Friday February 11, 2011
When girls think green
The environment, climate change, oxygen, trees, ozone layer, marine, pollution, littering, and girl power – were just some of the terms that 19 young girls discussed at a two-day Gender and Climate Justice Workshop organised by the Fiji Women’s Rights Movement (FWRM) last weekend.
Known as the Green Girls, these 10-12 year old budding environmentalists helped setup a nursery housing 100 seedlings, which they committed to nurturing for an entire month and eventually planting on 8th March to mark the 100th year of International Women’s Day (IWD).
According to FWRM Executive Director Virisila Buadromo, the main objectives of this workshop were to raise awareness about the link between gender justice and climate justice and to encourage young girls to get involved in environmental sustainability.
“Our Green Girls were all so energetic and eager to learn! While all of them had fun on Saturday in activities where they learnt about the environment and climate change, they were especially excited about setting up the nursery and identifying their seedlings on Sunday,” she said.
The Green Girls Project comes under FWRM’s Young Women Leadership Programme. Last year a similar workshop was organised to celebrate International Women’s Day, where a different group of young girls were taught screen printing. They printed their own ‘slogan’ t-shirts depicting the 2010 IWD theme. The t-shirts were then exhibited for three weeks at the Vodafone flag-ship shop in Suva and later returned to the participants.
This year however, with support from the British High Commission, FWRM held an inter-active one-day workshop (on Saturday February 5th) where the girls heard from other environmental enthusiasts - former Miss South Pacific Mere Nailatikau and Econesian Society’s Sainimere Veitata.
“We acknowledge the support the British High Commission has accorded us in making this project a reality. This is the second consecutive year that the British Government has supported the leadership development of Fiji’s young girls. An investment that we at FWRM are grateful for,” said Buadromo.
Then on the second day (Sunday February 6th) the young girls helped setup a nursery next to Muanikau Police Post (along the Queen Elizabeth Drive, Nasese).
Buadromo further added that the reason the Muanikau Police Post compound was chosen as the site for the nursery was because it was a safe and accessible place for the young girls to come and water the plants during the next month.
The nursery has 100 trees seedlings which include the following indigenous plants – Yaka, Tadalo, Laubu, Kuasi, Sacau, Dakua, Vesi Wai, Vesi, Yasiyasi, Kavika ni Viti, Velau and Cevuya.
It also includes introduced plants such as Tavola, Kavika ni Vavalagi, Baumuri, Sekoula, Koka, Marasa and Lauci.
During the two-days all the girls were quite vocal when it came to environmental issues.
Green Girls Shakira Keni, 10, and Sarah Best, 10, wanted to be part of the project because “wanted to help take care of the environment”.
Similarly, as a Green Girl Ayoshi Nand, 12, hoped to “stop pollution, take care of plants and animals and plant trees”.
According to 12-year-old Isabelle Koi, aside from planting trees, people should also save energy (and carpool, for instance) to save the environment.
The Green Girls, along with other interested women volunteers (altogether making up a 100 women) will plant 100 trees to celebrate the 100th year of IWD on 8th March.