Here is the sixth in the Meet the Project Founders series.
So far we have met Stephen Smith of The Papillon Foundation @papilloncharity, Darlenys Romero @darlenys01 of SteemChurch Venezuela @sc-v, Gini Anacay Aala @aalagenesis of Creative Street @creativestreet, Imma Rojas of the Walk of Hope and Natty Bongo of Better Vision.
Today we are in Africa once more to get to know Ngalim Franklin of The Greens in Cameroon.
Ngalim, or Mr Green, as he is commonly known, is a geography teacher who runs The Greens, a grassroots environmental organization in north west Cameroon.
Ngalim Franklin of The Greens in Cameroon
1. Tell us a little about yourself... who you are, where you and what you do?
My name is Ngalim Franklin but a lot of people call me Mr Green (@mr-greens). I am a grassroots environmental activist, Founder/Executive Director of The Greens (@thegreens) and a geology teacher of Government High School Kedjom-Keku. I am married with three kids and resident in Bamenda, North West Region, Cameroon.
2. How did you find steem?
@martin.mikes introduced me to Steem late last year but I became very active this year.
3. Tell us about your project... what it does , where you operate, who you work with?
My organization, @thegreens, is a grassroots environmental organization that is working to educate, inspire and engage young people to take action to combat climate change and be at the forefront of biodiversity conservation and waste management.
We are doing this via a series of projects and programs. If i start to talk about all the different projects and programs we are implementing as well as their achievements, it may take you hours to read. However, i will like to talk about a few that are found on the Steem blockchain and are supported by @adollaraday - @ecodesigns and the Earth Rangers Program.
@ecodesigns is a textile recycling and fashion designing hub that is training young girls for free in textile recycling and fashion designing in a bid to curb female youth unemployment and poverty, reduce textile waste pollution and climate change, and improve the health and wellbeing of the underprivileged persons via the collection and distribution of free clothes and shoes.
The hub currently has 3 Training Directors and 13 trainees. By January 2019, two of our trainees will be graduating to start their own fashion designing and textile recycling business. @ecodesigns has already recycled more than 2000 pounds of textile waste this year and you know what this means to our environment.
The Earth Rangers Program is currently educating 19 young people and their families about environmental protection, inspiring them to adopt sustainable behaviors and empowering them to become directly involved in protecting the environment. This is all done via community service initiatives such as tree planting and an #EndPlasticPollution Campaign that is collecting and recycling plastic bottles into UPB Tree Nursery Pots, UPB Vertical Gardens etc.
The program seeks to create an Environmental Corps (Earth Rangers Corps) of young people who are aware and educated about local and global environmental issues, and inspired and engaged to advocate and act for environmental protection.
Through the program, we have collected and recycled more than 2000 plastic bottles but most important of all we have come up with two major innovations - the transformation of plastic bottles into tree nursery pots (UPB Tree Nursery Pots) and the transformation into vertical gardens (UPB Vertical Gardens).
Besides these two projects on Steem, we work in partnership with @kedjom-keku to conserve the afromontane forests of the Bamenda Highlands. So far, we have acquired 1000 hectares of degraded forests via a leasing partnership to effectively conserve them for 15 years.
We also have a weekly environmental radio program known as Green Radio that comes up every Saturday from 10am - 11am and we have already had more than 300 editions of this radio program since we started it in 2012.
These are just a few of the projects and programs we implement. I would like to talk about more but I think this is okay for now.
4. What made you decide to start your project?
Climate change, species extinction and poor waste management are some of the greatest challenges facing the young people of the world today. According to WWF, species extinction is rapidly accelerating at a rate 1000 to 10000 times higher than the natural extinction rate and we are currently experiencing the sixth mass extinction of plants and animals.
Besides species extinction, humans are gradually transforming the Earth into a pile of filth.
As if species extinction and pollution are not scary and frightening enough, humanity has greatly contributed to an increase in global temperatures over the last decade by burning fossil fuels, pumping tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere via diverse means.
Amidst all these challenges plaguing our world today, I realized young people who are the most hit are playing a very insignificant role in addressing these challenges and this explains why I founded The Greens (@thegreens) - to educate, inspire and engage young people to take action to combat climate change and be at the forefront of biodiversity conservation and waste management.
5. What do you enjoy most about running your project?
Giving hope to people is what inspires me. Whenever I look at the girls we are training at @ecodesigns, I get very inspired because I see how we are giving them knowledge and skills that will make their lives better in the future.
I really enjoy working with young people and perhaps this explains why I try to always tag along with a bunch of young people. Perhaps working with young people is what made me to become a teacher.
6. What do you enjoy least or find most difficult about running your project?
Lack of finances is my most pressing challenge. We are already doing a lot but this can be made easier if we have sufficient funds to finance our activities. I have had to work extra hard to raise money to finance our organization and this is a big challenge to me and to the organization.
One thing I am currently working on right now is to make the organization be capable of financing herself but we need finances to be able to achieve this goal. For instance, if we have enough sewing machines and materials for production, then @ecodesigns can produce a lot of textile upcycled products which we can sell and raise funds to finance our organization’s activities.
7. What are your hopes and plans for your project in five years time?
At @ecodesigns, I look forward to training and empowering at least 60 women and girls to become Eco-Fashion Designers and Textile Recylcers in 5 years.
With respect to the Earth Rangers Program, I look forward to creating a very powerful Environmental Corps (Earth Rangers Corps) of more than 500 Earth Rangers who are advocating and taking action to clean-up, fix-up and conserve the environment.
I look forward to establishing a plastic recycling hub and a tyre recycling hub next year that will function just like @ecodesigns and be able to train and empower young people to start businesses in plastic recycling and tyre recycling.
One of my wildest dreams is to train and empower at least 500 young people in 5 years to exploit the business opportunities in waste and become Waste Business Entrepreneurs (Wastepreneurs) and I will do this via a Waste Business Hub which already has @ecodesigns working on textile waste and fashion designing.
8. What advice would you give to anyone else thinking of starting a charitable project on the steem blockchain?
To everyone thinking of starting a charitable project, I want to say the Steem blockchain is the perfect place for you and your project. On Steem, you will able to learn, network with individuals and organizations and fundraise for your project and this is something you can’t find anywhere.
Steem has wonderful DApps such as @fundition that you can use to crowd fundraise for your project and its only on Steem that you can find individuals like @pennsif and charitable projects like @adollaraday. The Steem blockchain is a very supportive community for positive thinkers and change-makers.
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[ logo by @hungryhustle // photos provided by Ngalim Franklin of The Greens ]