The plastic bricks project takes another step forward by transforming schools into green schools.
David Sekongo Kagnienfolo, 11, waters and takes care of the tree he planted in the playground of Gonzagueville’s Primary School, in the South of Côte d'Ivoire. David and his friends are gardening, planting trees and learning how to preserve the planet through the Green Schools project.
"I learned that we must prevent degrading our environment and that it is our actions that cause global warming. I also learned how to plant trees, fruits and vegetables and I am very proud of that" says David, an 11-year-old student.
"If we cut down the trees instead of planting them, we might one day run out of air and food. That's why I decided to make a vegetable garden at home for my family," explains David.
Sy Othniel, 10, is David's friend and class neighbour. Since the project was launched at his school, Othniel sees himself as an environmental policeman. He applies hygiene practices and gives his friends advice: "I wash my hands very regularly thanks to the new handwashing device and I also encourage my friends to do the same, because it protects us from diseases. When I see one of the school’s students throwing a plastic bottle on the ground, I ask him to pick it up and put it in the trash, because it can be turned into a brick to build other schools like ours."
One day, I would like to be a veterinarian, because I'm very concerned about the health of animals.
One of the objectives of the Green Schools project is to empower young people to inspire the younger generation to become eco-citizens. Last October, UNICEF launched its first-ever advocacy guide for young people in Côte d'Ivoire. The guide was co-created by young Africans to help other young people find solutions to the problems they face in their communities.
To mark the occasion, 10 young Ivorians advocated to the Ivorian government for green schools. The Government committed to support them and make them partners for change. This strong advocacy has enabled the implementation of the Green Schools project, on which the 10 young activists are working with the support of UNICEF and the Ministry of Water and Forests.
Aïcha Soro, a 22-year-old student, is one of the contributors of the advocacy guide. She leads the project's activities to raise the level of awareness among children and teachers about good actions that help save our planet.
"My friends and I have pleaded with the authorities to make this project, which is close to our hearts, a reality. Seeing our dream come true is very satisfying. I especially like this new school environment, which is now an eco-friendly space for children.”
With the support of the Ivorian government, UNICEF USA, NGO My dream for Africa and committed young people, the ultimate goal is to create a green school in every school made of recycled plastic bricks. By transforming schools into green schools, the plastic bricks project has taken a new step to enable every child to grow up and learn in a healthy environment.