Over four hundred Tide Turners Champions from across Africa were honored at the Tide Turners Plastic Challenge – African Youth Virtual Summit for their leadership in addressing plastic pollution in their communities. The summit is part of the Tide Turners Plastic Challenge funded by DEFRA – UK government. These champions have all completed the three levels of the Tide Turners Plastic Challenge Badge and displayed great leadership by raising awareness through social media, championing plastic waste collection campaigns and demonstrating sustainability.
Held on October 16th, the virtual summit was a high-level event patronized by key political leaders, senior United Nations officials, JA Africa member nations and executive members from both the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM) and the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS). The representatives lauded the efforts of these young champions during the virtual summit and cheered them on to do more, involve more communities and continue to remain focused on reaching their goal to beat plastic pollution in Africa.
“I am so excited about this program that we have done together with UNEP because it really leverages the scale and impact of Junior Achievement. Mobilizing young people to have access to the entrepreneurial mindset that the #PlasticTideTurners challenge allows them to have is on mission for JA and important for the world.”- Asheesh Advani CEO, JA Worldwide expressed during the summit.
The virtual Africa Youth Summit was attended by over 1,200 people, spanning 81 countries. Grammy-nominated Ghanaian musician Rocky Dawuni – a UNEP Goodwill Ambassador – addressed the summit attendees and later performed some of his hit songs including “Rock Your Soul.”
Fyona Seesurrun, a JA Africa Tide Turners challenge champion from Mauritius, was one of six champions given the opportunity to sharing her impact story during the summit. “Change always starts by setting an example and joining the Tide Turners challenge gave me a great platform to pass on the message against plastic waste and share my solutions,” she said.
In March 2020, JA Africa partnered with the United Nations Environment Programme on an Africa-wide online campaign to inform, engage, and activate youth on plastic pollution, through the Tide Turners Plastic Challenge. The campaign offers young people the opportunity to learn and act on key environmental issues that are affecting their communities. The campaign engaged over 2 million African youth with more than 50,000 young people taking initiatives to end plastic pollution in Africa.
Phase 3 of the Tide Turners challenge is set to launch in 2021, and will include a new challenge element, co-created with the Tide Turner champions, which will focus on influencing policy and practice change at a macro level.