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First Plant-for-the-Planet Academy in Naki-Est, Togo

22.02.2017

The first academy in Naki-Est college took place on January, 20th 2017. 80 children from 10 different schools were keenly waiting for the academy to start. The event was free-of-charge for all the attending children, aged from 8 to 12 years old.

The academy began with some welcoming words of Mr. Kolani, the headmaster of the school. Then the full attention of the children turned to the presentation “Now we children save the world!” given by Mr. Derrick Gbesso. Complex topics, such as sources of CO2, global warming, photosynthesis, the climate crisis and global justice were presented in a suitable way for children – and nobody could be better for that task than a child of the same age as Mr. Derrick Gbesso. After the presentation, the participants had the chance to clarify their questions.

For the following part the children were divided into small groups, to learn about global distribution and global justice in the so called “World Game”. The children distributed tokens, sweets and balloons among the continents displayed on the world map. The three playing figures symbolize the world’s population, wealth and CO2 emissions respectively. After seeing the real life distribution of these resources, all children agreed that the distribution was unjust. Although only 0.5 percent of the population lives in North America, they possess almost 30 percent of the world income and emit 20 percent of CO2 emissions. Therefore the children redistributed the sweets and balloons, in order to visualize how a fair distribution would look like and to keep in mind that everyone should have equal rights.

In order to take action and speak up for their future, the children need good presentation and speaking skills. Therefore the participants prepared and presented short passages from the opening presentation they had listened to in the morning. They gave each other feedback on how to improve their presentations in the future.

After a short lunch break, the children had the opportunity to take action for their future right away: They went to plant trees! In addition, they received information on how to plant trees, when to plant them and how to take care of them. In return, the participants were able to show off their newly gained knowledge about the role and importance of trees. In total they planted 200 trees species. The children finished the planting event with a magnificent Stop Talking, Start Planting battle cry!

Back into the classroom a small group practiced the final presentation for the evening event and the rest of the children started the World Café. During this activity the participants were collecting ideas to the questions how to get the attention of the media, how to motivate adults, friends and classmates and how to organize a planting party. Afterwards the children gathered in their school groups and planned their own project, which they would want to implement after the academy.

At the end of the day, family, friends and guests arrived for the evening event. The children proudly presented the prepared presentation and their ideas from the World Café.
An interesting day had come to an end. Apart from the experience and newly found knowledge, all participants were appointed as Ambassadors for Climate Justice and received a certificate, a Plant-for-the-Planet T-shirt and the book ‘Tree-by-Tree’.  Organizers and guests were very impressed by the performance of the children.

The academy was made possible thanks to the commitment of NGO Jeunes Verts - Togo and due to the team of local organizers. Special thanks go to the Plant-for-the-Planet Programme Coordinator Mr. Esso-kl’nam Pedessi and also to Mr. Essodjéliouna Erewa, project coordinator, and Mr. Eli Kolani the headmaster of the school. A huge thanks to all the helpers around the venue, technology, food and tree planting event. Without their support the academy would not have been possible.

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