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FABE Takes Sustainability to Low-income Communities in Lagos

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By Dipo Olowookere

Climate change has made many countries and persons to have a rethink on how they see and relate to the environment and for Ms Temitope Okunnu, her involvement in the first-ever Miss Environment Nigeria in 2006 opened her eyes to many things.

She was the debut winner of the pageant, which is aimed to promote the environment and this made her establish her non-profit organisation, FABE International Foundation, in 2008.

She told CNN in the latest episode of Inside Africa that she started the foundation to “educate people, particularly children, students in schools, high schools, primary and in universities on how to take a second look on the environment; like seeing their environment, particularly waste as a resource.”

The organisation helps low-income communities follow a sustainable model, teaching them how to convert their waste into different items for their own personal use or sold for profit.

“So, we introduced them to recycling. We introduce upcycling. We also introduce to them composting. Everybody generates wastes. Everybody eats every day. And because we eat every day, we must generate waste,” she added.

Ms Okunnu teaches hundreds of children how to make tables, chairs, and ottoman seats using waste and this year, she intends to impact 4,000 children from low-income communities in the Lagos state.

FABE is also empowering women by teaching them how to compost and grow their own food at home.

“And I’m also training them to also train other women because I might not be able to reach the number of women they know, but when I train you, I want you to train more people. So everybody can start reducing the amount of waste that is being generated or disposed into the environment,” she informed CNN.

“We are constantly reminding people that there is a climate crisis, that the solution actually lies in our hands. If we are able to start from the home, if we’re able to start from waste, and then move to gardening, and then making sure that we are planting indigenous trees, just a fraction of something, we don’t actually need everybody to be doing sustainability.

“The little number of people we can find doing sustainability actually really matters. And because of them, other people can change,” she noted.

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