The Green Living Guy

Greenpop has released the program of events for its fifth annual Festival of Action in Livingstone, Zambia. The event takes place over three weeks, from 25 June to 17 July. The program consists of various 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! 

About Greenpop

Greenpop is a Cape Town-based social enterprise on a mission to connect people with our planet. The organization plants trees through urban greening and reforestation projects. Moreover, it 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-focused 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.

Creative Activations

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 mobilizing 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. For instance, 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. It’s all about building natural and upcycled materials. Not to mention a series of Eco-Enterprise Workshops to highlight the key strategies for creating a socially and environmentally friendly business. That’s in addition to mentorship and support from professionals in this field. This workshop will serve as an incubator for local solutions to local issues. It’s open to Festival participants and youths ages 18-26 from Zambian youth programs 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. It’s open to both attendees of the Festival of Action and members of the public. The focus of this will be to provide a basic introduction to the concepts, methods, and strategies. All for implementing small organic agricultural systems.

Tree Planting

Greenpop plants trees and has fun doing it! Greenpop’s famous tree-planting activations continue to form an integral part of the event. Therefore, this year they will include community tree-planting events and school-based education days. Not to mention the creation of forest gardens around the area. The focus is to draw on permaculture, agroforestry, and regenerative agriculture ideas. It’s all to create small-scale food and medicine-producing ecosystems that support homeowners in improving their access to healthy foods.

More information

Participation projects at the Festival of Action are open only to participants. However, Greenpop will be hosting a series of Open Days that members of the public can attend during the event.

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