Barra Cleanup Success Story: Be The Seed
In celebration of Madiba’s centenary birthday, Africans from 11 different countries were encouraged to get clean about plastic pollution and waste. As part of our #ActforChange initiative hosted by Shoprite and Brownie Points, cleanup events were co-ordinated right across our continent. This was our chance to band together and make Mama Africa beautiful again.
In a past post we interviewed cleanup host Robert Paynter of Barra Wellness in Mozambique and his bold plan to plant a seed of pollution awareness in Barra Village. Here we take a quick recap of the day’s events and what we can learn not about short term success, but how to create long-term change.
On Saturday 14 July, a near empty school yard slowly gathered onlookers as kids trickled in to hear their principal speak about the danger of pollution and the determination of Mandela’s legacy. After an emphatic and moving speech gatherers were given rubbish bags by the community and zone leaders and set out to pick up litter.
More and more villagers joined from the youngest of the local kids to a woman with a baby on her back, as they merrily chanted “Baixo Lixo” (down with trash) and picked up the pieces of debris.
Despite the very basic facilities of this rural school, there had been previous effort to educate children about pollution. And they were reminded of this with each bag they deposited beneath the school sign: “The school is mine and I should keep it clean and good”.
The day was filled with laughter and renewed love for the environment. But unfortunately a one day event is not enough to create long term change. To be ultimately successful we need ongoing support of the government, local leaders, recycling programs and pollution awareness and education initiatives.
On passing by the school since the cleanup, it’s heart lifting to see bags of rubbish still piling up beneath the sign. But the question now is – who will take the trash away? And once the plastic bags that were given run out, who will replace them?
We’ve planted the seed but in order for it to grow we need the the nurture and support from do gooders and officials across Mozambique, an indeed Africa to continue the good work this campaign has sown.
And here is where you can help. Sign up as a volunteer on Brownie Points and see what seeds of change you can nurture in your communities.