Thanks to the dedicated team of environmentalists (Serge Senga Hategekimana and Jean Baptiste Turabimana ), the Academy took place at Ecole Primaire Munini on 11th of June 2019. 63 participants were graduated at The Academy in Muhanga District in Southern Province and 70 trees were planted. The catholic Ecole Primaire Munini School combines nursery and primary education. The kids were assembled at the school and are keenly waiting for the Academy to start.
Rwanda is a landlocked country located towards the eastern part of Africa a few degrees south of the equator. Mountains and hills characterize the landscape of the country which gives Rwanda a change to receive rain 8 months a year. The flora and fauna of Rwanda is threatened by the booming demography. The ecological situation caused a group of young Rwandans and me, as a Plant-for-the-Planet member and Program Coordinator, to protect the local environment and population of Rwanda by planting trees in and with the communities. In this regard the academy was organized to raise the awareness of the youth on climate and environment issues and encourage them to act early as environmentalists. Due to the cooperation with the leadership of Ecole Primaire Munini Environment Club, the Academy was led by some school staffs and me as the Program Coordinator.
During the Academy various techniques including songs and games were used to break the ice and help the kids to learn quickly and easily about climate issues and interact with each other without fear. The children were invited to sing songs about the importance of trees, team work and clean air. Fortunately there were existing environment clubs at the school to work hand in hand with, which makes the academy even more successful. The facilitators helped the children to learn new songs, allowing them to learn about CO2 emissions, as in the usual presentation. The songs helped the children to come up with a comparative understanding of the world in terms of its population, income distribution and CO2 emissions. “A tree is the only machine, which is able to convert CO2 into Oxygen” is only one fact the kids learned in the Academy.
The children were put in groups to discussed climate crisis related issues that are observable in their community and were requested to present their conclusions. In this section, children insisted on erosion, heavy rains and draughts as well as varying temperatures. The session enthusiastically motivated the children and challenged them to think of how humankind can guarantee a decent world for future generations. In the presentation part the children are able to ask questions for clarifications. They also developed solutions with each other for the aforementioned issues and committed to take the lead.
The world café was a chance for the participants to present and converse their ideas, on how they can actively face the Climate Crisis. First of all, children randomly formed small groups to discuss possible approaches to follow for mobilizing other members of the community. Afterwards groups were formed, allowing them to re-assess the Climate Crisis issues in their surroundings; propose strategies for adaptation and mitigation as well as their contribution towards environmental protection and conservation in general. 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 discourage malpractices of adults and leaders.
After the indoor sessions, the activities of the academy proceeded with the plantation of the saplings. Some school staff who was present said that every child has to care for his/her trees planted, at his/her time at the school. These are the words of one of the teachers who wanted each participant to regularly visit their trees and ensure they lack nothing and grow to serve the purpose. Various trees were planted including fruit trees and ordinal trees. Overall we planted 70 trees
The closure of the Academy was marked by awarding certificates to 63 children who subsequently were declared Climate Justice Ambassadors and given the responsibility to spread the word and pledged to conserve the environment.
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 through Academies by the year 2020. I remain convinced that the training provides them advanced knowledge to carry out necessary courses and presentations on climate change issues at all levels from schools to communities as well as the entire country.
Do you want to become a Climate Justice Ambassador? Enrol now for the next Academy in your area!
You can find photos of the Academy here.Back