The fourth Academy in Gambia took place on July 20th, 2019 at the St Augustine’s high school hall. 62 children from 7 different schools were keenly waiting for the academy to start. The event was free-of-charge for all the attending children, aged from 10 to 12. The students started by introducing themselves. Teacher coordinators was equally present throughout the training.
This Academy was made possible thanks to the support of the Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, the Gambia and to the team of local organisers. Special thanks goes to the Plant-for-the-Planet Programme Coordinator Fatou Jeng and also to the Youth Councillor of Banjul, members of the Banjul youth committee ( Sulayman Njie and Amadou Wurry Jallow), Maimuna Jabbie from GreenUp Gambia and Ms. Fatou Camara.
The Academy then procceded with welcoming words by Fatou Jeng. Then the full attention of the children turned to the presentation “Now we children save the world!” given by three Climate Justice Ambassador and Ms Maimuna Jabbie from GreenUp Gambia. 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, there was a question and answer session.
For the following part, the children were divided into small groups, to learn about global distribution and global justice in the so called “World Game”. The children distributed sweets, air balloons and playing figures among the continents. 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 percent of the population live in Northamerica, they possess almost 30 percent of the world income and emit 20 percent of CO2 emissions. Therefore the children redistributed the sweets 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 particpiants 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 public speaking training was done by Ms Fatoumatta A. Camara, President of the University Debate Association who extensively explained to them the importance of public speaking in the Climate Justice Advocacy. Then they were divided into various groups to discuss on how they want to communicate climate issues at school and communities and later give presentations in the presence of their fellow students.
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 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 25 trees which included coconut, mango, orange, pawpaw and guava. The children finished the planting event with a magnificent Stop Talking, Start Planting battle cry!
The other exciting part was that their teacher coordinators joined them in the tree planting.
Back to the St Augustine’s high school hall, a small group practiced 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 want to implement after the Academy.
Some of them composed songs, others practiced drama presentations and spoken words on how they will share the message to peers.
At the end of the day, 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 shirt and the book ‘Tree-by-Tree’. Organizers and guests were very impressed by the performance of the children and the teachers promised that the certificates would be presented to the students again during their school assembly with presentations from the new ambassadors.
A huge thanks to all the helpers around the venue, technology, food and tree planting event. Without their support the Academy would not have been possible.
Do you want to become a Climate Justice Ambassador? Enroll now for the next Academy in your Area!
All photos taken can be downloaded here.