On Friday 16 October, WAGGGS co-hosted the Virtual Youth Summit of the Tide Turners Plastic Challenge- Africa where more than 400 young Africans were honoured for their leadership in addressing plastic pollution as part of the Tide Turners Plastic Challenge.
The event was co-hosted in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) , the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM), and Junior Achievement (JA) with political leaders, senior UN officials and Grammy-nominated Ghanaian musician Rocky Dawuni lauding the leadership shown by young people in their efforts to fight plastic pollution.
"As a former Girl Guide, I am very proud of Tide Turners and all the inspiring young people who are part of it; so far, more than 50,000 young people in 18 countries across Africa have joined this important programme. Let's continue this momentum, adding seven more countries to reach youth in nearly half of all African countries."
Funded by the United Kingdom, the Tide Turners Plastic Challenge has been completed by more than 225,000 young people in over 25 countries. Thousands of girls from Girl Guide Associations across Africa including The Gambia, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Uganda, Madagascar, Nigeria and Zimbabwe, have taken part and earned their badge – the first ever Scout and Girl Guide Badge made from recycled plastic.
Activities, all girl-led and initiated, have ranged from using discarded single-use plastic to make rope, clothing, planters, and even pavements to raising awareness about plastic pollution too.
We met virtually to celebrate their achievements and to create space for others to hear about their work, with more than 364 Girl Guides and Girl Scouts attending.
“One of the Tide Turner champions and speakers at the Summit, Ellyanne Wanjiku, is one of the girls I really respect. She inspired me to do the things she did as a young environmentalist and proved to me that young people do have the power. We do not have to wait for our local authorities or a high-powered individual to improve things. Instead, she made me recognise that I can start making changes myself and that we all have the ability to do so. I feel inspired to begin my journey as a plastic Tide Turner.”
“I was inspired by the individual efforts and advocacy campaigns run by the Scouts and Guides to eliminate plastic pollution. After attending this summit, I would like to run a campaign along with my fellow Guides from Pakistan. I would like to start a campaign with community shopkeepers and convince them to stop the use of disposable plastic items.”
Who can participate?
If you are a young person (11-35 years of age) or represent a youth club and have the desire to make a difference, register for the challenge and embark on your journey to becoming a Tide Turner Champion today.
Tide Turner Champions in Action
Let us introduce you to Mia, a Brownie and Tide Turners Champion with Girl Guides Malaysia. She made this video to tell you about marine plastic pollution and what we can do to tackle it. If you like it, please share it.