he aims to educate and inspire by showing the youth of Inhaca Island that dreams can come true with hard work and determination. He hopes to ignite a spark that will lead to positive change in his hometown. To follow the progress of Bengo and learn more about its impact, visit the Project's Facebook Page.