The impact of climate change is been disproportionately felt by the three northern regions of Ghana. It is clear that the Upper East Region will continue to feel the impact of climate change because of land degradation and desertification due to its geographical location. This will impact negatively on food security and livelihoods if serious efforts are not made to stem the tide of environmental degradation and help reduce the impact of climate change through mitigation and adaptation strategies and measures.
Providing the youth with an opportunity to learn and bring their creativity and skills to bear in addressing the issues of desertification and environmental degradation is one strategy of ensuring that the youth participate in finding solutions to the present and future challenges of desertification, environmental degradation and climate change.
The Green Clubs project of G-lish Foundation is one way of giving the youth of rural Ghana an opportunity to learn about current developmental challenges such as desertification and climate change, hone their skills and use their creativity to implement practical activities that help re-generate the environment and reduce the impact of climate change on their communities
On Tuesday, May 31, 2011, the Executive Director of G-lish Foundation helped the students of Dulugu Junior High School (J.H.S) to form the Green Club at Dulugu. The programme started at 12:00 noon and ended at 1:30pm. The main highlights of the programme included a brief speech on the background of the Green Clubs Project, the election of the Dulugu J.H.S Green Club executives and the inauguration of the Green Club.
Brief background of G-lish Green Clubs
The G-lish Green Club project is a platform for school youths to meet, develop their skills, share information, and take practical actions like tree planting in protecting our planet and its resources to mitigate the impact of climate change.
So doing, they benefit on a personal level by connecting and networking, building relationships, sharing knowledge and working together to achieve environmental regeneration, and the realization of the MDGs through practical environmental activities.
Brief speech by the Executive Director of G-lish Foundation
Godwin, the Executive Director of G-lish Foundation, gave a brief speech before the nomination and election of the executives of the Dulugu J.H.S Green Club. He mentioned that the Green Clubs is one of the projects that G-lish Foundation developed specifically for students in the Upper East Region.
He explained that the Green Clubs’ main objective is to provide young people in the Junior High Schools in the Upper East Region an opportunity to learn about current environmental and development issues such as desertification, pollution, poverty and climate change, develop their skills and use their skills and creativity to help find solutions to these challenges.
He further said that some of the activities that the Green Clubs will be engaged in include tree planting; clean up campaigns; quiz competitions; short films on water and sanitation, environmental degradation, desertification; essay competitions and art projects.
Godwin involved the students in his presentation by engaging them in questions and answers exercise in which he asked questions on the environment and climate change.
He asked, “Who can explain ‘environment’”? One of the students explained that environment refers to all the things that are found in the surroundings of human beings. They include living and non-living things, plants and animals.
Next he asked, “What is environmental degradation?” Another student answered that environmental degradation is the destruction of the environment including flora and fauna through human activities and natural occurrences such as storms and floods.
Godwin asked the students to name one example of human activities that degrade the environment. One student said that cutting of trees indiscriminately is one act of human beings that degrade the environment. Another mentioned sand winding and galamsey (small-scale gold mining done at the village level) as other activities of humans that degrade the environment. Yet another student mentioned slash and burn method of farming as another human activity that degrades the environment.
The final question that Godwin asked was “Have you heard of climate change?” Some of the students said that they have heard about it on the radio. One student explained that it is the unexpected and unpredictable changes in the climatic conditions such as rainfall patterns and temperature levels.
Godwin thanked the students for their insightful contributions and urged them to continue to learn and share knowledge about these issues and added that they should put the knowledge that they have about these issues into practice whenever they can, and that the Green Club provides them with the chance to put their knowledge into good use.
He added that the decisions that they take now will determine their future and the future of other generations so they should always think about the present and future impact of their actions on the planet.
“When you buy pure water and finish drinking the water and you’re about to throw the plastic away, think about the effect of that act on the environment now and tomorrow”.
Election of Executives
After the brief speech by Godwin Yidana, the election of the executives of the club was the next item on the agenda. Five executives—3 females and 2 males—were elected for the term.
The election process was supervised by Godwin Yidana of G-lish Foundation and Ambrose Atogeyeke, a teacher of the Dulugu J.H.S and a patron of the club.
It started with the nomination of candidates for the various positions. These are president, vice president, secretary, assistant secretary and organizer.
- Nominations for the president:
Three female students were nominated by members to compete for the position of the president. These were:
- Ganiatu Mumuni;
- Mavis Ayine;
- Sandra Atambire
The three nominees were asked to leave the room for voting to be conducted after the nomination exercise. The election was by simple majority where the participants were asked to raise hands for nominees of their choice.
Ganiatu Mumuni emerged the winner with a total of 31 votes. She was therefore elected as the president of the Dulugu J.H.S Green Club. Sandra Atambire came second. It was therefore unanimously agreed that Sandra was the vice president-elect of the club.
- Nominations for the Secretary:
The next position that was up for competition was the secretary position. Two male students were nominated to contest for the position of secretary. They were:
- Mark Adombire;
- Ambrose Mbii
Mark Adombire and Ambrose Mbii left the room after their nomination for the voting exercise to take place. Mark Adombire was voted as the secretary of the Dulugu J.H.S Green Club. He got 30 votes while Ambrose Mbii got 11 votes. Ambrose Mbii is the assistant secretary
- Nominations for the Organiser:
The final position that was contested for was the organizer position. One female student, Rebecca Baamongnof, and one male student, Ernest Nsoh, were nominated to contest for the position of organizer. The two nominees left the room for the voting exercise to take place. At the end of the voting exercise Rebecca Baamongnof pulled 20 votes beating her only contender, Ernest Nsoh to the position of organizer. Rebecca was thus elected as the organizer of the Dulugu J.H.S Green Club.
The elected executives are:
- Ganiatu Mumuni-President;
- Sandra Atambire-Vice President;
- Mark Adombire-Secretary;
- Ambrose Mbii-Assistant Secretary;
- Rebecca Baamongnof-Organiser.
Inauguration of Dulugu JHS Green Club
The next item was inauguration into office as executives of the Dulugu J.H.S Green Club tasked with the responsibility of organising and managing the daily activities of the club for one term.
Mr. Ambrose Atogeyeke, the patron of the club, urged them to respect the members of the club and maintain an open-door policy. He also tasked them to work hard and creatively to enable the club meet its objectives and said they stand to benefit if the club succeeds in carrying out its mandate. He explained that there will be times that they will be called up to make some sacrifices for the sake of other members of the club. For example, they might spend their weekends holding meetings to discuss and plan activities for the club.
After these words of encouragement, Ambrose duly inaugurated the Dulugu J.H.S Green Club.
The programme was insightful. A number of things came to light. The students had a lot of information about the environment and climate change. Another great point is that females were more willing to take leading roles in the club. This is amplified by the majority number of the executives being females (3). The final point worth noting is that the male members nominated and supported the candidature of the females. This is a positive sign towards gender equality and equity in this community as far the future is concerned.
The programme ended successfully at 1:30pm with a closing prayer by one of the participants.