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February 12, 2020

80 new Climate Justice Ambassadors in Mukingi, Rwanda

On November 4th 2019, in cooperation with a dedicated team of environmentalists (Emmanuel Sindikubwabo, Serge Hategekimana Senga, and Felix Mihigo) the Academy at Ecole Secondaire de Mukingi, Ruhango District, Southern Province took place. 80 participants were present and together with the school supports 32 trees were planted. In the morning all children were gathered for the upcoming Academy at the aforementioned school. Finally, everything was prepared for the training, discussion and knowledge sharing on climate issues. Ecole Secondaire de Mukingi is a secondary school with ordinary Levels and advanced level options.

Rwanda is a landlocked African country located near the equator towards the eastern part of Africa. The landscape of the country is made of mountains and hills which gives Rwanda a chance to receive rains within 8 months a year. The vegetation of Rwanda is under the pressure of booming demography threatening the flora and fauna. Following this ecological situation, a group of young Rwandans and me the Plant-for-the-Planet Program Coordinator are committed to protect the plants of Rwanda through reforestation and tree planting in, and through communities. In this regard, on November 4th 2019, an Academy was organized to raise the awareness of the youth and the children on climate and environment issues and entice them acting early as environmentalists. Through the collaboration with the school leadership and the students representatives, it was possible to carry out all activities of the Academy with the students of the aforementioned school.

Moreover, there was support from other people such as teachers and private tree nursery agents who facilitated the acquisition of seedlings that were planted. 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 team of Plant-for-the-Planet. The training and discussion sessions, led by the Plant-for-the-Planet Program Coordinator with the inputs and support from Emmanuel, Serge and Felix who recently joined us few months ago, followed right behind the introduction games. Using various approaches such as presentations, books, videos and other tools received from the Plant-for-the-Planet Foundation, got the children the chance to read books and brochures. They also got the chance to share their observations and knowledge of what happens in their community and subsequently commit to contribute their role to improve the situation. Team members relayed through several activities of the Academy and worked hand in hand to ensure the comprehension.

During the Academy various techniques including songs and games as well as ice breaking activities were used to ensure the understanding of complex issues like the climate crisis. We invited the Children to sing songs about the importance of trees, team working and pure air. All the songs and activities helped children to come up with a more comparative understanding and tangible message to the world in terms of its population, income distribution and CO2 emissions.

Children were put in groups to discussed climate crisis related issues that are observable in their community and present their results. They were also asked to explain how trees can participate to prevent those effects at their school as well in their homes and communities. This session enthusiastically motivated the children and challenged them to think about how the proper behaviour of humankind can guarantee a decent world for future generations. Issues like erosion, heavy rains, draughts and varying temperature were discussed in addition. In the presentation section the children got the chance to nurture and practice their presentation skills. Receiving feedback from the audience enhanced the learning process pretty much. They also collaborated to propose answers to identify the issue.

After the indoor sessions, the activities of the Academy proceeded with the plantation of the tree seedlings. This was a special chance for the children to gain knowledge on how to plant trees. The school staff who was present made sure that each and every child has to take care of the trees planted at his/her time at  school. The words of the teacher in charge of discipline made clear that he wants each child to regularly visit their trees and ensure they lack nothing and grow well to serve the purpose. Various trees were planted also including fruit trees. All in all we planted 32 trees.

The greening Academies made the students aware of the climate crisis and taught them the culture of environmental protection and conservation at their early ages. The Academy left the school environment green and made it a better and comfortable place to study and work for the school community. Both the school and community around benefited from the clean and fresh air coming out of the trees planted along the school. Furthermore, the school is now able to harvest fruits from the planted trees and enjoy a happier life than before.

Generally, the Academy went well. However, there were a few challenges including access to seedlings, conflicts with a calendar staked with school activities.

The organizing team of the Plant-for-the-Planet Academy Mukingi, 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

Do you want to become a Climate Justice Ambassador yourself? Register for an upcoming Academy here.