Following a sponsored walk around the grounds and a talent show night in the School's Arts Centre, Ellesmere College Lower School pupils have recently succeeded in raising an impressive total of £3,000 for a project in Tanzania supported by the Green Belt Movement, whose leader, Wangari Maathai, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 for the organisation's work in Kenya.
The Green Belt Movement is working with Ellesmere College in a project called Monduli Green. It aims to reforest Monduli and return this barren eroded landscape to the dense forest it once was, by sending members of the Monduli community to training courses run by the Green Belt Movement. These courses will teach forest development and management. Alex Baine, a representative from the Green Belt Movement recently came to Ellesmere College to explain to the pupils about the organisation's philosophy, 'Plant Seeds of Hope'.
As part of his presentation to pupils, Alex Baine explained that unregulated logging has led to environmental degeneration in many parts of Africa. The lack of tree roots has meant that the soil is not binding sufficiently to contain water, resulting in erosion. Combined with climate change, the lack of trees has also spelt disaster for local rainfall patterns. Overall the result is lower crop yields, in turn leading to increased malnutrition for many communities, including Monduli. Furthermore, the distance to be walked to collect water or find grazing land for animals is much further than it once was. The Green Belt Movement aims to bring back the forests by educating local people, especially women, to grow and nurture trees, thus giving them the power to improve their environment and quality of life.
Alex Blaine explained, 'Through a teacher at the School, Cathy Allen, who has lived and worked in Africa, we are delighted that Ellesmere College has embraced the charity's work.' Four members of the Monduli community have just returned from Nairobi where they have completed a 2 week forestry training programme. Ellesmere College is the first UK school to work with The Green Belt Movement. Both organisations look forward to establishing a relationship which, in future years, could develop into educational visits and GAP year experiences.'
Sixth Form students also gave up considerable free time for several weeks to organise the fundraising events. Many of the Lower School pupils dressed-up for the sponsored walk and after tiring laps of the School site, amounting to 15kms, many of the children then went on to entertain family members at a talent show in the Arts Centre that evening. During a long interval the audience feasted on food from around the world which had been prepared by Ellesmere College's international students, as part of their fundraising support for the project.
1st July 2008 Back to News