Jos Green Centre — the youth-led centre in Nigeria working for the environment and their local communities

“The most important aspect is through the values reorientation that begins our process of engagement with communities.”

The Jos Green Centre Members

Jos Green Centre is a youth-led activist centre in Nigeria. The members of the centre volunteer their time to help protect the environment whilst also supporting their local communities. The projects run by the centre supports low income families by providing solar electricity created from electric waste that would otherwise become a hazard to the area.

The Jos Green Centre not only provides low income households with renewable electricity, but they also train young people in how to create their own solar panels; resulting in people moving away from charcoal and kerosene, becoming less reliant on these fossil fuels.

Because of their amazing work to protect the environment whilst also supporting their community, they won 2020’s Overseas Inspiration Award.

We spoke to them to find out why they do the work they do, and what they hope will happen in the future.

Your work not only helps the environment but it also helps local communities. What would you say has been the most important part of your work?

“The most important aspect of our work is not the tangible and material changes we make in communities. It is truly not in the electricity that is lighting homes through the solar panels we installed. Even though without a doubt the increase in productivity, and access to ease and comfort the electricity brings can be seen and makes us happy. But the most important aspect is through the values reorientation that begins our process of engagement with communities. It is in hearing a young girl who thought she may not amount to much, be empowered to see herself as more than being a community statistic. This is further enhanced when by herself, with her limited education, after our workshop, she builds a solar charge controller, and sees it installed in her family house. Hearing this young lady speak about herself after our engagement is truly invaluable.”

What further changes would you like to see in 2021 to protect our planet?

“Like most people, it might be easy to say we would like to see our planet rid of COVID19 because of the way it changed our lives. And because we saw the very harsh way it affected our communities. But we would also like to see single use plastics not in use and littering our planet. We would also like to see more flourishing green spaces and less deforestation.”

Installing solar panels on a house.

What advice would you give to other groups that want to help protect the environment and help their community but don’t know where to start?

“Start. Even if it is by writing down the idea of how you would like to engage with the community. Then realistically take stock of the resources you have as a group be it; your time, your talent, your abilities, your physical and financial resources.

We looked into our networks and saw we knew someone who knew someone. Through these networks, we had access to government agencies that helped make our first project easier. It wasn’t easy but through our network, we were able to secure permission to clear advertisement flex banners littering the city of Jos, and those amongst us who could sew, committed some time and converted these banners into shopping bags. This we used to hold our first community engagement on the use and misuse of single-use plastics on a World Environment Day Celebration. With taking a project one piece at a time, and looking at our own individual resources and putting them to use, Jos Green Centre was able to launch and engage with our community for a greater good.”

If you know of any other inspirational oversees projects why not nominate them for this years Green Heart Hero Awards?

Head to https://www.theclimatecoalition.org/green-heart-hero-award-nominations-2021 to submit your nomination.

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