TUI Junior Academy, Clean Green Zimbabwe Initiative empowers children on climate and environment

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TUI Care Foundation and the Dutch National Committee for UNICEF have signed an agreement around the TUI Junior Academy project to support environmental education in schools as part of kick-starting the Clean Green Zimbabwe programme which was recently launched by the Minister of Environment at the COP28 in Dubai.

The world today continues to grapple with climate change, environmental degradation, and biodiversity loss. In this triple planet crisis, children and young people are the most affected, yet they contribute the least to the situation.

Urgent action is therefore required to reduce the impacts of climate change, and environmental crisis on children, allowing them to realize their potential and fulfil their rights,” said Dr Tajudeen Oyewale, UNICEF Representative in Zimbabwe.

To respond to the needs of children and to protect them from the consequences of climate change, The Government of Zimbabwe, led by the Ministry of Environment, Climate and Wildlife, with the support of UNICEF Zimbabwe, has developed the Clean Green Zimbabwe Initiative. The programme aims to harness the power of children and young people as environmental stewards and change agents in communities and schools while providing climate-resilient services to allow them to survive, develop and thrive in a safe and clean environment.

Through the TUI Junior Academy project, the TUI Care Foundation has decided to support the kickstart of the Clean Green programme in Zimbabwe.

“Children and young people can play a pivotal role in conserving nature and wildlife when they are empowered to become ambassadors for a healthy and sustainable environment. This is at the core of the TUI Care Foundation’s Junior Academy Programme, which enables youngsters to safeguard nature and wildlife whilst also raising awareness about the splendour and vulnerability of the natural world,” said Alexander Panczuk, Executive Director of TUI Care Foundation.

Environment protection and Climate resilience are one of the key priorities in Zimbabwe’s National Development Strategy (NDS1). Greening schools, communities and cities are key to achieving these goals, and to protecting the rights of children and their communities to clean air, nutritious food, secure water, and a healthy and safe environment.

“By investing in our environment, we are investing in the future of our Nation. The Clean Green Zimbabwe Initiative will propel a whole of government approach to creating a legacy of sustainability, resilience and prosperity that will benefit generations to come. Together, as we seek to achieve the Vision 2030, let us seize this opportunity to transform young lives, protect our planet, and build a better Zimbabwe for all”, said Minister of Environment, Climate and Water, Honourable Nqobizitha M. Ndhlovu.

The Clean Green programme is built around three pillars. The Clean Green initiative will ensure that

  • Clean Green Schools have climate-resilient buildings, water, sanitation, hygiene and renewable energy services, along with practical learning spaces including nutrition gardens and tree nurseries; while equipping students with the skills and knowledge to enable young people to address climate change today and tomorrow.
  • Clean Green Communities have adequate environmental protection, climate-resilient water, sanitation, hygiene, nutrition, health, and protection services to ensure the health of children, as well as climate-smart agriculture.
  • Clean Green Urban Spaces protect children with healthy environments and green spaces; and climate-resilient water, sanitation, hygiene, nutrition and health services.

The TUI Junior Academy will support Clean Green Zimbabwe for three years, between 2024 and 2026, and will focus on the Clean Green Schools, to reach at least 81,000 children and 2640 teachers in 240 schools.

“When given the tools and space, children can be powerful agents of change. The Netherlands prioritizes young people in our work on human rights, the economy, and climate change. It is encouraging to see how The Clean Green Zimbabwe initiative will improve school spaces, and tailor them to support the next generation to live more sustainably. The diffusion of learning from the schools into families and the wider community will happen naturally over time, and yield results far into the future,” said Ambassador to the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Margret Verwijk.

The support from TUI Junior Academy aims to deliver a competency-based curriculum that takes into account health promotion and risk prevention, including climate risks. Support will go to teacher training and content delivery to students, to increase the number of children receiving environmental education and enabling nature-based experiences to raise awareness and empower children as change agents on climate and environment in their communities.

While it is critical for the world to focus on emissions reduction, today’s children require urgent adaptation interventions. The best investment in children now is to support them with the education and skills they will need to adapt to climate change and create a green transition to a better world.