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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Group cooperates to promote sustainable practices in schools

Considering the pressing need to position Nigeria as a frontrunner in the global quest for sustainable development, a group of activists working together under the auspices of the Green Waka initiative has finalised plans to promote sustainable living among youth, starting with higher education institutions across the country.

Green Waka
L-R: 5th, Mr. Michael Mbaike, the leader of the Green Waka project; 4th, Professor Haruna Ayuba, the vice chancellor of Bingham University, during an advocacy and partnership visit to the school campus

Today, humanity has the daunting task of striking a balance between economic needs and environmental protection. Consequently, sustainable growth continues to decrease around the world, with little public understanding of the underlying causes, which accounts for the low emphasis on the need to live in harmony with the environment.

Green Waka, therefore, is an attempt to fill that vacuum by raising awareness among Nigerians and inspiring them to advance ecological unity, according to Michael Mbaike, the project leader.

Mbaike, who made the statement while speaking to the Vice Chancellor of Bingham University on Wednesday, February 21, 2024, during a partnership visit at the school’s campus in Nassarawa State, went on to explain that some of these interventions will focus on how to leverage the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially Goal 17, to galvanise stakeholders’ efforts and collectively journey towards a sustainable world.

He revealed that the special role that young people play in promoting sustainable living in society inspired him and his colleagues to launch their campaign in schools, utilising the Green Office Model (GOM) to engage with them.

In the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Germany, and many other European nations where this model has been tested, it continues to prove effective in connecting and supporting students and staff to act on sustainability using a whole-institution approach.

Unfortunately, the group manager expressed dissatisfaction that the idea had not been well received in Nigeria, which led to the decision to use it as a communication strategy to ensure its proper integration into schools in the country and beyond.

The sustainability crusader went on to highlight various advantages that the model will offer to the institution, including modifying the school curriculum to incorporate sustainability into a variety of academic fields.

Once that is accomplished, he noted, the country will be able to graduate students who will become green leaders and champion green activities in their various areas of life.

“We are happy that Bingham University is providing us this opportunity to talk about the Green Waka project and her interest in working with us to step down the green office model as pilots in the school,” he said.

Professor Haruna Ayuba, the vice chancellor of Bingham University, while commenting on the significance of the visit, stated that one of the main issues confronting progressive development is that initiatives aimed at increasing human sustainability typically receive insufficient attention due to a lack of adequate processes in terms of all that has been done.

He praised Green Waka as a laudable programme for its goal of galvanising all stakeholders towards sustainability in all human endeavours.

As a result, the vice chancellor vowed that his institution would work with the team to integrate sustainability into the school curriculum using the green office model.

According to him, the school will use this methodology to carry out sensitisation exercises to unbundle some of these concepts so that the ordinary person on the street can understand them.

“I see this happening shortly to ensure that we partner together to ensure sustainability, not only in the projects that we do at Bingham but also across the country as well,” he stated.

When asked what he would do differently if he had the opportunity to put things in perspective, he replied that it would be to change people’s attitudes towards sustainable living because many of the issues are psychological.

So, that is why communication, which is Green Waka’s core mandate, is very important and key, he emphasised, because, through it, a lot of attitudes can be influenced towards sustainability. After all, if things can work in other countries, he believed, there is no reason why they should not work in Nigeria.

Moving forward, the university chieftain said, “We should have a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that specifies terms of reference and your expectations of us, as well as ours of you, so that it is clear who is doing what.”

By Etta Michael Bisong, Abuja

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