Vital Actions for Sustainable Development participated to the Global Youth Service Day 2010 around its local green campaign calling ''Making your room green for the planet: do water and electricity economy !''
The project was held on the 23-25 of April at the Yaounde University campus focused on these three topics:
- Environment - Going green and/or encouraging others to live green lives.
- Global Citizenship - Educating others about issues impacting people around the world.
- Sustainable Community Development - Helping your community become more efficient in its use of human and natural resources, and raising awareness of impact on the environment.
The main goal is to encourage students living in the university campus at the University of Yaoundé 1 to adopt green attitudes by using water and electricity resources in their rooms.
- Share information among students living in the university campus about how to adopt daily green attitudes and save the planet starting from the little things,
- Empower students to become more efficient in their use of natural resources during their academic lives and after,
- Help students to reduce their water and electricity’s bills amount by doing green economy and get some money economy,
- Educate students and the whole community at the university about the link existing between global warming and the wasting of natural resources by human.
We noted that more students living in a room at the university campus of the University of Yaoundé 1 have developed excessive wasting of water and electricity’s resources in their room during their daily activities. Often they open water faucets and let lights on during the whole day just because they know that the costs are not supported by them but by the University authorities and the price of the rent that is very insignificant also include invoices of water and electricity monthly.
Remembering that some of us have adopted the same attitude many times but unconsciously and also seen many times flooding in a lot of rooms of the campus because a student had opened a faucet all the day without scruple. Therefore, the University authorities have to pay biggest water and electricity bills and face to a higher risk of destruction of rooms and others infrastructures because of repeated flooding and fires.
Working with a local NGO to empower young people and children to become green in their daily activities it is very difficult for us to see that kind of attitudes and don’t take action to tackle it. That’s why we think that it is our duty to sensitize my peers at the university campus about the necessity to adopt responsible and green attitudes for the urgent economy of water and electricity resources in their rooms. The project helps us to reach this objective through a great campaign inside the campus aiming to sensitize and educate the whole university community especially the campus inhabitants. This campaign make our peers known the dramatic relation between that kind of behaviors adopted by people like them with climate change and the lack of water and energy access in others regions around the country and the world. The campaign make them conscious about their ability to become responsible citizens that can contribute to the development of their country by adopting eco-citizenship attitudes in their daily activities for the safeguard of natural resources and also our planet !
Global Youth Service Day
During the Global Youth Service Day we firstly met with the University authorities to talk about the problem we noted and the solutions that we propose to tackle it. The meeting takes place before the GYSD field’s work started.
We organized ourselves as volunteer’s team and go to the whole university campus to meet with inhabitants door by door and discuss with them about their attitudes and the dramatic consequences for the country.
During an educative talk with students we discussed about the link between climate change and their attitudes and also about what they can do to become eco-citizens in their daily activities and contribute to save the planet by saving water and energy and think not of them but about people in need.
We advertised materials campaigns, posters, billboards and our voices to share our message, sensitize and educate inhabitants with creative slogans.
We mobilized students available around a big clean up activity inside the campus and around all the campus’ buildings aiming to give us an opportunity to talk very closely with them without resistance.
Even if we didn’t succeed to mobilize water and electricity’s technicians to come and repair as volunteers spoilt water and electricity infrastructures inside the campus and work with us in order to get a great impact of their contribution, we have installed with the student’s permission a small billboard with an educative message in their buildings aiming to sensitize them about the necessity to do water and electricity economy in their daily activities and remind our action during the GYSD 2010.
We have mobilized ten campus’s buildings guardians and main responsible around an educative talk aiming to empower them to have a good water and electricity resources management and share these knowledge with the others inhabitants after our departure.
At the end, the third day, we organize an evaluation meeting with all volunteers, University authorities and campus inhabitants to see together what we succeed or not, if our campaign got a great impact or not and how we can make our action sustainable with the campus students participation even if we are not on their behalf.
The access of essential services is very difficult to ensure in our community. To really cover the human needs and to contribute to give them better living conditions will be more difficult in the future than now. The level of poverty is raised so that people don't have possibility to eat every day and get access to a good drinking water. Thousands of people don't have what to eat and drink and the lack of social infrastructure doesn't allow them to receive in their houses essential services and first products required as water, domestic energy, food and primary education. In another way we have a very big problem with human settlements and more people are without shelters or live in the street.
This is why our Government has decided to offer underpaid lodgings to poor people and especially to students attended school at university. Unfortunately even if more people are affected by the lack of settlement and access to good water, more of these students adopt bag practices by wasting water and electricity resources in their rooms at the university campus and also by destroying these social infrastructures without scruple. As past university campus inhabitant we have many times experienced sometimes this situation while knowing that in another place at the same time people of our families or another family are in the need because they don’t have access to human settlement and good water. It is for that reason we sincerely think that we have to act now with our peers to encourage others to live green lives, educate them about issues impacting people around the world and bring them become more efficient in their use of social infrastructures and natural resources with the impact on the global environment.
For that we decided to work on 'doing' rather than 'asking' for change. We focused our action on changing behaviour at a local level. We decided to work on changing our attitudes. A better world and life are possible. It is important that we discuss the need for a total system change. We decided to promote youth attitudes not based on the priority of growth, but prioritizing on wellbeing and sustainability. Our Government cannot do everything and as civil society we have to involve ourselves as actors to get a better impact of global sensitization.
The participation of this youth organization help us to get a new partnership with the University's authorities and also to give a new public's perception of our activities among students and young people living in the University campus.
The volunteers and youth participants had seemed increasing their commitment to take care of their planet and life milieu. They benefits from news knowledge related to how be eco-citizen in his daily activities and contributes to save our planet starting from the little things.
After the project it was very great to see students take the lead and action to become green in their rooms by economizing water and electricity daily. The campus also become very clean after the clean up activity and all of us were proud of our achievement.
Our twenty young volunteers were very excited to take part to our educative talks and clean up campaigns. They also appreciated to discuss with the city officials prevent during all the three days of our activities.
We sent media press release to five radio stations and TV stations of the city and they sent us representative to cover the 3 days project.
In the University 1 radio station on Friday 23 of April we had a online interview in a specific radio emission called ''The Environmental'' during one hour. All the emission was focused on our GYSD project and how is going at the moment.
In the most listening youth radio station ''Yaounde FM 94'' of Yaounde city we had a five minutes interview to talk about the project on Saturday 24 of April at 7 am. It was inside the calendar ''What youth doing for their planet''.
The only TV station present there showcase our project in the evening News during 30 seconds on Sunday 25 of April.
The elected city officials present during the project among five we were looking for and have been invited are:
Mr. Bienvenu Nola, Director of the University of Yaoundé 1 social infrastructures, who spoke in front of the youth participants and volunteers to encourage them and support our initiative;
Ms Marie Tamoifo NKom, Coordinator of the Youth Network for the Central Africa Forests, who was coming from the USA and spoke to share her experience as a young leader who work during more than five years as volunteer on development.
Unfortunately the other city officials were unable to attend the project activities during the five days.