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HomeMagazineDerbyWildlife Trust project connects Derby communities to nature 

Wildlife Trust project connects Derby communities to nature 


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International Girl Child Day, African Girl and Education

Girl Day is celebrated every year on October 11 as an opportunity to raise awareness about the unique challenges faced by girls around the world, especially in Africa, and the importance of providing them with quality education. In this article, we explore the Day's importance in the context of education in Africa, the challenges faced by girls, and initiatives aimed at improving their access to education. Education is a human right and the basis of personal and social development. However, African girls often face many barriers that prevent them from accessing education. These issues may be cultural, economic or political, but they all contribute to gender inequality in education. Girls' Day provides an opportunity to address these issues and work for gender equality in education.One of the most important problems faced by girls in Africa is early marriage and pregnancy. Cultural norms in many African societies dictate that girls should marry at a young age, often forcing them to drop out of school. Additionally, the lack of comprehensive sex education can lead to unintended pregnancies, further hindering their educational progress. Initiatives that raise awareness about the importance of delaying marriage and pregnancy until after completing their education are crucial.Another major obstacle is poverty. Many families in Africa struggle to meet basic needs, and education can be costly due to expenses like uniforms, books, and transportation. Girls are often the first to be withdrawn from school when a family faces financial constraints. To address this issue, scholarships, school donation programs, and affordable school supplies can help reduce the financial burden on families and support girls' education.Additionally, especially in rural areas, the distance to school will prevent girls from going to school. Unsafe travel and long distances can put them at risk. Building more schools and providing transportation closer to communities could help solve this problem. In many African countries, boys are expected to be encouraged in education and girls are expected to work within the family. It is important to change these attitudes and promote the value of girls' education. Social awareness programs and inclusive education programs that challenge stereotypes can play a key role.Child labor is another problem affecting girls. Many girls have to work to support their families, leaving little time for education. Government policies and international organizations can work to eliminate child labor and ensure girls have the opportunity to go to school.Unfortunately, conflicts and conflict in many parts of Africa have disrupted education and made it difficult for girls to access education. Efforts to build peace and improve education in post-conflict regions are critical to providing girls with a stable and safe learning environment.One of the best ways to improve educational opportunities for girls in Africa is to support and train female teachers. Many female teachers can act as role models and make it easier for girls to stay in school by creating an inclusive environment.Investing in girls' education in Africa has many long-term benefits. It can break the cycle of poverty, improve women's health, and promote gender equality. Girls who receive an education are more likely to make informed decisions about their health, family, and career. They are also more likely to become financially independent and contribute to their communities and economies. Several organizations, both local and international, are actively working to improve the education of girls in Africa. Plan International, UNICEF, and the Malala Fund are just a few examples. They provide resources, advocacy, and support to ensure that girls have equal access to quality education.In conclusion, Girl Child Day serves as a reminder of the challenges faced by girls in Africa when it comes to education. The challenges they face are many and include cultural barriers, financial constraints, and gender stereotypes. But through a combination of advocacy, policy change, and organizational efforts, progress can be made to ensure that girls receive a quality education just like boys. Investing in girls' education is not only a human rights issue but also a key driver of economic growth in Africa. This is something worth celebrating and encouraging on Girls' Day and every day.

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A campaign has been launched to put residents of the inner city back in touch with their local wildlife. 

Nextdoor Nature is a UK-wide initiative by the Wildlife Trusts which gets communities involved with nature in their area. 

The project began in July of last year and is funded by £5 million from the National Lottery Heritage Fund in celebration of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. 

Adam gets his handy dirty planting bulbs on the Alvaston canal path (Image credit: Adam Dosunmu Slater)

Adam Dosunmu Slater, from Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, is one of fifty community organisers for the project.

He is working to reconnect people in Derby City with nature, particularly in the areas Normanton, Arboretum and Alvaston. 

He said: “It’s been a new approach for the Wildlife Trust having this community organising role. 

“This approach is all about going out to communities and finding out what they would like to see and supporting them in doing that.”

Adam has been working closely with communities who may have less access to Wildlife Trust projects, such as ethnic minority and disabled groups.

He said: “A big focus for us is about bringing nature to communities that don’t usually access it as well as others do.

“In my role I have worked really closely with two Black groups in Derby – the Hadhari Project and Derby West Indian Community Association. Both those projects have been great.”

The Hadhari Project is looking for funding to create a community garden, and the West Indian centre has created a social action project about nature and growing food. 

Adam said: “A big thing about working with minority communities is showing that climate change is not just a fight in the UK but it’s also a fight back home.

“We did work with the Pakistan Community Centre, and not long ago Pakistan had devastating floods which displaced millions of people. 

“There are similar situations in the Caribbean. If you go to the Caribbean and speak to people, they’ll tell you that climate change is a real issue.”

Todd Jerm painted a mural on Normanton Road (Image credit: Adam Dosunmu Slater)

One of Adam’s proudest moments during this project has been creating a green corridor between Normanton and Arboretum Park. 

The idea was to create pockets of green space which are beneficial for nature and the community. 

The first area they targeted was Society Place, which Adam said used to be a hotspot for anti-social behaviour and fly-tipping. 

The Wildlife Trust decided to get children at Arboretum Primary School involved by holding a design competition. 

Adam said: “The winning designs were put into place and now you can see fruit trees and planters. It’s really made a big impact on the wildlife but also on the social issues which have been drastically reduced.

“The children said it made them feel really proud, especially the two children who had the winning designs. 

“It’s nice to have young people involved because often they don’t get a chance to have ownership over their community.”

The next area on the green corridor is on Normanton Road where plants were dying and creating an eyesore for residents.

Adam and the Wildlife Trust worked with the Pakistan Community Centre and Derby City Council to uplift the look of the area by creating a mural.

Colourful paintings of local birds brighten up Normanton Road (Image credit: Jamie Morris/Mojatu)

They asked young people at the community centre to draw pictures which formed the main ideas for the mural, which was painted by the artist Todd Jerm. 

Adam said: “It’s been brilliant to see people’s reactions. They were quite sad about this walkway. 

“It was all graffiti spray paint and now it’s a beautiful mural with a nice community message. 

“It shows that with a little bit of effort and creativity that you can make these little changes and improve the area that you live in.”

Adam said his main goal with this project is to inspire others to do similar work where they live.

He said: “We would like to see pockets of green space redeveloped across the UK and we hope projects like this can show people that they do have ownership over their community.”

Adam highlighted how important it is for people in inner city areas to connect with nature for their well-being.

“Nature is not only good for our physical health but also is brilliant for our mental health. 

“I would always encourage people to access nature”, he said.


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