Alfred Fornah: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 14 January 2019:
Over sixty excited pupils and teachers from 10 education institutions and schools across the Western Rural District of Freetown, Sierra Leone, attended last Saturday’s launch of an innovative school’s environmental management and reforestation project at the Freetown Teacher’s College.
The project has been jointly developed by a partnership involving the Sierra Leone School Green Club and the Society for Climate Change Communication, and is funded by the Sierra Leone Poverty Alleviation Charitable Trust (SALPACT) – a registered charity based in the UK – founded and chaired by Mr Abdul Rashid Thomas.
The Schools Climate Change Mitigation and Farming project will tackle climate change and deforestation, and nurture the next generation of sustainability champions and farmers.
It will also develop the skills of pupils, promote environmentally friendly lifestyles so that pupils can help protect the environment and mitigate the impact of climate change.
When completed, the project will have established ten School Green Clubs in the western rural district, with each club comprising of fifty pupils. Also, each participating school will put in place a fully operational waste management system, and have an orchard where economical trees will be grown.
The sixty pupils and teachers who attended the launch came from the Rising Academy, Joy, REC, May Ford, Kelly’s Rural Secondary Schools, FTC Practising School, Jui and Portee Vocational Institutes and Eldest Academy.
Kicking off the event with a welcome for the pupils and teachers, Mr Foday Amadu Mannah said: “Climate Change is a global problem and Sierra Leone is not immune, the Regent mudslide is a testament of this. We must put our collective efforts to the fight against climate change.”
The event was facilitated by Mr Foday Kamara – a Lecturer and Mr Daniel Conteh – an Agriculture and Environmental specialist.
In the third most vulnerable country to Climate Change, pupils were enthusiastically engaged at the workshops on global warming, climate change and pollution.
The most popular suggestions and priorities mentioned by the children at the workshops, were – stop deforestation, helping forest families change the way they make money, clean and cheap energy, minimise mining and implement existing by-laws.
Workshop facilitator – Mr Daniel Conteh, announced that there will be prices for the Best Green Clubs and the ten participating educational establishments will form the Western Rural District pilot for the Green Club network, with each school committing to take ownership of their own project to ensure success.
Young Diplomat for Nutrition and promoting the SDGs and head of SLSGC, Alhassan Sesay said: “Now we can start the essential one-to-one support with each school to build a self-sustaining network in the Western Rural District of 10 Green Clubs with approximately 50 pupils in each club to raise awareness about climate change amongst our youth and their parents and create an action-orientated approach to adaptation.”
Alfred Fornah, Young Diplomat for Climate Action and promoting the SDGs and Director of S4CCC, explained: “This pilot helps put the sustainable development goals at the heart of education for our youth – if we’re successful we will work with other environmental organisations in each District to create a nationwide-network of Green Clubs in our schools rapidly transforming youth’s mind-set nurturing the next generation of environmental and sustainability champions.”
The collaborative capacity building project aims to improve environmental awareness and governance in schools, using participatory approaches that bring together stakeholders to share experience on climate change mitigation and adaptation and will also develop the skills of pupils and promote environmental friendly lifestyles so that pupils can protect their environment and mitigate the impact of climate change.
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I am very pleased seeing all the developments towards our country. This is the best way to enlighten the whole country that there are other ways for developments. I am also pleased with the work you are doing to bring together school students to care about their country.
I do hope this development will not end in the Western District and that it will spread to all parts of the country, especially primary school students. Thanks for starting this project.