Since 1974, the United Nations has celebrated World Environment Day on June 5 to advocate for the need to protect our habitat – earth.
This year’s theme for World Environment Day is ‘Connecting People to Nature’ which serves as a reminder for us to be more conscious of the environment and the impact that we have on it, especially as it relates to global warming, rising pollution, irresponsible consumption and production, and the depletion of earth’s resources. In the face of these glaring environmental challenges, it is likely that we overlook the work being done to curb some of these problems, particularly in Africa. In view of this, here are four foundations that are directly supporting programmes that create environmental awareness and advocate for the protection and conservation of natural habitats.
Africa Foundation, South Africa
The Africa Foundation works to uplift, upskill and empower identified rural communities near core conservation areas. Since its inception in 1992, the Foundation has increased the environmental awareness of over 500 teachers and 7,000 children by delivering conservation lessons directly through the school curriculum. The Foundation’s overall environmental and conservation strategy has three divisions. First, educate the communities around conservation areas on the importance of conservation. Second, translocate endangered species (Rhinos) in South Africa to a safe haven. Third, support conservation programs that protect wildlife. The Foundation currently funds projects in more than fifty communities in South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, Botswana and Namibia. Apart from partnering with local communities, the Foundation also partners with conservation groups like andBeyond Phinda Private Game Reserve and Great Plains.
Safaricom Foundation, Kenya
With a mission to build communities and transform lives, Safaricom Foundation, arguably Kenya’s largest corporate foundation, keenly invests in preserving and protecting the environment. Since 2003 the Foundation has invested $21 million in development projects and has partnered with nonprofit organizations, peer foundations, and the government to impact Kenya’s communities. In 2012, the Foundation partly funded the renovation of a boardwalk in Mida Creek, a tourist site in the coastal region of Kenya. So far, the income generated from the creek has funded the education of 349 students in the coastal community. One of the Foundation’s beneficiary organizations, Computers for Schools Kenya (CFSK), established Kenya’s first ever e-waste management center. The center is home to an e-waste grinding machine that recycles and performs waste management processes on plastics, metals and other materials. Safaricom Foundation also funds and supports anti-poaching programmes, afforestation and reforestation, and ecotourism activities.
Nigerian Conservation Foundation, Nigeria
The Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) established in 1980 is Nigeria’s pioneer environmental conservation and sustainable development nonprofit. Through its three pronged approach, the Foundation preserves biodiversity through the management of nature and river parks; promotes sustainable use of natural resources by educating individuals and companies on environmental issues; and advocates for policies that minimize pollution and wasteful use of resources. In partnership with Chevron Nigeria Limited, the Foundation established the Lekki Conservation Centre (LCC) in Lagos as a means to protect the plants and animals of the Lekki Peninsula by creating a safe and protected space for them to thrive in nature. According to the Lekki Bird Club, at least 49 bird species can be found at the Centre. The LCC has evolved into a major tourist attraction in Lagos and raises funds for the Foundation’s activities. The Foundation also partners with international organizations and the Nigerian government in advocating for better environmental awareness and protection.
Zoomlion Foundation, Ghana
Zoomlion Foundation is the corporate social responsibility arm of Jospong Group of Companies and one of its subsidiaries – Zoomlion Ghana Limited. Although headquartered in Ghana, the Foundation’s work is spread across five African countries: Togo, Angola, Zambia, Equatorial Guinea and Liberia. Its core mandate is to provide environmental education to children and adults in communities where the company operates. Consequently, through The Zoom Kids Club, the Foundation creates awareness about environmental sanitation in primary schools, with the hopes of changing the future pattern of waste mismanagement in Africa. The Foundation organizes a national quiz competition on environmental issues across primary schools in the ten regions of Ghana and supports The Zoomlion Ambassadors Club for secondary school students.
Although much is being done to safeguard the environment, it is imperative that as individuals we join international organizations, governments, industries and philanthropic organizations to create a greener world. Whether in isolation or through an organization, we should work towards bequeathing a safer environment to the next generation.