Nigeria Archives - Earth Charter

Earth Charter Youth Group to Advisor to the Ministry of Environment: Esther Kelechi Agbarakwe of Nigeria

esther-kelechi-agbarakweMy name is Esther Abgarakwe. I´m from Nigeria. My friends call me ¨Esther Climate¨—it´s a long story! I started an Earth Charter Youth Group in 2006 in Calabar. At that time, the Earth Charter was active in Nigeria but there was not much youth participation. It really pushed me to lobby and advocate for youth participation on environmental issues.

At that time, I participated in an Earth Charter E-Glo (Earth Charter Global Learning Opportunity) training programme that taught me a lot about social media. My first contact with blogging was through that programme and my blog won me a scholarship to go to a Conference in Scotland. That was my first travel abroad experience, and from that conference I met amazing people like the Elders. I asked one of them an interesting question in that forum and that sort of got me remembered around the world.

Since then, I have been working with the Elders for many years, now with a project call the Elders + Youngers project. It has been the biggest project of my life because I´ve gotten to work with four amazing people: Mary Robinson, Gro Harlem Brundtland, Desmond Tutu, and Fernando Cardoso.

esther-kelechi-agbarakwe-climate-actionFrom the blogging I learned from E-Glo, I´ve continued blogging a lot. Blogging has given me the opportunity to talk about so many things I like. One of the micro-blogs I use a lot is Facebook. On Facebook, I changed my time to ¨Esther Climate¨ because I wanted to interrupt conversations about politics among young people and intercept that with environmental issues and climate change—so I changed my name to ¨Esther Climate.¨

And the name stuck. When people see it, they pause and think, ¨Why Esther Climate?¨ And that´s an opportunity to change someone´s mindset, to raise awareness or improve knowledge in someone around environmental issues. They would ask the question about the name, and I would reply ¨Yes—this is what it means…¨ and then talk to them about climate change.

My favorite Earth Charter Principle is the first one- Care for the Community of Life. I love it because it makes me feel more connected to the human species and everything that is on Earth—whether it is a fly, a human being, or a plant. The Earth Charter was really my first entry into environmental issues. Its principles expanded my mind to see things differently (unusual as it may be where I come from). It could really interest you to know that Earth Charter covers a whole wide range of issues, from faith to humanity.

esther-kelechi-agbarakwe-workingNow I work as an Advisor to the Minister of the Environment. This is my career now; I think I´ll do environmental work for the rest of my life. And the [Earth Charter] Principle is still there.

When I was invited to join the Minister of the Environment as an Advisor, it was a dream come true. I accepted it of course! [Deputy Secretary General-Designate Amina J Mohammed] is an amazing person and [this job] has been the best thing of my life. I can see hands on the change I wanted to see happen. I’m the only young advisor—but it´s [youth] participation. We are moving from rhetoric to action. Young people have a lot of offer—they have experience, they have a vision, they are creative, and can do a lot!

Right now, I do a lot with technology which plays a big role in my work in terms of mobilizing young people—not only mobilizing them, but also empowering them, connecting them to resources, and giving them an opportunity to be informed on issues that affect them. In the next 40 years, they may have to lead.

I do all the creative stuff in the Ministry—communications, stake holders engagement, traveling around to all these Conferences to help to lobby because I understand the dynamics.

esther-kelechi-agbarakwe-radio-interviewIt gives me renewed hope that young people are now at the table, not just on the menu. The government recognizes their importance now. I remember when we used to scream and shout ¨I want to be involved! I want to be involved!¨ Now we are involved. That´s the biggest thing that´s happening for us.

I have my Earth Charter in Action book in my room. I don´t joke with it. I read it a lot. It reminds you where you´re going. It gives you that inspiration to keep going because it´s hard sometimes. It´s fun a lot of the time, but you always get to a crossroad at some point in your life. You have to look back and see that we´ve come a long way.

This interview of Esther Kelechi Agbarakwe was conducted in November 2016 by Earth Charter International Youth Projects Coordinator, Sarah Dobson, at COP22 in Marrakech, Morocco. The content has been edited for clarity and flow.

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Youth Workshop on Democracy in Nigeria

3. Build democratic societies that are just, participatory, sustainable, and peaceful.
13. Strengthen democratic institutions at all levels, and provide transparency and accountability in governance, inclusive participation in decision making, and access to justice.


Thanks to Ozuzu Promise, Earth Charter Youth Group coordinator from Nigeria for writing this article.

Nigerian Medical Association Hall, Abia State University Teaching Hospital
18th FEBRUARY, 2011

Engaging youths in the democratic process and understanding the role of Nigerian youths in sustained democracy and good governance

PASS IT ON (P.I.O) project brought together about 40 passionate Medical Students of the Abia State University and Nursing students of the Abia State University Teaching Hospital. Mr Maxwell Ogaga, Earth Charter youth activists and 2011 URI Youth Ambassador, African Region the main Facilitator at the workshop presented a subject “When governance works”. He challenged participants to engage in democratic processes and to contribute in any way possible to governance.

After the presentation, the participants were asked to suggest practical and pragmatic ways in which young people can be involved in governance and contribute positively. The session was interesting as the participants brainstormed and came up with practical ways in which young people can contribute to good governance.

The second presentation was done by Mr. Richie Felix, a youth advocate, writer and a public speaker. Mr Richie highlighted the importance of youths in the development of Nigeria and Africa. He encouraged participants to use resources available to them to affect their community.

AfriGrowth Representative, Mr Okechukwu Onoh, gave words of encouragement to participants from the President/Founder of AfriGrowth Foundation, Mrs Dayo Keshi. He also stressed the need for youths to embrace mentoring as a strategy to getting involved in the democratization processes. AfriGrowth Foundation has successfully used mentoring as a strategy for youth advocacy.

The workshop was gradually coming to an end with experience sharing from the participants and the project coordinator Mr Ozuzu Promise. He has attended several training programmes and seminars on Democracy, Good-governance, and Leadership, including AfriGrowth Youth Mentoring Seminar in Abuja on December 2010. Ozuzu Promise is currently one of  participants at DESPLAY-AFRICA season 6.

Participants were guided through several websites that could help them in their course for further growth in the areas of youth participation: Earth Charter, Youth Action for Change, Youngstars Foundation, World Movement for Democracy, United Religions Initiative, AfriGrowth Foundation and Voices Against Corruption. Of course the Earth Charter Youth Group Abia State’s profile was also presented: .

The workshop ended with closing remarks from the project coordinator, with a closing prayer and a photo session.

The project had the support of AfriGrowth Foundation, Youths for Good Governance, All Nigerian United Nations, Student, and Youth Association (ANUNSA-ABSUTH) and the URI Youth Ambassador project.

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Welcome new Earth Charter Youth / Student Groups!

Earth Charter, 12.c.
“Honor and support the young people of our communities, enabling them to fulfill their essential role in creating sustainable societies.”


I am glad to inform that 12 new Earth Charter Youth / Student Groups have been started! These groups have decided to ally with the Earth Charter Initiative to promote sustainable ways of living in their communities.

Please, join me in welcoming the following groups to the Earth Charter youth network:

Better World Cameroon Earth Charter Youth Group

ECYG de leut’s environment

ECYG For Sustainability and Peace Ghana


Students for Global Sustainability – University of Nairobi (SfGS-UoN)

ECYG Youth Vision Alliance Network

Earth Charter Youth Group Get Organized for Change

ECYG Fresh & Young Brains Development

ECYG Abuja

ECYG Somalia

Africa Intercultural Development Support Trust [AIDEST], an – All Africa Sustainable Development Organization

Earth Charter Ukraine for Education for All


As an example for other groups, I want to share with you an email that I received from Herman J.B. Kizito, a youth group coordinator of the newest Ugandan Earth Charter Youth Group. This email shows a great example on how a new Earth Charter group can start their actions:

“We have begun a series of strategic and promotional / awareness actions and outreach campaigns involving:

  • Primary and Elementary Schools Outreach programmes discussing the Earth Charter concepts, opportunities and needs to get connected. These schools range with enrollment capacities of 150 children to 2000 and more, ages 6 years to 14 years old; boys and girls. Some of these schools have expressed their interests to promote their goals worldwide under the AECON banners. Uganda has over 2000 primary schools be it Public or Private or Faith-Based, yet, already AECON has access to 300 of these in all regions of the country. Our assessments of their individuals show that most would like to start School Environmental Clubs, School gardens, Exchange visits as well as Waste Recycling Project, but they lack funds, let alone Educational materials.
  • Community Green Enterprises Programme has been started, we are planting trees, collecting and recycling garbage.
  • Networking is on; we are interacting with other Stakeholders.
  • Forwarding Earth Charter internet contacts to others; we are already passing on the Earth Charter information to many for direct contacts, asking that they do the same.”

More free / low-cost ideas can be found here.

If you are interested in joining the Earth Charter youth network, check out through this link what can you do to work for more sustainable future!

Welcome to the Earth Charter youth network,
Jaana Laitinen
Earth Charter International Youth Facilitator
[email protected]

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EC+10 youth meeting in Nigeria

Members of Earth Charter youth groups in Nigeria celebrated Earth Day reflecting on the Earth Charter 10th anniversary.  Some of the participants traveled as far as from Bayelsa state (Niger Delta) and Sokoto state (North West). 
After the introduction of participants, Taiwo Oyelakin explained what Earth Day celebration means and how it started; he shared the story of many youth taking action across the world around this day. Esther Agbarakwe, Earth Charter Nigeria, also explained what the Earth Charter means and why the 10 Year Celebration. She stated that the Earth Charter has been in existence for 10 years inspiring sustainable development around the world in schools, churches, government and among young people.
Participants then went into a mini participatory workshop on climate change and youth action, this was led by Ilona (from Finland) and  Esther. Participants explained what they understood about climate change and what young people can do using the Earth Charter as a guide. Various actions such as capacity building, policy advocacy, tree planting and community sensitization was all suggested and adopted

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Several new Earth Charter national websites are online

The Earth Charter International is pleased to announce the creation of several new national Earth Charter websites. Making basic information on the Earth Charter available in as many languages as possible is a key part of the ECI strategy. The purpose is to reach out to individuals and groups in different parts of the world in their own language. We are happy that the following new EC countries are ready:





We invite you to share this information with groups and individuals that might be interested in this.

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Football competition and the Earth Charter


In continuation with the leadership, youth empowerment and capacity building project we started in August 2009 through football, the second tournament witnessed even a greater turn out and participation. The games were played on September 26th, 2009 and the aim was again to pass across and implement the principles of the Earth Charter in the lives of the youth in Alagbole community, Lagos, Nigeria.

We still maintain the four team format but more side attractions where added to it; like souvenirs been given to the spectators and all the participatory players.

In our assessment of ‘August season I’ we discover that the players where too tired during the pep talk and seminar session so this time we decided to hold the Earth Charter seminar before the football match kicked off. To our surprise this really works and we witness high participatory level from the youth.

Further, the success of the programme can be associated with the unflinching support of our partners; MFM Alagbole Youth House (who allowed their youth to participate in the competition), Cadbury Nigeria Plc (they supplied the souvenirs and other gift items) and other individuals in the community.

Due to the great success of the football project MFM Alagbole Youth House have requested us to organize the next season on a regional level so that more youth could get involved.

So we have decided to host the Season III of the football project on a regional level on the 31st October, 2009. This time around the competition will include six teams.

In conclusion, it could be said that the football project is on the right track of building sustainable youth leaders and capacity. We look forward to making it even better with greater penetration amongst the youth of the community.

Sincerely yours,
SHOPEJU, Zaid Abiodun
Earth Charter Youth Vision Alliance Network (YVAN)
Alagbole, Lagos
[email protected]

Programme Coordinator
[email protected]

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Helping People Apply the Earth Charter Principles

African School of Excellence in Suleja has an Earth Charter Youth Group.


Earth Charter Communities (ECC) launched its newest manual: The Art & Skill of Dialogue, a Practical Manual to Communication & Dialogue for a Global Community. Written by Stephanie Tansey, director of ECC, for its subsidiary, Earth Charter Communities/Nigeria, this Dialogue Skills Program is a unique curriculum. Its purpose is to nurture global citizens who want to contribute to the global community. It is the most recent culmination of over a ten year period of polishing a special Earth Charter, dialogue and community skill-building program, in different countries that helps people better understand, apply and live the principles of the Earth Charter.

This all started when the Iraq War began and Stephanie realized that the world had a poor understanding of the inherent power of dialogue and without it, the Earth Charter principles would be hard to establish its rightful place in the global community. She developed her Dialogue Skills Program using the Earth Charter to help create the right environment to find the common humanity in people.

ECC has programs at present in both Israel and Nigeria. In Nigeria, the manual is a multidisciplinary approach involving the Earth Charter principles, the development of personal dialogue skills and therefore better relationships, community-building values, and the application of African indigenous institutions in a modern context, all designed to nurture, using value-creating education methodology, the self-motivated desire to lead a contributive life. In Israel, bi-cultural and bi-lingual programs are in the Tel Aviv area. The handbook in three languages will be available in 2010.

The Art & Skill of Dialogue, a Practical Manual to Communication & Dialogue for a Global Community, which we call the Dialogue Skills Program, is a one-year program that was taught at the African School of Excellence (ASE), in Suleja, Niger State, Nigeria from 2008-2009. ASE students come from religiously diverse and conflictive cultural environments, and include orphans, gang members and children of prositutes. Incredibly successful, incidents of violence has decreased 20%, respectful relations between teachers and students and among the student community are the norm now. Gang members have become program facilitators, and students have regained their hopes for the future. The effect on the surrounding community as well has been remarkable.

Now that the manual is complete, more teachers at ASE can teach students at all levels. The education ministry of Niger State is also eager for ASE to teach Dialogue Skills to its public schools so this will also spread the principles of the Earth Charter and the skills to help others understand them throughout the state.

Download the manual here.

For more information, contact
Stephanie Tansey at tansey [@]
Abu Enyi, Director of African School of Excellence at abuaugustine60 [@]
or visit our site.

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Earth Charter Youth Group holds democracy and participation workshop

The Earth Charter Youth Group Warri held a special democracy and participation workshop for physically challenged people in Warri, Nigeria on the 25th July 2009. Fifteen participants spent 5 hours in discussing on the Earth Charter’s 13th principle: “Strengthen democratic institutions at all levels, and provide transparency and accountability in governance, inclusive participation in decision making, and access to justice.”

The workshop consisted of

  • the ECYG’s coordinator’s introduction on the Earth Charter;
  • review on Nigerian laws that pertain to people with disability;
  • a motivational talk by a radio presenter;
  • discussions on matters of election, participation, and democracy.

The aim is that this group will continue working with the Earth Charter in the future as well.

The workshop was part of the Passing it On -component of the Democracy Series: Participation – Learning and Active Youths (DESPLAY) which is an initiative of Youngstars Foundation, funded by NED Washington DC – USA.

The workshop was reported by ECYG Warri’s coordinator Maxwell Ogaga.

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EC youth activists elected to UN CSD Major Group on Children & Youth

Congratulations to the newly elected UN CSD Major Group on Children & Youth leadership for the 2009 -2010 year!

Great to see so many Earth Charter youth network members in leadership positions! Out of the 6 regions, 3 are now coordinated with Earth Charter youth network activists!

Steering Committee:
Fatoumata S. Baldeh – The Gambia
Ivana Savic – Serbia
Julia Wong- USA 
Kiara Worth – South Africa

Elected Regional Coordinators

Birendra Kumar – India

Esther Agbarakwe – Nigeria 


European Youth Forum

Latin America
Shiba Andre – Haiti 

North America
Anantdeep Singh Dhillon – Canada

Didier Gleyzes – France 

Among other things, the regional coordinators are responsible for gathering input from youth in their region and encouraging them to participate in the CSD process.

What is UN-CSD?
UN-CSD stands for the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD). It was established by the UN General Assembly in December 1992 to ensure effective follow-up of United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), also known as the Earth Summit. The High-level segment features dialogue among Ministers, and Ministers also hold a special dialogue session with Major Groups.

What is CSD Caucasus?
The CSD Youth Caucus is an international network of over 2,000 youth leaders that brings together young people with a desire to build a more sustainable world. The focus of the caucus to facilitate youth input into the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development and to foster information sharing and communication between a diverse network of youth organisations who share a common interest in sustainability.

For more information, see 

Best of luck in your great responsibility on working for more sustainable future!

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ECYG OGUN presents the Earth Charter to their paramount ruler


Earth Charter Youth Group led a delegation of young people to the palace of the Alake of Egbaland as part of activities marking the International Youth Day 2009. The traditional/cultural institutions of south western part of Nigeria are sacred to the people, the major custodians and such traditions are paramount rulers: they are holding a priestly role and the overall custodian of the traditions and culture. In view of this understanding, Leke Obadimu (ECYG OGUN coordinator and e-GLO, alumni, spring 2008) led team members and youth leaders to interact with the paramount ruler and to share the vision of the Earth Charter and consequently present him a copy of the Earth Charter document.

By introducing the vision of the Earth Charter Tolu Leke Obadimu said that the Earth Charter is a declaration of fundamental principles for building a just, sustainable and peaceful global society. Further he stated: “At a time when major changes in how we think and live are urgently needed, the Earth Charter challenges us to examine our values and to choose a better way. It calls on us to search for a common ground in the midst of our diversity and to embrace a new ethical vision shared by growing numbers of people with diverse culture throughout the world”.

An interaction ensued with the kabiyesi (kabiyesi means King in Yoruba) on the role and responsibility of the traditional institutions at fostering a just and sustainable world. Kabiyesi responded by thanking the group for a good vision of building a just and sustainable world, appreciating the youths for recognizing the salient role the cultural and traditional institutions play at achieving a just world.

Kabiyesi gave a profound history of various aspect of our culture. He specifically emphasized that one major key for fostering a sustainable society is to speak the truth at all times, no matter the circumstance you find yourself. He said that Yorubas have a cultural value of truth at all times. The responsibility of every culture is to uphold the truth at any given time and circumstance. Kabiyesi further encouraged the youths to identify with their cultural values and always to be good ambassadors. Later the Earth Charter document was presented to the kabiyesi which received with deep admiration.

The team of the kabiyesi included Hon, Fasiu Bakene (Member, House of Assembly, Ogun state), Apena of Egbaland. Kabiyesi gave a royal blessing to the team members with a royal prayer. The visit ended with a photo session of the team members namely Leke Obadimu, Fatona Emmanuel, Bello Ahmed, Adekunle Eniola, Biola Bakare Ohiri ChiChi, Temitayo Ogunde, Meme Sylvia, Ronke odebiyi, Dare Ogunjimi, Omowunmi Akanke (GYCA, Ogun), Akinbo Adedamola (National Focal Person, GYCA Nigeria), Patrick Onabule, Gloria Ofili and Odekoya Modupe.

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Read the Earth Charter

We stand at a critical moment in Earth's history, a time when humanity must choose its future.
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