Here are the winners of the #Forests2015 blog competition!

Anne-Gaelle Borg (L) and Nikki Chaudhary (R) won the top prizes...

Anne-Gaelle Borg (L) and Nikki Chaudhary (R)
won the top blog competition prizes…

Our #Forests2015 blog competition received 63 entries from 32 countries. The battle was fierce, but also fun.

While we agree with “Hot Chocolate” who sung “Everyone’s a winner” back in 1978, we HAD to select a few, who were more “winning” than others.. 🙂

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Young but not limited by age

Young, vibrant and ready to take on the world of forestry! “We want to effectively engage in forestry issues and be part of decisions that are being made,” declared a group of young people at the XIV World Forestry Congress.

Youth made it clear that they want to engage actively in forestry issues and natural resources sustainability. They ooze potential and yet they feel less is being invested to cater for their ambitious goals- education that equips them with relevant skills from elementary to tertiary level.

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Caretakers of the Earth – kids

Applause and more applause at the end of a play by junior students about the effects of human activity on the environment.

Applause and more applause at the end of a play by junior students about the effects of human activity on the environment.

The story performed by students of the Ntabezwe Junior Secondary School in the Eastern Cape, South Africa portrays a rural farming community where some people have some degree of knowledge of the importance of forests and caring for the ecosystem. Rural communities in the country are led by traditional leaders called Chiefs.

One member of the community is seen burning a tree, and another clearing a piece of forest land for farming purposes. Both are at fault of destroying the ecosystem but neither one is aware. One of them eventually reports the other to the Chief. But it turns out both need to be educated. The assistant to the Chief then explains to the women about existing policies which regulate the protection of the environment.

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The Restoration Generation

We are today’s youth. We live in the world you, the elders created.

Tomorrow, it is our turn to be the world’s custodians.

The world you are about to hand us, faces many challenges: climate change, soil degradation, sustainable and productive agriculture.

As you did not resolve these issues, we, today’s youth will have to. We want to give a better world to our children. Today, we want to prepare ourselves, with the knowledge and experience to create that better world.

Naturally, we were interested in the event ‘The Restoration Generation: Can Africa bring 100 million hectares degraded land into restoration by 2030?’.

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“Working on Fire” Supports South African Youth


“South Africa’s youth must use this opportunity to expand their horizons and find a role for themselves in the future development of the forestry sector at home and beyond,” Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa told the 14th World Forestry Congress. The “Working on Fire” (WoF) programme played a lead role at the opening of the Congress, showing how it is providing jobs for young men and women, as well as a critical community service.

A key theme of the conference is creating a sustainable future for forests and people. “Empowering women and youth in the forestry sector can create significant development opportunities and generate important spill over benefits,” Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma Chair of the African Union said.  The WoF programme, run by the South African Department of Environmental Affairs, employs 93% of youth from previously disadvantaged communities and trains them in integrated fire management skills. More than one third are female – the highest rate of female employment in any organisation.

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Youth plays a major part in the World Forestry Congress

Forests play a significant role in poverty eradication through job creation, economic growth and the supply of basic needs. South African youth are also playing their parts in preserving and taking care of our environment and forests. The XIV World Forestry Congress is expected to draw over 5 000 delegates from across the African continent.

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Promoting Youth Perspectives for Sustainable Living

Youth Capacity Building in Forest Carbon Inventory_NepalWe “youth” are tired of being called the future. We have a lot to offer in helping to solve the global issues of hunger, malnutrition, climate change and gender.  We can be pioneers of development and agents of change. But young people generally have inadequate access to information, knowledge and decent jobs, land, and financial services and the opportunity to contribute to development policies.

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Forests are sacred!


Tshilidzi Netshidzivhe, from Vhongwaniwapo, Clan of the Sacred Forest, will take part in the (“intergenerational-interviewee” slot during the youth special event) 9 September 2015, 16:15 – 18:15.

Tshilidzi’s intervention focuses on indigenous youth’s perceptions of forests, and the traditional knowledge and values associated with them. Tshilidzi shares her experiences ahead of the youth session which you can join onsite or via the webcast.

The forest is a sacred site, belonging to a certain clan. It is a “no go” area, and only the clan may go there during a certain period, and not every day. We go there during the times of the rituals.

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