We have closed the environmental chapter of their project with several events involving youth from six local schools, the Environmental Protection Agency, Parks and Gardens, mentors from the YMCA and ZoomLion.
World Environment Day (June 5th) was celebrated with tree planting exercises in three schools. YCI partnered up with the Environmental Protection Agency who provided transportation and volunteers. Parks and Gardens generously donated nearly 100 seedlings which, rain or shine, were successfully planted and caged from animals. The students helped out enthusiastically – even showing up at 6am at one school in order to dig the holes! – and now each tree has been assigned to at least one student so they may have direct responsibility for caring for their environment. Upon speaking with the headmaster at one school, we learned of the saying “when the last tree dies, the last man dies.” We were impressed to see that the students all knew the phrase.
Prior to this event, we put on a total of five workshops in schools addressing the plastic waste problem in the community. Students learned about the “lifecycle” of a plastic bag and the negative effects each stage of its life could have on the environment and on all the people who depend on it. At some workshops there was enough time to do a plastic re-use craft wherein the students got to make cause bracelets from old plastic bags to show their commitment to properly disposing of and using plastic responsibly.
Finally, as a follow-up to the workshops, we organised a community clean-up event in partnership with ZoomLion – the street cleaners of Ghana. So many students from the schools enthusiastically volunteered that we had to limit numbers. Within an hour, the students and volunteer ZoomLion workers had filled three tricycle bins to overflowing with rubbish from around the market. Check out this link to see some media coverage of our events!
We hope that our efforts have encouraged the students to take pride in their community and have left Koforidua a cleaner and greener city. We are now starting up the YMCA mentorship program with a new batch of fresh trainees for their initial skills workshops.
-Laura Stocker and Denise Lipscombe, Youth Ambassadors, Ghana 2012
YCI is currently recruiting a team of 8 volunteers for our fall project in Ghana. For information on this 10 week program, click HERE.