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Meet Doyinsola Ogunye: Nigeria’s young radical environmentalist

Today we celebrate Nigerian environmentalist, Doyinsola Ogunye who has made it her lifetime task to take care of the environment and teach young kids about their natural habitat.

Since 2009, Doyinsola Ogunye has been treading a rare path, cleaning the environment. Her social media pages are filled with the mantra, “clean up!’”. From going to the dirtiest beach in Lagos to pick bottle tops, to educating members of the environs about the need to clean up their environment, Doyinsola’s message has been consistent for the past nine years.

In a country where not many citizens pay attention to the environment, Doyinsola stands out for her remarkable work. Unlike countries such as Kenya and Rwanda where plastic bags have been banned as part of efforts to protect the environment, and to reduce unnecessary waste, Nigeria stands in contrast with its lacklustre attitude to implement laws towards protecting the environment.

Doyinsola is founder of the Mental and Environmental Development Initiative for Children (MEDIC) under which initiatives such as Kids Clean Club, Kids Beach Garden and Kids 4 Clean Seas were started. The initiatives ventured into teaching young children about the importance of taking care of the environment.  MEDIC aims to “help build a cleaner and united world where children are the purifiers and the spear-head of the revolution,” according to the organisation’s website.

Read: DRC ex-child soldier and park ranger Rodrigue Katembo wins Goldman Environmental Prize

The organisation believes the involvement of young people is fundamental saying, “we are poised to instil in every child, the trait of global cleanliness, global safety and patriotism and to reach every home, school, and the religious institution through the children.”

Read: Commemorating World Environmental Day: Are You With Nature?

In July 2009, Doyinsola, a law graduate from the University of Lagos joined the then Governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Fashola on a tree planting exercise. She also spearheaded the creation of Nigeria’s first ever Kids’ Garden (a haven for kids to mix and learn while having fun), the first ever recycling awareness day events, which occurred on August 20 and October 1, 2011 in Lekki and VGC, Lagos, respectively in collaboration with the Lagos Waste Management Authority.

Currently, Doyinsola is participating in the #SimpleChangeBigImpact challenge organised by Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB). Her project idea involves recycling bottle tops to create sand castle building materials and toys for underprivileged children living in coastal communities.

She has fervently fought for the ban of nylon bags, advocating for the use of paper bags. If there is a sector that Nigeria pays little attention to, it’s the environment. It is encouraging that young activists such as Doyinsola are doing a lot to protect the environment.

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Hi! My name is Doyinsola Ogunye , I’m the founder of the @kidsbeachgarden in Ikate Lekki Lagos and I have been working in the environmental sector since 2009 I’ve educated children about waste management and it’s effect on our environment and organised a whole lot of #beachcleanups in my community 😁! Since 2015, I have come to realise that there are more bottle tops on the shorelines than sea shells 🤦🏽‍♀️! I grew up playing on the shorelines of Lagos State with sand and sand castle toys. I have been to various coastal communities and the children don’t even know what this means . My #bigidea is to #RECYCLE BOTTLE TOPS and convert them into SANDCASTLE TOYS for children in coastal communities that can’t afford this . Sandcastle building encourage children to be imaginative , creative and artistic . By doing this we will not only be saving our oceans and environment we will be creating jobs as well! I can’t wait to encourage everyone to recycle so children can create , imagine and simply enjoy being kids . Thank you @gtbank cos I know you will make this possible . 😁😁😁 #SimpleChangeBigImpact #mysandcastlestory

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