Friday, January 24, 2014

BAJ social secretary among 2014 'Earth Hour champions'

Cropped image of Mamadou Edrisa Njie at the signing of a memorandum of understanding between GYIN and Visaca Apex (Photo Credit: Mansa Banko)

The Social Secretary of Biodiversity Action Journalists (BAJ-The Gambia), Mamadou Edrisa Njie, is taking part in this year’s Earth Hour, a two months project set out to empower 14 local communities in the West Africa.

The Earth Hour Walk-to-Mali will engage 12 Earth Hour Champions that will embark on a 3,404km round road trip from Nigeria to Mali from January 18 to March 15, 2014.

Set in motion by the Earth Hour Team in Nigeria and the Earth Hour Global Team, the Walk-to-Mali initiative was born out of the “I Will If You Will Campaign” of the Earth Hour at the beginning of 2013.

In March 2013, the Team made a commitment to organize a Peace Walk to Mali, if 20,000 signatures were received to petition the Federal Government of Nigeria to pass the still "pending" Climate Change Bill.

The organisers said they believe that there is a connection between environmental sustainability (especially with respect to climate change) and Peace. They noted that due to shrinking of community resources caused by climate change, citizens tend to move to places where resources are still available, thus leading to conflict.

“Much of these have been witnessed in some West African countries,” they said.

Mr Njie, who is also the National Coordinator the Global Youth Innovation Network Gambia chapter, said it has become pertinent to promote the culture of peace and create more awareness on the importance of environmental sustainability - which remains the main objective of the Walk-to-Mali.

This campaign will take them through seven West Africa countries to reach 1,500 children, seven humanitarian camps, five landmarks, 14 local communities, six UNESCO heritage sites and seven local radio stations, according to Njie.

“This campaign will enable us to reach out to about 100 million people in West Africa,” he said.

Activities during the walk will include advocacy visits, community vulnerability mapping, community outreach, and capacity building, explains Njie, also an acting Editorial Assistant and Newsroom Coordinator at The Gambia News and Report Weekly Magazine.

The Earth Hour was conceived by World Wildlife Fund and Leo Burnett, and first took place in 2007 in Sydney when 2.2 million residents participated by turning off all non-essential lights. Following Sydney's lead, many other cities around the world adopted the event.

Written by Modou S. Joof

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