Green Africa Initiative
The Green Africa Initiative (GAI) is an ambitious endeavour spearheaded by ANPRAS aiming towards capacity building for a Greener Africa. The main components of GAI are the (i) Green Africa Awards and the (ii) Sustainable Agriculture & Green Economy
Green Africa Awards
Mr Vinesh Chintaram
Genesis of the 1st Green Awards in Africa
The origins of the first Green Awards on African soil can be traced back to the village of Midlands (Mauritius) where a small community based organization; Association Civique Midlands (ACM) started raising countrywide awareness campaigns about the environment. ACM placed Mauritius on the Earth-Hour’s map by organizing the first Earth-Hour event (outside Australia) in 2007. The Sydney’s movement has since then become globally popular and this prompted ACM to come forth with innovative projects to go beyond the hour.
Clean up campaigns, literary competitions, and the national School Green Cup Challenge were all endeavours that set the base for the conception of the local green awards in Mauritius. In January 2010, ANPRAS teamed up ACM to launch the ‘Earth Mauritius’ platform which ultimately led to the launch of the Green Awards Mauritius (GAM). The concept of the Green Awards first originated in the US and has now become extremely popular in the UK. However, unlike other Green Awards, the ANPRAS/ACM’s joint initiative had been conceived and implemented by civil society actors on a purely voluntary and not-for-profit basis.
The 1st Awards Ceremony (Mauritius) was held on 04th June 2010 at The Grand Mauritian: A Luxury Collection Resort & Spa (Balaclava). The Hon. Xavier Luc Duval (Vice Prime Minister of the Republic of Mauritius) and other cabinet ministers graced the said function. The event enjoyed the corporate support of the Starwoods Group of Hotels and Holcim(Mauritius)Ltd and it managed to create the link between the business community, civil society actors and the authorities
The Green Africa Initiative & The Green Africa Awards
Inspired by the UNMDG 7 (Ensure Environmental Sustainability) and UNMDG 8 (Develop a Global Partnership), ANPRAS established the Green Africa Initiative (GAI). In December 2010, GAI was presented at the 6th International Turkish-African Congress and USTKIP Commission Meetings in Istanbul, Turkey. The idea to popularize the ‘Green Awards Mauritius’ in the continent under GAI received rave reviews and this encouraged ANPRAS to come up with the Green Africa Awards (GAA). In the same year, ANPRAS secured a special agreement with the US-based Earth Day Network (EDN) to give special recognition to its Green Awards.
Green Awards Go Continental
The 2nd edition of the Green Awards (Mauritius) on was held on 09th June 2011 at Le Labourdonnais Waterfront Hotel in the capital city of Port-Louis(Mauritius). The event was graced by the Minister of Environment and other Members of Parliament. Once again, the event drove considerable importance amongst the business community; thereby creating a real opportunity for aligning businesses along sustainability lines. One of the key highlights of the Awards Ceremony was the official announcement of the Green Africa Awards (going continental) and the presentation of the GAA Logo (designed by Mr. Vinesh Chintaram) by the Hon Minister of Environment & SD and the Executive Chairman of ANPRAS. ANPRAS members further participated in promotional campaigns mainly in East African countries; namely Kenya, Tanzania and Madagascar.
GAA 2012 Milestone
The 2012 edition came with rebranded categories especially tailored to promote sustainable endeavours at grassroots in the target countries. The Awards Ceremony was held on 06th June 2012 at the Ebony Conference Hall, Hennessy Park Hotel, Ebene, Mauritius. Dr The Hon Arvin Boolell(Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration & International Trade), High Commissioner Dr. Nomvuyo N.Nokwe (South Africa High Commission in Mauritius), Mr. Richard Via (Charge d’Affaires of the Malagasy Republic) and other eminent personalities graced the function. The event witnessed the first presence of nominees from mainland Africa, especially from East African countries and French territories of the region. In his address, Dr The Hon Arvin Boolell (Chief-Guest) praised the initiative and volunteered himself as a privilege ambassador to further promote the event across Africa. Nominees and award winners who had travelled from the Africa continent expressed their great joy to be associated with the project and 2012 shall be remembered as the landmark paving way to an ever growing presence of GAA in continental Africa.
Green Africa Awards Mauritius – GAAM
The version 2.0 of GAA comes with an improved governance structure. Going continental had at no instant reduced the local importance of the Green Awards; instead this process has revamped the recognition/competition in Mauritius. Although, not explicitly depicted, ANPRAS runs the GAAM in parallel to GAA thereby catering for both local (Mauritius) and continental needs.
As the first awards started as a civil society commitment to the Earth Hour movement, the local awards, GAAM, is now entrenched as one of the perennial activities of the ANPRAS/ACM Earth-Mauritius initiative.
6.0 GAA 2.0 – A Strategic Tool for Uniting Africa for the Cause of Sustainability
Africa has witnessed significant progress in the new millennium. With an emerging economy and a more entrepreneurial civil society, Africa heralds enormous potentials to drive change for a greener and better. Africa remains very vulnerable to the threats of Climate Change and thus education and actions for sustainability remain vital; GAA is a humble contribution to unite Africa for the cause of sustainability. GAA is now operated as a quasi-autonomous entity and it is keen at welcoming stakeholders from other parts of the world (especially Africa) to plod along this long journey.
“ The history of humankind started in Africa…the future of humanity rests in the abled hands of Africa..”(GRC, 2013)