Oando Foundation (OF), an independent charity, has initiated a project to promote environmental education and sustainable action for pupils in target schools and host communities in Lagos State with support from Sumitomo Chemical, a Japanese Chemical Company. 

 

Sumitomo Chemical, Japan is the co-funding partner, while the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) is the implementing technical partner on the project. 

 

The project, tagged ‘Clean Our World’ (COW), aims to promote environmental education and responsibility by creating awareness and empowering children and teachers in 7 public primary schools and their host communities with the knowledge of plastic recycling and waste management, whilst encouraging the adoption of eco-conscious lifestyles. Benefitting schools and communities include: Dele Ajomale Schools Complex (I–IV) Ilasamaja, Metropolitan Primary School, Orile-Iganmu, Olisa Primary School and Methodist Primary School, Mushin. 

 

It is estimated that Nigeria generates over 32 million tons of solid waste annually of which > 30% is plastic. There is increased flooding across cities during the rainy season due to clogged drainage systems, directly attributable to poor waste disposal techniques. Education is an essential element of the global response to environmental sustainability. It helps young people understand and address environmental issues, encourages changes in their attitudes and behaviour, and helps them adapt to climate change-related trends.  When environmental education is integrated into the curriculum, pupils are more enthusiastic and engaged in learning, which improves learner achievement in core academic areas.  Creating awareness on recycling, environmental responsibility and sustainability will help explain, inform, motivate, persuade, and encourage beneficiaries in target schools and communities to embrace behavioural changes necessary for long-term impact. 

 

In Lagos State, under its signature programme, Adopt-A-School Initiative (AASI), Oando Foundation has adopted 8 public primary schools, constructed and renovated 36 units of classrooms, provided furniture, sanitation facilities, established 3 solar-powered digital learning centres, trained 100+ teachers in core subject knowledge and modern pedagogical skills, strengthened capacity of Quality Assurance Officers in Education Management Information Systems, provided scholarships to 155 students to support their secondary education and distributed over 3,000 learning and instructional materials to teachers and pupils in these adopted schools. 

 

According to Mrs. Adekanla Adegoke, Head, Oando Foundation, “The Foundation’s partnership with Sumitomo Chemical over the years has been directed towards improved digital literacy in public primary schools through the establishment of 6 solar-powered digital learning centres across Nigeria.  The COW project marks a positive expansion of our work together and our commitment to designing and implementing multi-dimensional education interventions. We believe learning transcends the classroom, encouraging environmental education through the COW project will help pupils understand how their decisions and actions affect the environment, build knowledge and skills necessary to address complex environmental issues, explore different actions to keep our environment healthy and sustainable for the future. Not only does COW offer opportunities for experiential learning outside of the classroom enabling pupils to make connections and apply their learning in the real world, it also encourages the development of critical and creative thinking skills necessary for enhancing overall learner outcomes.  We are working closely with the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) and relevant education agencies to implement the project across 7 schools and 3 communities in Lagos State.” 

 

Mr. Tomoyuki Hirayama, General Manager of General Affairs Department, Sumitomo Chemical added “Sumitomo Chemical’s education support programme for Africa started with the development of Olyset® net, a long lasting insecticidal net that helps prevent the spread of malaria. We believe that improving the educational environment is also crucial for Africa to achieve self-sustaining economic development, and thus have been engaged with various partners in supporting schools since 2005. During the period up to April 30, 2020, 29 projects have been completed in 12 countries, benefiting over 29,000 people. We are excited that our partnership with Oando Foundation has brought this new initiative of plastic recycling and waste management, as we define contribution to developing a circular system for plastics as one of our high-priority and material management issue.” 

 

Dr. Muhtari Aminu-Kano, Director General of NCF stated that “We cannot continue to be reckless in the way we handle our waste. The menace of improper waste management is huge on the environment with consequences on human health. This partnership is seeking to address this menace using best practices.”

 

Oando Foundation is committed to designing and implementing multi-dimensional education interventions that support our schools, communities, and the Nigerian government in realizing the Sustainable Development Goals.

 

 

 

 

The Oando Foundation, Nigeria, Sumitomo Chemical, China, with the technical support of the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) organised a 3-day capacity building on recycling and environmental sustainability for some public primary school teachers in Lagos State, themed “upcycling and composting in schools and communities”.  

 

The workshop held on 21st, 25th & 27th January, had 100 participants drawn from Dele Ajomale Primary School, Ilasamaja; Metropolitan Primary School, Orile-Iganmu and Dada Olisa Primary School, Papa Ajao, Mushin in Lagos. Aside the teachers, other participants were parents and community members.

 

The organisers consider the business of wastes recycling to be a viable means of revenue generation for schools, communities and families. School pupils will in the long run benefit from the knowledge and could join in the campaign drive.

 

The workshop exposed participants to diverse areas of waste recycling, which include the use of plastic bottles to manufacture furniture materials like mattresses, duvet, chairs and tables.

 

Knowledge gained at the workshop also includes the production of organic fertilizers using plants and animals wastes products such as leaves, sawdust, chicken and rabbit materials and so on.

 

In her remark, Mrs. Abidemi Balogun, Project Lead, NCF said the overall objective of the project is to sustainably manage wastes that have become a menace across the world, with a particular focus on Lagos which generates 30,000 metric tons of waste daily.

 

She explained that in order for NCF to achieve its vision of ‘a Nigeria where people prosper while living in harmony with nature’, the Foundation has consistently partnered different organizations with similar vision and hoped that this would become another success story at the end of the day.

 

"The path that we have chosen this time is the path of waste management. It is a menace across the world. So we have to put every resource we have to achieve this. We want to change the mindset of people to stop pollution and know how to manage their wastes properly".

 

"We need to teach them creative ways of doing this. That is why we are building their capacity, to give them some skills of what they can achieve with plastic bottles and other waste materials. Let them know that the waste is not waste until it is wasted. This is why we are building the capacity of teachers and community members. After this training, the teachers will step down the knowledge gained to their pupils", she added.

 

The Lead facilitator, Mrs. Temitope Okunnu, CEO of FABE International Foundation, an NGO that champions environmental sustainability issues, noted that if the ‘waste to wealth initiative’ is massively adopted by governments across the country, using school children as major target group, would help to effectively mitigate the impacts of climate change and tackle hunger and poverty among Nigerian citizenry.

 

She emphasised that part of the goal is to stop wastes from ending up at dumpsites. This is the main reason her NGO, FABE, NCF and others are trying to teach the next generation how to properly dispose of their waste materials and to take advantage of the economic potential in wastes recycling lift millions of Nigerians from poverty at post COVID-19 era.

 

 

She explained, "We are trying to mitigate the effects of climate change on the people and the environment, and we believe that children are the best people to learn the skills. So, we are teaching their teachers to be able to step it down to them. All of us just came out of COVID-19 and many parents lost their jobs and sources of livelihood because of the pandemic. So we are teaching them today that even though we are trying to mitigate climate change and stopping pollution and also making our environment clean, we can make money from the environmental sustainability projects.”

 

A participant identified as Mr. Adedeji said "I give glory of God to be chosen as one of the participants. It was very impressive. I was imagining how a plastic can be used to make beautiful furniture pieces without using any nails or hammer. But I learnt that today. It was a wonderful workshop. I am excited".

 

Another participant, Mrs. Rachael Olaide said “Waste, especially plastic bottles usually block drainage. But now that we have received training, we will teach our children, neighbours and sensitise the schools and parents.”

 

In addition, Mr. Onyebuchi Onwunali, a participant said “What we called waste material, we now learnt that it is not waste until it is wasted.”

 

Mr. Oladapo Soneye, Head Communications, NCF, while adding his voice said that NCF is open to partnership with corporate organisations and individuals to expand the training to many schools within and outside Lagos State. He believes that such training can help in combatting the environmental challenges in Lagos and beyond. “If we have more funds, more NGOs and concentrate on reaching out wider, we would be able to effectively deal with some environmental challenges posed by waste. Even in some climes, climate change effect will be mitigated through proper orientation across board”.

 

Upcycling refers to creative reuse of waste materials in such a way as to create a product of value and quality than the original.

 

 

 

 

The Federal Ministry of the Environment and Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) commemorated World Wetlands Day (WWD) on Tuesday, February 2, 2021 through a webinar.

 

The theme for this year’s event was “Wetlands and Water” and it reflected on challenges and solutions surrounding the conservation of wetlands in Nigeria. WWD is an annual global event used to highlight the need to protect wetlands and their biodiversities. Estimates show that wetlands are disappearing three times faster than forests. 

 

In his keynote address, Dr. Muhammad Mahmood Abubakar, Honourable Minister of the Environment said that the functions and importance of wetlands cannot be overemphasized. He said: “Wetlands contribute immensely to tackling climate change challenges by enhancing the adaptation and resilience capacity of the ecosystems, provide nature-based climate solutions and address socio-economic challenges such as  water pollution, erosion, food security, human health and disaster risk management by restoring water catchments.” 

 

He observed that the resources attributed to the wetlands in Nigeria are highly valuable as they contain a variety of reptiles, mammals, amphibians and bird’s species. 

 

“Unfortunately, these rich ecosystems are being threatened and lost at an alarming rate due to population pressure; poverty; deforestation; intensive cultivation; oil and gas exploration, industrial waste pollution; coastal and marine erosion; overgrazing as well as climate change. we must all recognize the need for urgent intervention.” He added.

 

Dr. Muhtari Aminu-Kano, Director General of NCF in his presentation titled “Inseparable: water, wetlands and life” identified some basic environmental importance of wetlands as capturing and storing rainwater; replenishing ground water aquifers; regulating water quantity and supply by releasing water at the right time to the right place in the right amounts; improving water quality by removing and absorbing pollutants.

 

He said “Wetlands sustain life and keep us healthy. Healthy watersheds provide natural, safe drinking water and support food production. Wetlands give us much of the fish we eat and is used in cultivating rice for 3.5 billion people globally. Wetlands are important for biodiversity as 40% of the world’s species live in wetlands, with 200 new fish species discovered in freshwater wetlands annually.”

 

He proposed interventions such as awareness creation, habitat restoration, and livelihood improvement as part of solutions to stop further degradation of wetlands and help in their restoration. 

 

In his remark, Mr. Sean Melbourne, Head of Climate Change & Energy West Africa, British High Commission said that wetlands provide some ecosystem services such as water regulation, flood control, water filtration and freshwater supply.

 

He revealed “If rainforests are the lungs of the planet, then wetlands are the kidneys. Wetlands teem with biodiversity, providing homes and hunting grounds for several species and livelihoods for millions of people. They are part of our natural infrastructure, providing essential protection against environmental issues like drought and pollution.”

 

In her closing remark, Chief Sharon Ikeazor said that the Niger-Delta is the largest wetland in Africa and the 3rd largest mangrove forest in the world. She believed that commemoration such as this will raise a voice for the restoration of wetlands, especially in our country

 

Nigeria has 11 wetlands of international importance (Ramsar Sites). The total area is about 1,076,728 hectares.

 

These sites include: Lake Chad wetlands in Borno State; Dagona Sanctuary Lake, Yobe State; Hadejia-Nguru Lake, Jigawa & Yobe States; Maladumba Lake, Bauchi State; Baturiya wetland, Jigawa; Foge Islands, Kebbi State; Apoi Creek Forests, Bayelsa State; Padam & Wase Lakes, Plateau State, Upper Orashi Forests, Rivers State; Oguta Lake, Imo State and Lower Kaduna-Middle Niger Floodplain, Niger State.

 

Wetlands are a critical part of our natural environment. They protect our shores from wave action, reduce the impacts of floods, absorb pollutants and improve water quality. They provide habitat for animals and plants and many contain a wide diversity of life, supporting plants and animals that are found nowhere else.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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