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First Plant-for-the-Planet Academy in Kumba, Cameroon

14.12.2016

This academy took place at the Diligent Bilingual School (DBS), Buea Road, Kumba – South West Region of Cameroon. Participants started occupying their seats at 8:30 Am. Altogether 88 children from 5 schools (Diligent Bilingual School, Our Lady’s Bilingual, TEEM Foundation, Saint Anthony Bilingual, Hope Bilingual) were able to attend the Academy as arranged.

This academy could not take place without the supports from
- Plant-for-the-Planet Foundation: that offered free materials such as books, tshirts and certificates for children involved in the training.
- Dilegent Foundation: that provided a venue where the academy took place. This foundation put in our disposal the school hall of the Diligent Bilingual School.
- GERAS Cameroon: that put in our disposal many facilitators such as Kwalar Glory and Ngong Ivo who were so resourceful during the training and the tree planting exercise. We also appreciate the commitment and leadership of the Plant-for-the-Planet Programme Coordinator Bertheline Nina Tchangoue, who led the whole facilitation team from the beginning to the end to make sure everything is in place for the training. Let's give a hand of applause to Ndzishepngong Kelvin Ngwang, the coordinator of GERAS Cameroon who was designated as the moderator of this training by Nina, the team leader. He was so exceptional. We really appreciated the presence of all accompanying teachers who came to encourage their pupils during the training and also, we had in total 11 parents who took part in the training. That was so encouraging. We will like to end this list of supporters by thanking chief Ndo Oscar Obase, the community leader who showed a genuine support to the initiative by going to an extend of planting a tree. We send him a very big thank you.

After a brief welcome and self introduction, the full attention of the children turned to the presentation of “Now We Children Save the World” with a focus on "The Climate Crises", which was given by Kelvin. The presentation covered: sources of CO2, global warming, photosynthesis, and global justice. These topics were presented in a way suitable for children of the same age. In the subsequent question and answer session, the children had the opportunity to eliminate any ambiguities they may still have had.

A break was given to allow the participating children read the “Tree by Tree” textbook published by Felix and Friends. Then, the children were given a chance to come forward and present what they have learnt from the textbook. We were amazed by the presentations of the children about Felix’s first presentation, the amazing works of Wangari Maathai, the difference between weather and climate, and how Plant for the Planet came about. An exchange followed where young people had the chance to ask questions to their peers on what they have presented and it led to more clarifications from the facilitators. There was also a summary of the most important aspects of the “Tree by Tree” textbook. This was done by Glory, with the full participation of the children.

This was followed by a lunch break where children, their parents and teachers had to refresh their souls in order to be able to continue the workshop with the same spirit. After the launch break, Kelvin gave a presentation about Plant-for-the-Planet. This presentation included the history, mission and vision, and the achievements and networks of Plant for the Planet. A session was delivered on why we should plant trees, with focus on its climate change mitigation effect. Children understood that trees have the capacity to absorb carbon dioxide which is a greenhouse gas from the atmosphere during the manufacture of food through the process of photosynthesis, during which oxygen is sent out to purify the atmosphere. With the knowledge gained, the children took a pledge to plant many trees in order to ensure climate justice. This was followed by the award of certificates.

With this encouragement, the children relocated to the schoolyard to plant their own trees! Before the planting commenced, the children listened intently to the tree planting advice by Ivo. Ivo explained how to plant trees, and also showed the children how to care for them to make sure they survive, and thereby absorb as much CO2 as possible. A forester dug the holes and the children placed the trees in the preprepared holes. 30 trees were planted in the campus of Diligent Bilingual School. Interviews were conducted, while group pictures and videos were shot to memorize the event. Participating children shut the mouths of their teachers and parents to symbolize the slogan “Stop Talking. Start Planting”. Everyone left the event satisfied with the knowledge shared. Parents were exceptionally grateful with the knowledge and logistics benefited by their children.

It should be noted that 20 trees were planted at GBPS Kosalla which is also a participating school ocated at the outskirts of Kumba, while 10 trees were planted at GS Kake, also located at the outskirts of Kumba. Worth noting was the participation of the traditional chief of the Kake community, his Majesty Ndo Oscar Obase as an example of community support for the project. He promised to allocate space in his community for future tree planting events. Up to date, 88 Ambassadors received training, 60 trees are already planted (out of 100), 11 parents and teachers from participating schools attended the workshop, while a traditional chief supported the event. More trees are still to be planted in two more localities before this month of July ends.

More activities will be programmed during school periods to ensure 100% success.

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