Educating forest stewards in the Congo Basin
Several FSC initiatives in the Congo Basin have focused on inspiring and equipping young people with skills to lead better lives in harmony with nature in recent years. They include involving young people in conservation and environmental protection efforts. As an example, FSC engaged over 500 youth across schools in Cameroon during FSC Forest Week in September 2022. In addition, approximately 100 youth participated in its Young Talent competition in Gabon in the same period.
Besides educating future stewards in schools, FSC certificate holders also lead initiatives in and around their certified concessions to facilitate access to education. Rougier Gabon built and equipped a primary school in Mouyabi, a forest village in the province of Ogooue-Ivindo in the department of Lope in Gabon, in September 2022, while Precious Woods donations help the local government pay teachers in government primary school of Bambidie.
In the Republic of Congo, at the heart of the COVID-19 pandemic, INTERHOLCO funded the construction of toilets and a water system that provides access to clean water to 1,300 boys and girls in the government school of Ngombé in the northern part of the country.
Little forests stewards and a university platform in Eastern Africa
In 2021, supporting the creation of youth initiatives and educating young people about environmental and land issues was included as successful strategies for involving youth in a United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) report on youth participation. In collaboration with Colors & Crayons Nairobi, FSC Eastern Africa launched the FSC Little Forest Stewards Club in September 2022. The goal of the children's initiative is to motivate kids to actively participate in their nation's efforts to safeguard the forests.
Through a partnership with Tangaza University College, we established a platform to engage and educate youth both on and off campus about responsible forest management. The platform seeks to raise awareness and engage young people in environmental conservation and forest conservation.
Stewards of forests and environment in South Africa
In South Africa, FSC and Mondi Rotatrim, Mondi’s premium copy paper brand, are partnering with Pick n Pay School Club, an influential and dynamic public-private educational platform that reaches over two million learners and their families each year, to encourage learners to become young stewards of the forest and the environment. School Club is an educational initiative founded by grocery retail giant Pick n Pay Retailers, the second largest retailer in South Africa.
School Club has put together a workbook for grade 6 (11-12 year olds) on the forest value chain which is aligned to the South African school curriculum. In the KwaZulu-Natal province, where the Mondi paper mills are located, 30 primary schools will participate in this program. Once learners have completed the workbook, they will be asked to sign the FSC Forest Steward pledge to promise to love and protect forests.
Photo credits: INTERHOLCO / IFO