Greenpop is an award-winning social enterprise working in Southern Africa. They believe in (re)connecting people with our planet. Their mission is to green under-greened areas and empower a bright future of active citizens, which is achieved through planting trees, spreading education and creating active green experiences. Greenpop was founded in 2010 and has since planted over 70,000 trees at schools and other urban sites as well as forests and farms across South Africa, Zambia, and Tanzania. Over one hundred thousand people have got their hands dirty to plant these trees and have been inspired to get active in their environments.
Zambia Festival of Action
You can join Greenpop for their annual service learning event in Livingstone, Zambia. There is even a special High Schools Programme.
The Greenpop Zambia Festival of Action is an environmental action summit that brings people together from around the world to actively engage with sustainability. Join them for a week (or two or three) of environmental learning and cultural adventure! This summit of active citizens of all ages, offers a chance to roll up your sleeves, challenge your mind with the latest green ideas, get elbow deep in Zambia’s red soil planting trees with participants from around the world and local community members from Zambia, and come away with life-long friends and a world-changing experience.
The 2017 Zambia Festival of Action promises to build on the previous five years of the project, by delving deeper into green living, dreaming bigger for a greener future, getting dirty with hands-on permaculture, and letting participants immerse themselves into the cultural landscape of Zambia.
Inspired individuals ready to get active for the planet can apply to join for one, two or three weeks from 25 June - 16 July 2017. High school students who are passionate about a greener future can apply for the Schools Programme in Week One (25 June - 2 July 2017) and/or Week Two (2- 9 July 2017). People of all ages, including high school students, can apply to be a part of our general week (9 - 16 July 2017).
Greenpop co-founders Lauren O’Donnell and Misha Teasdale received a phone call in 2010 about 15,000 baby trees sitting in Zambia with no one to plant them. Those saplings, and the man who propagated them, are what took Greenpop to Zambia to explore the possibilities of running a community project there.
They discovered a country heavily affected by both deforestation and climate change, making it a relevant space for environmental action, and with such a friendly and welcoming culture, an abundance of inspiring individuals, and a wealth of expertise, Zambia is the perfect location to create a platform for exchange.
“The Zambia Festival of Action is an integral part of the work that Greenpop does,” says Lauren, “Bringing together inspired people who have a shared vision of greener future, allows us all to gain a deeper understanding of how to live together on this beautiful planet and how to take proactive steps to restore not only our ecosystems, but also ourselves.”
Move into Action!
At the heart of Greenpop’s ethos is a belief that true environmental solutions, are created not through anxiety, but through positive action. Inspiring individuals to action is a huge part of the Zambia Festival of Action. Kelly, a student from South Africa and 2016 participant in the Zambia Festival of Action in 2016, said “I learned that we can work together with the earth, and that I don't have to be alone to do anything worthwhile. I met so many people that were following their dreams and making things happen!”
The journey that participants go through at the Zambia Festival of Action is all about positive action. Individuals who are accepted onto the programme explore local and global environmental issues. They will have the opportunity to challenge themselves to find solutions for a greener future, get hands-on permaculture experience, and, together with local volunteers from Livingstone and the surrounding communities, plant trees, build using eco-bricks, brighten up schools with environmental murals, grow food forests, set up recycling systems, learn about upcycling and beekeeping and more.
The actions taken during this summit are important, but these actions are part of a larger picture of empowering participants to change their worlds, as well as connecting them with others who are energized for the environment. Maverick, a twelfth grader from Wynberg Boy’s High School, Cape town, South Africa and a participant at the Schools Programme in Zambia 2016 said of the program that “It was an unbelievable experience and possibly the best week of my life in terms of the bonds I made, people I met and things I learned.”
Experiential learning is the key to the Zambia Festival of Action. Participants develop practical, hands-on skills from painting murals and planting community food gardens to natural building and bee-keeping and much more.
The Greenpop Village, a beautiful tented camp just outside of Livingstone has a culture of mindfulness which allows participants to truly live a lifestyle close to the earth. At the Greenpop Village, meals all include vegetarian options and are locally-sourced, recycling is taken to another level with compost making and upcycling plastics and trash into beautiful and useful art, and most importantly, everyone works together as a team.
Fun is also an important part of the Greenpop ethos, and so there is the option to take part in invigorating yoga classes, restorative eco-walks, late night music jams by the campfire, film screenings under the stars and more to nourish your body, mind and spirit. Participants will also have their breath taken away by the awe-inspiring landscape of Livingstone, and the beautiful Victoria Falls.
“The whole experience helped me to realize that there are many other things to do in life besides the usual 9-5 office work.” Filip, a participant from Slovakia said that for him, the Zambia Festival of Action “pushed me to look out of my own ‘world’ and see things that really matter in the world.”
Trees for Fees
Greenpop has also provided a fun alternative way for people to ‘pay’ for their placement: Trees for Fees, a fundraising initiative whereby attendees get their friends and family to sponsor funds for trees in exchange for their programme fees at the Zambia Festival of Action. (eg: funds for 80 trees = a free 1-week placement, funds for 150 trees = a free 2 week placement, funds for 200 trees = a free 3 week placement). Travel to/from Zambia is not included in Trees for Fees.
Week 1: 25 June - 2 July 2017 (High School’s Programme: ages 13 to 19)
Week 2: 2 - 9 July 2017 (High School’s Programme: ages 13 to 19)
Week 3: 9 - 16 July 2017 (General Programme: all ages)
Greenpop website: www.greenpop.org
Zambia Festival of Action web page: http://bit.ly/GPzam2017