Victor Ayegba: The Educator


As an activist, educator, lifelong-learner, and more, Victor Ayegba wears many hats. Victor is an Earth Charter Young Leader from Kaduna State, Nigeria. There, he studied environmental science at Kaduna Polytechnic and then became an elementary science and geography teacher at Sahel Academy in Kano State, four hours away from his family and hometown. In his spare time, Victor is also an activist involved with multiple networks, including Climate Reality, GreenFaith and the Global Schools Programme. 

Victor first got involved in the Earth Charter Movement when he took the Leadership, Sustainability and Ethics (LSE) online youth course during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a teacher, he was looking into options to blend the environment with education for his students. He was researching environmental science because he needed to find a way to teach about the seriousness of the climate crisis to his 3rd to 8th grade students. During his online research, he came across the LSE course and signed up. The course made him realise how interconnected nature, humans, and all other living beings are. 

“The LSE course was transformative. It does change a lot of my perspective to life, the way I reason life, the way I see life, everything changed.” 

As a college student, Victor exercised his leadership abilities by becoming President of the Fellowship of Christian Students group. Now as a young professional, he continues to give back to his community by returning to his undergraduate institution and their larger network, because he recognizes the importance of helping college students gain leadership and volunteer experience before graduation while at the same time giving back to their community.  

When he first started working with the faith for climate justice movement on his college campus, Victor and his peers were able to gather over 7,000 students from diverse faith backgrounds and academic interests. As a leader, Victor was able to find common ground with the group by emphasizing their shared values of respect and care for the community of life. Each year, this network organizes various projects, including a tree planting campaign. Victor’s goal for this year is for the group to plant and take care of over 4,000 trees! 

“As teachers, we have to understand that we have a role to make the world a better place. And we have to be intentional, deliberate, and just go with it whole-heartedly.” 

Professionally, Victor is an elementary school teacher in charge of educating children between the ages of 8 and 14. His mission is to share his passion for sustainability by connecting the students back to nature and help them realize their role in making the planet a more just, sustainable and peaceful place. Learning about the Earth Charter principles and the Earth Charter pedagogy indeed influenced his teaching. To him, teaching must be interactive and outside the known to achieve transformation. 

Now, he tries to make a link to the climate crisis wherever possible in his classes and he regularly encourages his students to share stories related to climate change during class. He also designs hands-on activities for his students. For example, he buys a tree for each of his students on their birthdays so they can take it home and take care of it. He can see that his students are really enjoying and learning from this assignment. Victor recalls how one time he answered an urgent call from one of his students’ parents who needed his help calming down the student after her tree had been accidentally damaged. This shows him the transformative power of his lessons. 

“Making a teaching environment interactive, gives you access to understand not just to what your students are learning, but it gives you access to their hearts. When teaching becomes interactive, it’s very hard for any student or pupils to forget what you’re teaching.” 

Systems Thinking is a topic from the various Earth Charter courses he has participated in that especially influenced him. Victor has been able to incorporate systems thinking and ecoliteracy approach into his classroom in a way that is relevant to his students. For example, one issue Victor saw was that his students were constantly bringing single-use plastic bottles into the classroom, which reflects their family’s prosperity; however, the children were not seeing that this was contributing to global plastic pollution. So Victor took this as a learning opportunity, and as a recipient of the Swarovski Waterschool small grant, he was able to show the students where all this plastic ends up and stimulate thinking and understanding on ist impact. The day after this special lesson, Victor can happily report that no student brought a disposable water bottle into the classroom. 

Understanding the interdependencies between Earth and humans, he was motivated to get involved in the Earth Charter movement. As a member of the Earth Charter Young Leaders network, Victor turns conscience into action in a myriad of ways. Locally, he started to run school advocacy events to teach young people environmental education and help them realize the role they play. 

Recently, Victor has also been co-facilitating the LSE course along with fellow ECYLs. Sharing the work with the other co-facilitators taught him more about collaborative leadership. This also helped him to deepen his knowledge of the course topics. Victor enjoys meeting new participants and learning from their stories and experiences. 

The Young Leaders network inspires him to take action and to connect with people from all over the world. Victor has had the opportunity to collaborate with fellow ECYLs in Nigeria as well as others who are thousands of miles away in other parts of the world. He has co-facilitated workshops with Nigerian ECYLs Paschal and Phil both in person and virtually. He has also contributed to Greshma’s (India) virtual EcoPeace Teen Café based on the Earth Charter along with Rocío, an ECYL from Panama. 

“One thing that really has inspired me is the access to networking. I’ve been linked with others, I’ve run trainings with other people from Panama, from India, I’ve assisted orders to run their projects. So, it’s really opened me up to networking opportunities. And it’s been awesome running it that way. I think the beauty of it is the networking aspect”.

Victor is not only making local and global connections, but also strengthening regional connections across the African continent. He is currently a Regional Coordinator for the ECYLs in Africa, along with Caroline from Kenya. Together, they are making sure their region is united and actively working together. Victor and Caroline are also working closely with the regional coordinators from the other continents to streghthen their efforts as a global network, inspire each other, and replicate successful initiatives. Victor is an example of ethical, engaged and responsible leadership concerned with and contributing to the common good.