By Albert Adehokey, YRE
The Young Reporters for the Environment Ghana which is a local environmental advocacy group has on Saturday September 7 convened a workshop in the nation’s capital city, Accra on Responsible Consumption and Production which is in congruence with the Goal 12 of the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations. The workshop brought together youth and young professionals who are working towards the successful attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals across the country. Participants include students from tertiary institutions across the country, thus the University of Ghana, the Ghana Institute of Journalism, young environmental activists and representations from partner civil society organizations in the country. The workshop was also well attended by the U-Report department of the UNICEF Ghana chapter and environmental volunteers.
This workshop was organized owing to the fact that material waste (food waste) is comparatively the prime cause of environmental pollution in Ghana and thus demands an urgent call for the need to educate people and raise awareness on the adoption and good practice of the circular economy.
In line with the organizations vision which is to ensure that workshop participant are engaged in a teaching and learning process so as to be able to make informed decisions and take prudent actions on real life sustainability issues, participants were taught to change or shift mindsets on waste generation and recycling to the concept of pre-cycling which proves a more effective way to fighting waste generation.
The “Queen of Compost”, Ms. Sara Skayte who is well known for teaching composting both in the U.S.A and within her two (2) years stay in Ghana ceased the opportunity to educate and demonstrate to participants on composting of food waste. According to the “Queen of Compost”, composting is just as spreading an information and that the more it spreads, the better it does to the environment and humanity. She further revealed that composting is an important component of the circular economy and helps in reducing environmental pollution and global climate crisis. Ms. Sara expressed a great satisfaction about teaching composting to Ghanaian youth during her stay in Ghana, and more importantly for the fact the Young Reporters for the Environment Ghana board takes up the responsibility to continue educating people on composting as she leaves Ghana for her home country, the U.S.A.
U-Report Ghana of the UNICEF took the opportunity to interact with participants on the role of young people in making deductive decisions by introducing their concepts and achievements over the years. A U-Report champion, Ms. Victoria reiterated the power of young people and the need for the youth to re-echo their grievances using the U-report platforms and sms surveys as they plan to design future surveys that would inform decisions on what young people feel about the current environmental issues and their stands in addressing such environmental challenges.
The Coordinating Director of YRE Ghana, Ms. Hilde Opoku in her concluding statements emphasized the need to strengthen advocacy and raise awareness on waste generation, management and recycling in the country. This she said, calls for a greater commitment by industry (manufacturing and producing companies) to prevent the pollution of the natural ecosystem (water, air and land) vis a vis an abject change in consumer behavior in a bid to reduce if not totally prevent material pollution which might have been caused by food waste or plastics.
The Young Reporters for the Environment Ghana (YRE – Ghana) is an environmental NGO that aims to build capacity, strengthen and empower young people to take a stand on the environmental issues they feel strongly about and to give them a platform to articulate these issues into various media using journalistic tools thus through photography, article writing, videos etc.
As always Francis Ametepey took us through some icebreaking activities which made a great atmosphere through out the event.