Three Plant-for-the-Planet Academies took place in the Far North Region of Cameroon in three different towns.
The first Academy took place on November 9, 2018 in Maroua. 50 children from four different schools were keenly waiting for the Academy to start. The event was free-of-charge for all the attending children, aged from 12 to 14.
Maroua is the capital of the Far North Region and is located in the basin of Lake Chad. Due to climate change and additional threads, Lake Chad lost most of its water. This is a serious thread for the local communities. Rising temperatures, for example 46 degrees in March, make it difficult for students to concentrate. Unfortunately, the Ministry of Education's infrastructure does not provide resting areas at schools. So the schools need trees to get shadow places.
The second Academy took place in the Minawao refugee camp, the second biggest camp in Africa. All of the surrounding trees have been cut down for firewood since 2013, so 68 000 refugees are living without proper hobs.
The third Academy began with some welcoming words of Tandjonf Frank, the Program Coordinator of Plant-for-the-Planet, and Kodki Ezechiel, representative of the NGO The Lutheran World Federation, working on environnemental awareness and nature conservation in the Far North of Cameroon. Then the full attention of the children turned to the presentation “Now we children save the world!” given by Nono Wambo. Complex topics, such as sources of CO2, global warming, photosynthesis, the climate crisis and global justice were presented in a suitable way for children. After the presentation, the participants had the chance to clarify their questions.
The main question was, how they can fight for a sustainable future. The Program Coordinator responded, that it will be important to support existing structures at schools as well as forming groups in order to coordinate each other.
For the following part, the children were divided into 5 small groups, to learn about global distribution and global justice in the so-called “World Game”. The children distributed playing figures, sweets, and balloons among the continents displayed on the world map. The three tokens 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 5 per cent of the population lives in North America, they possess almost 30 per cent of the world income and emit 20 per cent of CO2 emissions. Therefore the children redistributed the tokens, 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. A small training on how to present photos with PowerPoint was given by the Program Coordinator. The school’s principal promised the students to allow them access to the computer hall for research about the protection of nature.
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 30 three at the three Academies.
Back to the training hall, a small group practised 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 on 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.
Two different “nature-friendly clubs” were set up and rehabilitated according to the standard of the ministry of civic education. The program manager will follow them on a monthly basis to accompany their involvement.
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 Climate Justice Ambassadors 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 The Lutheran World Federation, and due to the team of local organizers. Special thanks go to the Plant-for-the-Planet Program Coordinator Tandjong Foppa Frank and also to M. Kodji Ezechiel, Luc Pemha and Kokoo Achille.
A huge thanks to all the helpers around the venue, technology, food and tree planting event. Without their support, the Academies would not have been possible.
Do you want to become a Climate Justice Ambassador? Enrol now for the next Academy in your Area here!