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World Environment Day: Nurturing Environmental Stewardship for Future Generations

Written by Mercy Wambui Metis Fellow


Mercy Wambui presenting videos on innovative climate change solutions to learners in Siaya.

The first World Environment Day was celebrated on 5th June, 1973 with the theme "One Earth" —  a noble celebration with a most appropriate theme. This is our only home, and if we do not care for it, it will not sustain us. 

For fifty years, we have celebrated this day each year and as I wake up today, I ask myself, what more can we do for our home?

In the past few years, we have experienced such harsh weather, from extended droughts to flooding. What better theme to suit this 51st World Environment Day than "Land Restoration, Desertification, and Drought Resilience," remembering that we only have one earth — our only home.

Land restoration is critical in combating the severe impacts of desertification and drought. By restoring degraded lands, we can improve biodiversity, enhance water retention, and increase the resilience of ecosystems and communities. 

Desertification, often caused by human activities and climate change, threatens the livelihoods of millions, making it essential to adopt sustainable land management practices.

Building drought resilience not only mitigates the adverse effects of climate change but also ensures food security and sustainable development for future generations.

At  Angaza Africa, we understand the urgency of these environmental challenges. Founded in 2012 as a Self-Awareness program to prepare teenagers and youth for life and career success, Angaza has evolved significantly. 

After 2020, we expanded our focus to include environmental awareness, realising the urgent need to involve children in the environment conversation and our collective responsibility to keep our home — the earth, clean and balanced for all living beings.

Our value-based programs integrate environmental awareness with key life skills in self-awareness. As students plant and grow kitchen gardens, they learn the value of work ethics, responsibility, persistence, and grit.

They also learn how to grow healthy organic food, promote biodiversity, and maintain ecological balance, supporting all life forms, from soil organisms to pollinators like bees.

At Gatina Primary School, learners were involved in a three-month process of planting and growing a vegetable garden. From garden preparations to plantings and caring for the vegetables, the students were actively engaged. 

Gatina Primary School learners engaging in garden preparation

By the end of the term, the garden was flourishing, and they could harvest fresh produce. This hands-on experience not only instilled in them the value of hard work, responsibility, and perseverance but also taught them crucial lessons about sustainable food production and the importance of biodiversity.

The vegetable garden at Gatina Primary School

Angaza Africa has always prided itself on ensuring that every learning activity is fun, learner-led, thought-provoking, and enhances creativity and imagination.

We believe that everyone is full of potential; we just need to discover, nurture, and utilise it to our highest purpose.

As an educator by passion and by choice, I believe that teachers make history and create the future every day. Therefore, educators are a crucial part of this journey.

My life purpose is to empower educators with the resources, knowledge, and skills to nurture and groom the learners they interact with daily. 

Supporting educators is essential because, in turn, they support and inspire their learners. By providing educators with the resources and training they need, we ensure they can effectively impart knowledge and foster environmental stewardship among the learners.

We hope to partner with more organisations as implementing partners in climate education and share our impactful collaboration stories.

I also serve as the Africa Education Liaison for Climate Advocates Voces Unidas (CAVU), providing a free international STEAM curriculum, Climate Innovation Challenge, designed to help learners create climate change innovative solutions while enhancing learners' storytelling and video-making skills.

As we celebrate World Environment Day today, aiming to raise awareness about the environmental problems faced by our planet and promote sustainable practices, let us not leave any learner behind.

Let us teach our children why they need to care for the environment. Let us show them alternatives to single-use plastic by training them to use recyclable water bottles, demonstrate waste segregation, plant trees and engage them in other activities that promote environmental conservation.

We can restore our earth and home; we only need to start from our home, our classroom, our office, and our neighbourhood.

As we mark this significant day, let us recommit to restoring our lands and strengthening our resilience against the growing challenges of desertification and drought. 

Learn more about our work here

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