Thursday, February 13, 2014

BAJ-Gambia Social Secretary Among 2014 Earth Hour Champions

Mamadou Edrisa Njie Social Secretary BAJ-Gambia

If a civilisation is judged by the wisdom of its ways, the 21stcentury owes considerable gratitude to one journalist cum social justice activist in The Gambia Mr Mamadou Edrisa Njie’s of using  the social media-digital journalism- in the past few years which has revolutionized the way Gambian people understand their relationship with the social media. 
“Congratulations on your successful selection to join WalktoMali! We received a record 77 number of applications from 20 countries and the quality of these was truly unparalleled. So you have every reason to feel proud for being selected as a WalktoMali participant.Bravo again!” writes Mr. Oludotun Babayemi, country director, WWF-Earth Hour Nigeria. 
On January 18, 2014 twelve Earth Hour Champions, including our own Mamadou Edrisa Njie, Biodiversity Action Journalists- The Gambia (BAJ-Gambia) social secretary set out to empower 14 local communities in the West Africa region. 

TheWalktoMali campaign engaged 12 Earth Hour Champions who embark on a 3,404km round road trip, from Nigeria to Mali, between Saturday January 18and Saturday, March 15, 2014.
The campaign is an annual affair and the Earth Hour team in Nigeria launched WalktoMali to promote the culture of peace and environmental sustainability across seven West African countries. The 3,404km round road trip WalktoMalitakes the 12 champions through Nigeria, Niger, Mali, Cote D’ivoire, Ghana, Togo and Benin.  

Njie, a participant in the two-month project says “Earth Hour is the single largest mass participation event of its kind in the world. But it only works if you're in. Because Earth Hour is about you and me – the beautiful, bold idea that all of us together can inspire climate action. And in 2014, we're launching something new. Are you in?” 

This campaign, he explained, would take them through about 7 West Africa countries and reach out to a staggering 100 million people in West Africa - 1,500 children, 7 humanitarian camps, 5 landmarks, 14 local communities and 6 UNESCO heritage sites and 7 local radio stations.

In an interview with BAJ-Gambia eNewsletter shortly before his departure at the Banjul International Airport, Mr Njie said for the past few years, Earth Hour has made an impact in the world. “For 2014, we want to make an even greater one with your help,” he added. 

Njie who is also the Editorial Assistant and Newsroom Coordinator at The Gambia News and Report Weekly Magazine, Communications Officer Global Youth Innovation Network (GYIN) International Coordination Team and National Coordinator for GYIN-Gambia mentioned that the WalktoMali is an initiative of the Earth Hour Team in Nigeria and the Earth Hour Global Team

He added: “It 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 organise 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.  
 “We believe that there is a connection between environmental sustainability, especially with respect to Climate Change, and peace. Because of the 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.

“Consequently, it has become pertinent to promote peace and create more awareness on the importance of environmental sustainability - which remains the main objective of the WalktoMali,” said BAJ-Gambia social secretary. 
 The activities during the project, he said,  includes advocacy visits to seven humanitarian camps to present relief materials to displaced children, 7 local Media Houses, and Government Institutions Capacity Building for 1, 500 children on promoting the culture of peace and encouraging environmental sustainability within local communities, Live Mapping of places of interest [camps, roads, schools, health centers, water pumps] along our way and facilitating of vulnerability maps for the 14 local communities and Community outreach [Education] in 14 local communities to distribute communication materials on promoting the culture of peace and provision of 2,800 solar lamps and 1,000 clean cook stoves.  

Earth Hour is a worldwide event organized by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) encouraging households and businesses to turn off their non-essential lights for one hour to raise awareness about the need to take action on climate change.  

Earth Hour is the single, largest, symbolic mass participation event in the world. Born out of a hope that we could mobilize people to take action on climate change, the campaign inspires a global community of millions of people in 7,001 cities and towns across 152 countries and territories to switch lights off for an hour as a massive show of concern for the environment. 

The Earth Hour event was conceived by WWF 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. 

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