Spotlight: Little Hands Go Green
April 8, 2015
Every day people around the world are looking for innovative solutions to the great issue that impacts us all—climate change. One of the more innovative solutions that we have seen is that of Uganda’s Little Hands Go Green, an organization started by Ugandan native Joseph Masembe that emphasizes green education in children in order to create positive change for the future. In an interview with Mr. Masembe, he said that his intentions when creating Little Hands Go Green was to teach children stewardship and ownership of their environment through giving them the opportunity to participate in small acts of green such as tree planting. Since the organization’s launch in May 2012, over 105,000 fruit tree have been planted in schools and homes around Uganda by children who receive their seedlings from Little Hands Go Green. The reason that Little Hands Go Green uses fruit trees is so that young children may plant the tree and when they are older benefit from its fruits, therefore establishing a strong bond between the child and the act of green they performed and consequently a stronger bond with nature and our planet. With each tree successfully planted that survives to see its first fruits, the child who planted that tree will receive a certificate for their achievement—an effective way of using positive reinforcement to keep these children engaged and excited about past and future acts of green. Uganda’s Little Green Hands puts on several different events each year including a Green Christmas festival this past December where the president of Uganda came and planted a tree with children in the capitol city of Kampala, the first time a Ugandan president has ever participated in such an event.
Another very important part of the work that Mr. Masembe is doing through Little Hands Go Green is the International Children’s Climate Change Conference which will take place on Earth Day this year! This conference is led and moderated by children who have shown interest and are passionate about the environment and climate change. The theme of this year’s conference is ‘The Child Citizen,’ with the goal of empowering every attendee with the knowledge that they can create change through enabling them to create their own solutions such as taking part in smaller actions and getting their communities’ involved in the green movement. Masembe state that one of the biggest issues that faces Africa as a continent mostly comprised of developing states is that many people do not think that climate change affects them, and it is his hope that by empowering children to create change that this mindset will begin to change now and will not be an issue in the future. Furthermore, Mr. Masembe believes that these children will be able to come up with much simpler and more effective small-scale ideas given their ability to not be tied down by things such as political and economic implications. His approach and widely recognized success with the programs implemented by Little Hands Go Green is truly innovative and we hope that other organizations will be able to follow his model with similar success. Mr. Masembe so perfectly summed up why his work is so important by saying: “Children are our future and we must invest in them and teach them love and respect for our environment.” The work that Mr. Masembe and Uganda’s Little Hands Go Green have done is truly instances of people standing up and saying that It’s Our Turn to Lead.
Victoria Miller, Intern