Faith fighting at the Olympics (@The Standard)
Faith Ogallo is a real green champion. Not only did she represent Kenya in the Olympics in Tokyo, she is also a champion for the environment.
Growing up in rural Kenya, Faith, now 26, comes from a big family with over 20 siblings. Her grandfather was a big chief with many wives and many rules. They had to keep the compound clean, take care of the trees, keep the stream around their village clean.
Faith liked to be at her father’s place. She enjoyed the shade from the trees, the water from the river, the clean air from the trees. In elementary school, she started an environmental club and tried to get her fellow students enthusiastic about growing seedlings and planting trees.
When she moved to Nairobi to study, she was appalled at what she saw around her. Litter everywhere. Rivers filled with plastic rubbish. Very few trees.
Faith planting trees (@ Faith)
Faith excelled in many sports, but it was her Kibabii University Taekwondo coach who convinced her, in 2018, to focus on that sport. Soon after, she won a medal in the African Games and won the University Games for East Africa.
But while competing at games, she was appalled to see that some athletes were promoting oil companies or not cleaning up after themselves. She decided to visit slum areas to convince them to start cleaning up around them.
With the little money she made from her winnings, she paid for gloves, boots and wheelbarrows to start setting up teams in various slums to clean up their environment. She is also currently developing funding proposals to get sponsorships from big companies.
In the meantime, she is putting her own money behind her efforts. This really motivates the people around her, especially when she shows up in her track suits. They know she’s a star, and they want to follow in her tracks.
“Nature is for everyone, it is our future,” she says. “What about future generations? They won’t have anything to enjoy.”
"Nature has an essential role to play for climate change adaptation and mitigation, as the world de-carbonizes across all sectors. During the 2022-2025 UNEP Medium-term Strategy and leading into the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) will focus on Nature-based solutions that are of high quality, respect social and environmental safeguards, and provide benefits beyond carbon," says UNEP's ecosystems expert Tim Christophersen.
Griet Ingrid Dierckxsens
Communications and Knowledge Management
UN Environment Programme