Greening Youth Foundation Africa
According to The World Bank Country Census, as of 2021, Nigeria has a population of 213 million people. That’s just 118 million less than the United States. In 2006, Nigeria overtook Russia in population due in part to one of the fasted growing birth rates in the world. As a result, Nigeria also boasts one of the largest youth populations in the world. Accordingly, in keeping with the foundations mission to develop conservation employment opportunities for youth populations, Nigeria was a natural location for GYF Africa’s headquarters on the continent.
In 2017, the Greening Youth Foundation established the first formal Nigeria country office based in the Ikoyi business district of Lagos, Nigeria. For over 5 years, the foundation has continued to improve partnership development and grow the environmental education program despite the economic and social constraints of the COVID 19 pandemic. The Nigerian office would grow to serve as the continental base for the foundation’s Africa work.
In 2022, GYF Africa received a generous in-kind donation of considerably reduced rent from an in-country building development partner. On the current schedule, GYF Africa will move into a new office space located in Victoria Island Lagos by the first week in February 2023. Victoria Island is the business heart of Lagos State. The Island is home to many international embassies, including the US Embassy and several large domestic and multi-national corporations. The new office space will house the entire GYF Africa team and will serve as the hub for all programming and events throughout the continent. The African headquarters will be located at N. 287A, Akin Olaugbade Street, Victoria Island Lagos Nigeria, Unit 1 Flat 1.
GYF Africa continues to carry on the organizational mission established by the foundation’s North American founder Mrs. Angelou Ezeilo almost two decades ago and continued by the current CEO Mr. Lesford Duncan- to engage under-represented youth and young adults, while connecting them to the outdoors and careers in conservation. In addition, GYF’s cultural-based environmental education programing engages children from local communities and exposes them to healthy lifestyle choices in order to create an overall healthy community.
Partners & Programs
To continue this work on the African continent, GYF Africa (GYFA) has established strategic partnerships with several Nigerian conservation organizations. One of the earliest Memorandum of Understanding was executed with The Nigerian Conservation Foundation. The Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) is the premier Non Governmental Organisation (NGO) dedicated to nature conservation and sustainable development in Nigeria. Established in 1980, the Foundation was registered in 1982 as a Charitable Trust under the Land (Perpetual Succession) Act of 1961 - a policy that was replaced by the Company and Allied Matters Act of 1990. Founded by late Chief S. L. Edu, NCF has its patron as the sitting President and Commander- In-Chief of the Armed Force of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. (NCF)
The NCF has a vision of "a Nigeria where people prosper while living in harmony with nature". This vision drives its Mission to preserve the full range of Nigeria’s biodiversity which includes species, ecosystems and genetic biodiversity; promote the sustainable use of natural resources for the benefit of present and future generations; and advocate actions that minimize pollution and wasteful utilization of renewable resources. NCF maintains the lead in promoting environmental conservation and sustainable development; as such, NCF is the institutional symbol of natural resource management in Nigeria. Through its conservation projects, the foundation has developed unique nature conservation strategies that cater for the needs of people while maintaining ecosystem stability. Its ability to work across the spectrum of local communities, corporate bodies and the various tiers of Government using evidence-based actions are the unrivalled standards that pronounce our competence.
In September 2021, GYFA expanded its practical partnership culture with the execution of a Memorandum of Understanding with Rubitec Nigeria Limited, a Nigerian company that specializes in bringing renewable energy to the Nigerian population. Rubitec is an industry leader in the provision of off-grid solar energy for various applications. Since its inception in 1988, Rubitec has consistently grown to become highly reputable in the delivery of quality energy services like; Standalone and hybrid photovoltaic (PV) systems design and installations; training and consultancy services; renewable energy product distribution and integration in the ever-growing off-grid Nigerian energy market. Rubitec is focused on becoming a leading solar energy company in the West African off-grid solar space, providing effective power solutions for commercial and industrial applications, residential homes in unserved and underserved communities.
The training and work development partnership as designed will be one of the most ambitious alternative energy workforce development initiatives to date. The duo will introduce an aggressive training program in Nigeria; the goal is to train 1,000 Nigerian solar technicians over two years. All technicians will be fully certified by international standards and ready to join the growing renewable energy workforce worldwide. This collaboration will integrate climate change awareness with intentional program initiatives that will benefit both urban and rural communities throughout Nigeria. Natural resource management training and careers are of the utmost importance to the mission of the Greening Youth Foundation. Rubitec’s bold step to take on this challenge with GYFA will continue to expand the alternative energy space in Nigeria.
This partnership is especially exciting because Rubitec Solar understands the critical importance of an uninterrupted power supply to these rural homes by way of solar power and inverters, backup power systems, small hydropower, biomass energy systems, waste to energy plants, land-fill gas plants, and wind energy. This initiative will change the landscape of electricity and solar power for the continent as countries move toward a more sustainable power source.
Unfortunately, due to the global COVID pandemic and the economic hardship experienced by developing countries, most projects were placed on hold until it was deemed safe to travel. As businesses across Nigeria begin to re-open their doors, Rubitec and GYF will reconvene and restructure the program to best serve the needs of the Nigerian market.
GYF Africa Environmental Education Program
GLADYS NUR/ PRY SCHOOL, KETU-LAGOS, NIGERIA.
Gladys Nur and Pry School ketu -Lagos, Nigeria began the Environmental Education Program with GYFA in June 2022. The environmental education program is conducted on-site twice a month on Fridays.
The programs are held in two sessions with pupils from the upper primary classes first then pupils from the lower primary in a space of 30 minutes each. The upper primary consists of pupils from Primary 4-6 while the lower primary is made up of pupils from primary 1-3. This is to enable proper spacing during the classes since they don’t have a big hall to take all the classes together. Our educators when appropriate, conduct the programing outdoors especially when we are treating a topic about plants and pollination.
The objective of the program is to provide students with opportunities to learn more about the environment, get acquainted with everyday healthy living lifestyles, understand the need for recycling (the 3Rs), the importance of plants, and the significance of conserved wildlife. In addition, our educators make every effort to expose the pupils to the outdoors and immerse them in nature. This will be achieved through excursions and camping activities in the nearest future as funding support permits.
Gladys School has a population of over 300 pupils with ages ranging from 4-13 years. Some of our topics last year were Healthy living, Plant life and Gardening, Pollution, The 3Rs, Pollination (Busy bees), and Climate Change. For the new year we have some new topics for our existing schools like Animal Charade, Camouflage, and the importance of a Diverse Ecosystem.
As a learning incentive, the program has been able to give gift items to some pupils at the end of each class after a short quiz and some practical assignments. During the Christmas season, the program conducted a Christmas giveaway and gifts items were made available for all the pupils. Greening Youth Foundation Africa has engaged a new generation of African environmental stewards, put smiles on their faces and empowered them to adopt daily healthy living habits and when possible, engage in environmentally sustainable practices.
BETHANY HALL SCHOOL, OGUDU-LAGOS, NIGERIA.
The GYFA Environmental Education program at Bethany Hall School, Ogudu - Lagos, Nigeria commenced in September 2022 with the programs held on Tuesdays and twice every month during their assembly session. The aim of the program is to provide students with opportunities to learn about the environment, get acquainted with everyday healthy living lifestyles, understand the need for recycling(3Rs), the importance of plants, and the conservation of wildlife.
The program objective is to expose the pupils to the outdoors and immerse them in nature. This will be achieved through excursions and camping activities to GYF partner sites throughout the Lagos Mainland and on the various Lagos Islands. GYFA is working on fundraising campaigns in West Africa and North America to help off-set the costs of the outdoor experiences. The program looks forward to implementing the outdoor learning experiences in the near future.
The Bethany Hall and teachers have been very happy to have the EE program conducted on-site and are always very supportive of program by helping to ensure the pupils are calm and attentive. The pupils also are excited to participate in the learning process. During the sessions they are very relaxed and ask a lot of questions. With each passing week, it is becoming more obvious that the students are increasingly more knowledgeable of the subject material and contribute much more to discussions during the program.
Bethany Hall School has a population of over 200 pupils from Primary 1-6 with ages ranging from 4-13 years. During the Christmas season, GYFA had a Christmas giveaway program where gift items were given to all the pupils in the school. The gift items were made up of crayons, Pencil cases, biros, wrist watches and more. GYFA looks forward to continuing the EE program at our partner schools. The program impact will remain with the students as they grow into adulthood. They will become committed stewards of their immediate surroundings as well as environmental conservation advocates for their community.