A clean and green environment for a better future: Children lead the way

As part of the World Children’s Day celebrations, children in South Sudan collect garbage and plant trees

By Lisa Hill
30 November 2020

Children in South Sudan prepared a powerful call for action to slow down climate change, including a call for environmental education to be included in the school curricula, a shift from generators to solar power, a halt in tree cutting with more tree planting and for garbage collection to be systematized.

On 20 November 2020 – the anniversary of the adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child – the world celebrates World Children’s Day. Worldwide events are organized to have the voices of children heard. This year’s celebrations highlight the impact climate change has on the future of our planet. 

Two adolescent girls prepare to plant trees
UNICEF South Sudan/2020/Chol

Respecting the rights of children includes allowing children to express themselves on all matters affecting their lives. For World Children’s Day children in South Sudan are speaking up about this issue of climate change that impacts their lives today and puts their future in danger.

A group of adolescents holding a banner
UNICEF South Sudan/2020/Chol

Children march through the streets, raising awareness about climate change for World Children’s Day 2020, on their way to collect garbage from the ground of Customs Market in Juba.

An adolescent girls speaks into a microphone while reading off a piece of paper
UNICEF South Sudan/2020/Chol

Wendy Ahonda (16-year-old UNICEF Child Reporter) – who took over as UNICEF Representative for World Children’s Day – reads the advocacy calls of children for a clean and green environment. They request urgent action to protect the environment and to help slow down climate change.

One girl holds open a black plastic bag while another shovels garbage into it.
UNICEF South Sudan/2020/Chol

The children call for proper garbage collection, less waste, and sufficient garbage receptacles in public spaces. UNICEF Acting Representative Andrea Suley and Programme Officer Mwango Mainda clean the market alongside the children, in solidarity for a clean and green environment.

An adolescent girls stands in front of a heap of trash.
UNICEF South Sudan/2020/Chol

The children demonstrate how small acts have a big impact. Unregulated trash heaps like this one are all over Juba.

“We want everyone in our country to increase their attention and action for a clean environment to ensure the future of South Sudan and its people.”

– Yar Machar, 14 years old, UNICEF Child Reporter.
An adolescent boy speaks at a podium hosting several microphones
UNICEF South Sudan/2020/Chol

In Buluk School A2 a second event commemorating World Children’s Day 2020 takes place. Master of Ceremony, Scovia Christopher, looks on as Daniel Sabri, UNICEF Child Reporter, gives a speech about climate action. He asks the government to respect the promise it made to plant 100 million trees in the next ten years to fight deforestation.

Planting a tree
UNICEF South Sudan/2020/Chol

Children lead the way as UNICEF staff help them plant 250 trees at 14 schools across Juba, demonstrating that the Government and communities can take actions now to protect the environment in the future.

An adolescent girl waters a newly planted tree
UNICEF South Sudan/2020/Chol

Together, we can build a cleaner and greener South Sudan and a better future, for every child.