Greenpop has released the programme of events for their fifth annual Festival of Action in Livingstone, Zambia. The event takes place over three weeks from 25 June to 17 July and the programme consists of a variety of workshops, activations and events that seek to address a wide range of environmental challenges in the area including deforestation, waste management and food security.
A group of more than 200 volunteers, including local, regional and international activists, will gain hands-on experience, challenge their minds to spark off ideas for a greener future, and get elbow deep in Zambia’s red soil planting trees at schools and communities around Livingstone!
Greenpop is a Cape Town-based social enterprise on a mission to connect people with our planet. The organisation plants trees through urban greening and reforestation projects, spreads environmental awareness through workshops, and activates people through green festivals. Greenpop was founded in 2010 and has since planted over 66,000 trees at beneficiary locations and forests across Southern and East Africa.
The Greenpop Zambia Festival of Action
Greenpop has hosted the Zambia Festival of Action, an annual activation and service learning project, in Livingstone since 2012. Over the last four years, the project has evolved from having a singular focus on tree planting to taking a more plural approach; eco-enterprise workshops, permaculture activities, food forest projects, public art activations, waste management training, skills development and leadership take centre stage. There have been many successes during the project’s span, and Zambia Environmental Management Agency recently awarded Greenpop the 2016 Environmental Activism Award. Greenpop Director Benjamin Mibenge, a resident of Livingstone, was present to collect it.
The Zambia Festival of Action 2016 is a holistic, impact-focussed event that has environmental education, interventions and inspiration at its core. It is now an emersion in sustainability – a conference of active citizenship and skills sharing that leaves participants ready to tackle challenges in their own communities.There are several notable highlights to look forward to during this year’s Festival of Action.
The Great African Cook-Off Zambia, hosted at Maramba Cultural Village by Greenpop in conjunction with Nottingham University, is a cooking competition with a twist! Selected chefs and cooks from the local community will test and experiment with a variety of rocket stove designs to compare and contrast their effectiveness as a low-fuel replacement for traditional coal braziers, the use of which contributes to deforestation for charcoal production. The Cook-Off will be a fun way of introducing alternative technologies to local Zambians and Festival participants, and is aimed to inspire conversation and dialogue around alternative cooking strategies.
Artist, conceptual designer and creative thinker Heath Nash has become world renowned thanks to his ground-breaking lighting designs made from recycled plastic, and this year he joins the Festival to facilitate workshops around art and creativity in mobilising change. In addition, Ilizwi Photo Club and Penda Trust will collaborate to run a photography workshop with local youths during the Festival of Action, with a focus on basic photography story-telling skills, social issues and the raising of awareness through visual imagery.
Alex Paullin of the Conservation Music Project, a grassroots movement to foster a global culture of sustainable development through locally created educational music and film, joins the event to host a variety of interactive and self expressive sessions aimed at inspiring people to enjoy a public act of music-making, silliness and fun.
Environmental & Sustainability Activations
Southern Africa’s foremost tree expert, Meg Coates Palgrave, once again returns to lead Greenpop’s tree identification courses. These courses teach the basics of tree identification with a focus on local and indigenous species.
The event also includes a series of Asset Based Community Development workshops, including focused workshops on bee-keeping and Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR). Natural Building workshops will impart skills and knowledge on the art of natural building using natural and upcycled materials, and a series of Eco-Enterprise Workshops will highlight the key strategies for creating a socially- and environmentally-friendly business, and include mentorship and support from professionals in this field. This workshop will serve as an incubator for local solutions to local issues, and is open to Festival participants and youths aged 18-26 from Zambian youth programmes such as the UNICEF Climate Ambassadors Programme and the YMCA.
“For the youth to become innovators, for the youth to become entrepreneurs, for the youth to start creating their own solutions: it starts with imagination,” says Greenpop Tree-E-O Misha Teasdale.
There will also be a series of Permaculture Workshops open to both attendees of the Festival of Action and members of the public, the focus of which will be to provide a basic introduction to the concepts, methods and strategies for implementing small organic agricultural systems.
Greenpop plants trees and has fun doing it! Greenpop’s famous tree-planting activations continue to form an integral part of the event, and this year they will include community tree-planting events, school-based education days, and the creation of forest gardens around the area that draw on ideas from permaculture, agroforestry and regenerative agriculture to create small-scale food and medicine-producing ecosystems that support homeowners in improving their access to healthy foods.
Participation projects at the Festival of Action are open only to participants, but Greenpop will be hosting a series of Open Days which members of the public can attend during the event.
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