The 1st Academy in Tunisia took place on June 8th 2019 in the town of Kalâat el-Andalous. 12 children from 2 different schools were keenly waiting for the academy to start. The event was free-of-charge for all the attending children, aged from 9 to 12. The academy took place in Kalâat el-Andalous specifically because climate crisis is taking a toll on sea fishing and agriculture which constitute the two major sources of income for the locals.
The Academy began with some ice-breakers. A ball was passed around between the participants and whoever had the ball had to introduce themselves, then the children came to the whiteboard and collectively made a diagram of what the environment means to them, the words included security, clean air, fun, and food.
Then the full attention of the children turned to the presentation “Now we children save the world!” given by the program coordinator Insaf. 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. They were curious about the effects of climate crisis on their country and were eager to know how they can take part in climate action.
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 tokens, among the continents displayed on the world map. The three playing figures 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 unfair. Although only 0.5 percent of the population live in North America, they possess almost 30% of the world income and emit 20% 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 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.
After a short lunch break, the children had the opportunity to take action for their future right away: They went to plant trees in the school! In addition, they recieved 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 10 different species, most of which were olive trees: a native species that symbolizes resilience and adaptation to the harsh environment. The children finished the planting event with making a Stop Talking, Start Planting foto!
Then 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 to the questions 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 a their own project, which they would want to implement after the Academy.
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 youth initiative Unite the World and due to the team of local organisers. Special thanks goes to the Plant-for-the-Planet Programme Coordinator Insaf Abdelmoula and also to the Co-Moderator Wejden Guesmi.
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? Enrol now for the next Academy in your area!
You can find photos of the Academy here.