We stand at a point in the history of mankind when the possibility of a future free of ecological disasters and climate change related impacts rests so much on the tune of our collective attitudinal predisposition to the changes we need today. We all have a part to play in this for it’s our future in our hands!
Overtime, my participation at some international processes and programs has greatly influenced my understanding about the necessity of youths taking active part in the moves for change in the society. Aside from the deep passion towards being part of the move for change, a lot of my motivation comes from the poorly structured societal status of my country, a predominantly developing economy where the orientation towards a total development is largely poor; this in turn has greatly affected the necessary timely interventions needed in the society.
And while there are limited openings that would afford me the opportunity of contributing my acquired skills and knowledge, I realized I could make a lot of difference in creating a platform of operation for my ideas and skills and at the same time create a channel to the building of my nation via my own field of expertise which is largely around environmental and forest resource management.While, I work towards building a formidable and extended reach of work and impact in my society in the future, I have begun with the establishment of a means of reaching the public through the establishment of a Non-Governmental outfit and through which, I have realized a means to bridging the information gap between societal development stakeholders (policy makers, researchers) and the public.
While there have been a lot of interventions towards combating the negative impacts of the rapid environmental changes, I realized the need for a more identifiable way of creating a leveled form of environmental education and entrepreneurship that would not only create the necessary awareness but also a means to establishing a mitigation strategy . I adopted the process of community-community approach of environmental sensitization and tree planting as a means to adapting and mitigating the changes.
The tree planting initiative has however been based on fast yielding and social-economic consideration as the trees often selected are ones that would ensure a beneficial side not only to the environment but also to the individuals in terms of food security (fruit trees) and health values. The platform has further been used to bring the rural dwellers, youths, students, non-profit leaders, policy makers and entrepreneurs to design solutions that reflect local content for a green economy.
The youths from respective communities have also overtime shown support in volunteering for the tree planting project while each community reached often collect seeds from the trees planted in their localities to give to us and this has further helped to enhance our seed stock for more planting. Right now, the initiative has reached 15 communities with 4000 trees planted.
Our efforts however have been a success as the initiative has spread to five states in Nigeria due in major part to the movement of volunteers who have relocated to another town or country such as the republic of Benin, Uganda, and turkey where the initiative has begun taking a root. Additionally, Greater effect for the initiative has occurred through online platform activism. This has enabled the showcasing of the works to a larger audience. The result; even more volunteers have answered the call to take a stand for the planet.
The current level of success of this project has helped to understand the necessity of ensuring that ideas and initiative directed at enhancing communities must be truly people oriented and well-tailored to accommodate mutual understanding between the parties involved in an intervention. And through my experiences I can attest to the benefits that occur from answering the call for youth engagement and participation in global matters such as the world Forestry Congress.
Blogpost and photos submitted by Bamidele Oni (Green Impact International, Nigeria) – bamideleoni.greenimpact(at)gmail.com
The content, structure and grammar is at the discretion of the author only.
This post is published as entry #1 of our #Forests2015 blog competition. It is submitted in the “Youth” category.
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