On Thursday, October 31st, 2019, in cooperation with a dedicated team of environmentalists (Serge Senga Hategekimana, Emmanuel Sindikubwabo and Jean Felix Mihigo) the Academy took place at Collège Saint André, Nyarugenge District in City of Kigali. 82 participants were present and we planted 22 trees. The school provided space to plant the trees. In the mornig all children were gathered for the upcoming Academy at the afforementioned school.
Collège Saint André is a catholic and boarding school that has secondary education, means ordinary and advanced levels. The Academy aimed 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.
The Academy was organized to raise the awareness of the youth and children on climate and environment issues. Motivating them to start early, acting as environment actors as well as planting trees as a pledge to conserve and protect the environment was the goal of the day. In cooperation with the leadership of Collège Saint André, the team carried out the activities of the Academy with all 82 students. Also some of the school authorities joined us from the beginning to the end and altogether we made the Academy a success.
After a welcome note from the head teacher of the school, the children performed a cheerful song to welcome the Plant-for-the-Planet team and we played some games as an ice breaking activity. The trainings and discussions were lead by the Plant-for-the-Planet program coordinator with the inputs from the other team members: Serge, Emmanuel and Felix, who is an expert in environmental conservation and management. Using various approaches such as presentations, books, videos and other tools the kids were able to understand what the Academy is about and how they can contribute as the Climate Justice Ambassadors in fighting the climate crisis. With the new knowledge the kids are now able to share the information of what happens in their community to improve the situation and take action as Climate Justice Ambassadors.
During the Academy various techniques including games, songs and icebreaking activities were used to help them quickly and easily learn about climate crisis issues and interact with each other without fear. The children were invited to sing songs about the importance of trees, team working and pure air. The afforementioned techniques allowed them to understand complex information like CO2 emissions. All these games helped the children to come up with a comparative understanding and tangible message to the world in terms of its population, income distribution and CO2 emission.
Children were put in groups to discuss climate change 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 the children and challenged them to think about how the proper behavior of humankind can guarantee a decent world for future generations. In this section, the children learned about heavy rains and varying temperature causing erosion. Giving short presentations to each other and asking questions for clarifications in the next step helped the children to improve their presentation skills. Afterwards, children formed groups to detect the climate change issues in their surroundings and propose strategies for adaptation and mitigation. This step guided the children to figure out their own contribution towards environmental protection and conservation in general.
After the indoor sessions, the activities of the Academy proceeded with the plantation of the seedlings and a group photo before the planting activity. This step equipped the childen with all needed information on how to plant trees. It is fortunate that the school has agronomist, who guided the tree planting activity. Various trees were planted also including fruit trees. We planted 22 trees inside the school. The new gained information will help the kids to care of them and everyone aggreed to follow up on them to see if they are growing well.
The pivotal goal of a Plant-for-the-Planet Academy was reached by raising awareness amongst the children about the climate crisis and and inspiring them to take action.
The greening Academy made students learn about the culture of environmental protection and conservation at their early ages. The Academy left the school environment green and as a better, more comfortable place to study and work for the school community. Both the school and community around benefited from clean and fresh air coming out from trees planted along the school, furthermore the school harvests fruits from trees planted during academies and enjoy a happier life than before.
Generally, the Academy went well. However, there were few challenges including access to seedlings and conflicts with a fully stacked calendar with school activities.
The organizing team of the Plant-for-the-Planet Academy Kigali, Rwanda would like to thank all those involved for their help and support to make this Academy possible.
All photos taken can be downloaded here
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