This is the first post in a three-part feature about the Greenpop Zambia Festival of Action, by Matthew Koehorst
Greenpop is a South Africa and Zambia based social enterprise that has been around for the last 5 years. It started as a passion project with the intention of planting 1000 trees in Cape Town in undergreened communities, and blossomed into a movement of thousands of people focussed on raising environmental awareness, getting hands on in improving our planet, and inspiring change makers to get active in their world. Through the power of collaboration, hard work and vision, the organisation has grown from a group of friends rallying to a common cause to a small yet hard hitting enterprise that has planted nearly 70 000 trees and hosted hundreds of educational and inspirational events including school planting days, workshops, volunteer events, tree planting festivals and more.
For the last 5 years, Greenpop has run its “Festival of Action” in Livingstone, Zambia as an integral part of the organisation’s calendar of events. The festival, originally known as “Trees for Zambia” started as a call to action to tackle the pervasive challenge of deforestation in Zambia, one of Africa’s most rapidly deforesting nations. Volunteers from around the world converged on Livingstone for 3 weeks of sweat and blisters- hard work planting trees and working in communities to stimulate and support change (with the odd dance party thrown in).
Participants gather for pre-planting games and ice breakers at Sons of Thunder Farming Cooperative
5 Years later and the festival has expanded its mission from simply planting trees to a far more holistic approach to change making while maintaining its core ethos of inspiring active citizenship through opportunities to get stuck in, learn, grow and improve our world.
The Festival of Action is a very unique experience but could vaguely be compared to a conference- without the boredom, wastage and lack of activity. Essentially, the program runs on a week-long cycle with each day being dedicated to a variety of different activities from environmental education in schools, to mural painting, upcycling, permaculture workshops, natural building and community tree planting initiatives. The first week of the program is dedicated to High School students and the second two weeks to people of all ages. One of the main themes for the Greenpop Zambia Festival of Action is to take an active stance in improving our ecological and human environments through hands on work- getting active, not anxious, about the challenges we face as a society and global ecosystem. The festival achieves this through a holistic and diverse range of offerings for attendees and participants. Below is a brief summary of some of the focus areas of the organisation in 2016.
Nature immersion and connectivity are emphasised as a means to becoming an effective change maker
Photos by Lee-Ann Olwage
About Matthew Koehorst
Matthew Koehorst is a human doing passionate about reconnecting people with nature through education, experimentation and sharing of information. His project Six Kingdoms focuses on understanding how we can improve our relationship with earth through practical projects and learning experiences. For more on his work visit his instagram account @six_kingdoms or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org