Children are demanding a clean and green environment for a better future

20 November 2020
Children holding a banner calling for a better future
UNICEF South Sudan/2020/Chol
Children march through Customs market for a World Children’s Day activity they organized. They first spoke about the urgency to address climate change and then held a trash clean-up event to drive home the message.

JUBA, SOUTH SUDAN – Children in South Sudan are asking for urgent action to protect the environment and to help slowing down climate change. In the lead up to World Children’s Day which is celebrated today all over the world, children in South Sudan have raised awareness on the importance of a clean and green environment for a better future for all.

Through Public Service Announcements on radio, blog posts, poems and opinion pieces, children in Juba and throughout the States have called on the Government of South Sudan to do more to secure that the country they are inheriting is healthy. More specifically, children have asked for a shift from generators to solar power, a halt in tree cutting and more tree planting and for garbage collection to be systematized.

“Let us reduce the amount of plastic and waste produced and used in our daily lives and switch to using less but impacting more,” said Wendy Ahonda, a child reporter with UNICEF South Sudan. “There should be trash cans in public places and busy places to ensure proper disposal of rubbish. We need to use clean resources for energy. South Sudan is a country blessed with abundant sunshine and the best and eco-friendly energy to be used is solar energy.”

A clean and green environment is everyone’s business and we all have a part to play in our communities. To show how we can all contribute and raise awareness, a garbage collection event was arranged together with children on the 18 November. Today, a tree-planting event is conducted, ensuring new trees in 14 schools in Juba which the schools and community will look after.

“It is encouraging to see how these children are role models for us adults,” says Mohamed Ag Ayoya, UNICEF South Sudan Representative. “Too many people in South Sudan have suffered this year due to severe flooding which is one of the many signs of climate change. We have no time to lose. Indeed, we must act now, and I’m pleased to see the future leaders of this country leading the way.”

Today, a child has taken over the Ministry of Gender, Child and Social Welfare for the day, and the previous days children have been running the UNICEF South Sudan office and the Ministry of Environmental. Children have also taken over radio stations in Juba. As these takeovers might seem symbolic, they are important reminders of who we are handing the world over to. Actions today will have impact tomorrow.

“Today I have the pleasure to lead the Ministry of Gender, Child and Social Welfare side by side with Moses, a 13-year-old child reporter with UNICEF,” said Minister of Gender, Child and Social Welfare Hon Aya Warille. “It is a refreshing experience to work with young people as Moses. Moses taught me new insights and ideas about many things, including climate change and how it impacts on the lives of children like him.”

Children of South Sudan have definied a set of advocacy calls for a clean and green environment for a better future for South Sudan.

“The earth does not stop at our generation because more children are born every second,” said Wendy Ahonda. “Imagine being born into something your community could have stopped decades before and now you have to suffer the impact of something you cannot control at your age. That is a scenario we all wish to never experience. If we act now, we can prevent further damage. The right time is now.”
 

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Note for the editors:

The World Children’s Day events in South Sudan are organized by children of South Sudan, the Ministry of Gender, Child and Social Welfare and UNICEF, in collaboration with their partners including the Juba City Council, the Ministry of General Education and Instruction, the Ministry of Environment, Save the Children and Nile Sustainable Development Organisation.

For more information about the World Children’s Day activities in South Sudan and the call  of children of South Sudan for a clean and green environment, see www.unicef.org/southsudan

Media contacts

Yves Willemot
Chief of Communication
UNICEF South Sudan
Tel: +211 91 216 2888

About World Children’s Day:

World Children’s Day celebrates the anniversary of the adoption by the United Nations of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), on 20 November 1989. The CRC is the most ratified human rights treaty. It calls on all countries to ensure the respect of the rights of all children to survival, development, protection and participation. South Sudan is party to the CRC since 2015. On World Children’s Day children around the world are invited to express their opinions and views on matters affecting their lives.
 

About UNICEF

UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

For more information about UNICEF and its work in South Sudan visit: www.unicef.org/southsudan

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