Most if not, all global decisions taking to conserve the environment, men dominate the actors to women. Conversely, women are more committed in protecting the environment. According to the United Nation Environmental Programme (UNEP) publication on Gender equity and the Environment, Women do seem to be better attuned to the needs of the environment, and more committed to protecting it, than men. But until they are given at least an equal share in taking the decisions that determine how the world is run, there is little chance of stopping the sky metaphorically falling on our heads. For this to succeed, the girl child being future mothers and leaders, need to be imparted with an intimate understanding of the environment so as to place them at the forefront of the management and preservation of our natural environment.
Since 2012, The ERuDeF Institute of Biodiversity and Non-profit Studies has been working endlessly in educating primary and secondary school pupils and students in a beat to orient the minds of these young leaders to see the need in environmental conservation. This is done through environmental clubs and environmental advocacy weeks in communities and schools around protected areas in the Southwest Region.
Cameroon being a major biodiversity hotspot in Africa, serving as home to a wide range of species, spread across the IUCN Redlist, ranging from Gorilla gorilla diehli (CR), Pan troglodytes ellioti (EN), Loxodonta africanus cyclotis (VU), Mandrillus leucophaeus (EN) Caffer nanus (Vu), Conraua goliath (EN), Turaco bannermanii (CR), Oreas picathartes (NT) and lots of plants, amphibians and reptiles.
With the aim of preparing future women leaders in conservation, the ERuDeF Institute seeks to commence a pilot project call MISS ENVIRONMENT AWARD in the Southwest Region of Cameroon. The aim of this project is to build the capacity of the girl child in conservation leadership so that in the nearest future, women will be at the forefront of conservation and decision making.
To implement the project, the sum of US$200,000 shall be needed. Of this amount, the Outreach Department will use:
1) US$100,000 to organise a Miss Environment contest, selecting one winner in each Subdivisions of the seven Divisions in the Southwest Region. It will end up with a Regional Miss Environment.
2) US$500,000 to Build the capacity of the winners on leadership by facilitators from the President Obama Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI)
3) US$500,000 to Award meritorious laureates with financial remuneration to be used in supporting conservation activities in their communities and a network of young environmental advocates will be created in the region.
The selection will be through a very animating contest on environmental and cultural issues that encourage conservation. This project will expose more than 40,000 young people to conservation sensitisation. More than 5,000,000 people will effectively watch this through the national broadcaster, hence, motivating and educating more people on environmental protection and conservation issues. The young leaders selected from the various levels will be exposed to a one week leadership programme with facilitators from the President Obama Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) to be environmental ambassadors in their various subdivisions and communities.
The need to empower the girl child on environment conservation and other related issues is very paramount. Therefore, the coming together of environmental activists around the world to help empower the girl child in environmental leadership programmes is a prerogative in combatting climate change.