The World Environment Day (WED) is the United Nations’ most important day for encouraging worldwide awareness and action for the protection of our environment. Since it began in 1974, it has grown to become a global platform for public outreach that is celebrated widely in over 100 countries. It serves as a ‘people’s day’ for doing something to care for the earth or become an agent of change. Actions can be taken by individuals or a group of people, locally, nationally, or globally and through decades, WED has generated incredibly positive impacts on the planet.
Annually, WED is celebrated on the 5th of June and it is usually organised around a theme and has different host countries. This year, it is themed on the illegal trade in wildlife under the slogan ‘Go Wild for Life’ and the host country is Angola. The Green Campus Initiative decided to be a part of this year’s WED celebration and create positive impacts locally. The first step was to go in search of a dilapidated primary school in a rural area of Ondo town to renovate and Orimolade Community Primary School in ‘Litaye Community’ fit just perfectly into the picture. As soon as the proper authorities were informed about our intentions, the publicity began and the set day for the event was 3rd June. E-fliers were made and posted on our online platforms and volunteers were implored to join in the movement.
As the day gradually approached, several volunteers, ambassadors, and even lecturers began showing their interest. Letters were sent out to solicit for financial support as it is a capital intensive project and on the 3rd to 5th of June, about 60 volunteers including some students from the Green Kids Club moved into Litaye Community with cutlasses, hoes, flowers, paints, brushes and other materials needed for the task ahead. Work began immediately and a short while later, everyone went to pay a respect visit to the ‘Baale’ that is, community ruler. He gave words of advice and blessing. Work resumed; clearing unkempt grasses, planting flowers, painting classrooms and exterior walls.
Lots of the community children came around to help out, some older ones also checked in to show their pleasure and give encouragements. The volunteers had a lot fun while working. They understood better the effectiveness of teamwork, some even newly learnt how to paint. Some others visited the close by palm oil making site in the community to see and learn how its production processes. There was also an exceptional and very attractive mural painting, artistically created by one of our talented ambassadors.
The volunteers also learnt and played local games with the community kids, some others played football with them and it was very exciting. The last batch of volunteers left the community at about 5:30 pm with the intention of fixing another date to put finishing touches on the almost completed renovation.
It is also very interesting to know that about twenty (20) Green Ambassadors at Ahmadu Bello University enthusiastically celebrated WED in Zaria on the 5th of June. They visited Barewa College, a college that is very important in the history of Nigeria as it has produced five (5) Nigerian Presidents. They cleared the environment, planted trees, and organised a lecture on Climate Change given by Jafar Abdulahi from Kaduna State University.
Indeed, we are change agents doing it locally, one impact at a time till a ripple effect spread all through the nation and beyond. WE ARE OFFICIALLY GREEN!