On Wednesday the 12th of June 2019, together with dedicated team of environmentalists (Serge Senga Hategekimana, Emmanuel Sindikubwabo and Jean Baptiste Turabimana) we did an Academy at Groupe Scholaire Karama, Nyarugenge District in Kigali City. With 67 participants we planted 18 trees together with the schools supports.
Groupe Scholaire Karama is a public school that has primary and secondary education. It provides 9 years of basic education, a governmental program to bring education for all. The Academy aims at widening the worldwide network of climate ambassadors by including children and youth dedicated to fight and mitigate the climate change by acting as “Climate Justice Ambassadors”.
Rwanda is a landlocked African country located near the equator towards the eastern part of Africa. The landscape of the country is filled with mountains and hills which give Rwanda a chance to receive rain 8 months a year. The vegetation of Rwanda is under the pressure of booming demography and the habit that threatens flora and fauna. Following this ecological situation, a group of young Rwandans and as the "Plant-For-The-Planet" program coordinator and "Plant-For-The-Planet" Initiative board member are committed to protect and promote the plans of Rwanda through reforestation, tree planting in communities and through doing something that can help humankind and biodiversity live in a healthy environment. Therefore, Wednesday 12th of June 2019, an academy was organized to promote the awareness of youth and children on climate and environmental issues and entice them to start acting early as environmental actors.
Moreover, there was support from other people such as teachers or private nursery agents who facilitated the acquisition of seedlings that were planted. Altogether, the academy was a success. After a welcome note from the head teacher of the school, children performed a cheerful song to welcome the team of “Plant-for-the-Planet”. The trainings and discussions were lead by the “Plant-For-The-Planet” program coordinator with the input from Serge and Jean Baptiste. Using various approaches such as PowerPoint, books, video and other tools received from the “Plant-For-The-Planet” Foundation, children got the chance to read books and brochures they received but also share their knowledge about what happens in their community and subsequently commit to contribute their role to improve the situation.
During the Academy, various techniques including songs and games were used to help the children get familiar quickly and easily learn about climate issues and interact with each other. Children were invited to sing songs about the importance of trees, team working and clean air. It´s very fortunate that there was an existing Environment Club at the school which we worked hand in hand with, to make the Academy more successful. The facilitators also helped the children to learn new songs that allowed them to know about CO2 emission, as it is in the “Plant-For-The-Planet” PowerPoint presentation. All these songs helped children to come up with a comparative understanding and tangible message to the world in terms of its population, income distribution (earns of plants) and CO2 emission. For instance, during this Academy, children learned that highly populated parts of the world are less privileged in terms of economy, however represent a high level of CO2 emission.
Children were put in 8 groups made of 8-10 children to discuss climate crisis related issues that are observable in their community. They were also asked to explain how trees can participate to resolve those issues at school or in their homes and communities. This session enthusiastically motivated children and challenged them to think about the proper behavior of humankind which can guarantee a decent world for future generations. In this section, children commented on erosion, heavy rains and draught and varying temperature. As children did presentations and asked questions for clarifications, they got an opportunity to nurture and practice presentation skills. They also learned to propose answers to identify issues and committ to take the lead.
The World café was a chance for the participants to converse and present their ideas, on how they can actively face the climate crisis mitigation. The World Café was a chance to let children know that no matter how young they are, they can still convey the message to adults, advocate for our mother planet, plant trees and as well discourage malpractices of adults and leaders.
As the pivotal goal of a Plant-for-the-Planet Academy is to raise awareness amongst the children about the climate crisis and to inspire them to take action. We are still working on the same goal to empower 5 thousand children as “Climate Justice Ambassadors” in Rwanda
After indoor sessions, the activities of the academy proceeded with the plantation of the seedlings. This was a chance especially for children to plant trees and show their motivation. All in all, we were able to plant around 18 trees.
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