Achare Elvis AyambaFounder & Executive Director, ENVIRONMENT AND FOOD FOUNDATION (E2F)
- 30 Under 30
Ayamba empowers his community members to sustainably manage, conserve, and protect marine and aquatic ecosystems.
How are you using education to build more sustainable and equitable communities?
I train coastal community members (fishermen and farmers) and students on the Community-based Ecological Mangrove Restoration (CBEMR) approach and I am actively involved in conducting environmental education in schools and communities. I educate Indigenous farmers on the benefits of agroforestry and planting mangroves in degraded mangrove forests. We have planted over 8000 mangrove plants. My team and I also organize clean-up events involving youth and women, where we clean up landfills, streets, rivers, streams, beaches, and mangroves. We host these events on a regular basis, and they serve as a means of environmental education and sensitization campaigns for communities. Finally, I have brought in innovations to mitigate the issue of plastic pollution by empowering youths on reusing plastic waste bottles to construct eco-friendly products like eco-benches, eco-tables, bulb coverings, eco-boat, and recycling of plastic waste into paving tiles. Altogether, I have educated more than 5000 students and 1000 farmers and fishermen on sustainable natural resources use and management.
Tell us about your journey to where you are today.
I became an orphan at 12 years old and throughout my life as a youth, I engaged in fishing as a hobby. I developed a passion for fishing and it became my livelihood and source of income for my education. After some years, I realized that fishery resources had drastically reduced in my community. With the passion I have for fishing, I decided to study Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences at university. During my studies in fisheries, I realized that one of the causes of the rapid decline in fisheries resources is due to unsustainable management and use of marine and aquatic ecosystems of mangroves, wetlands, rivers, streams, and oceans. Immediately after my graduation from university in 2017, I founded the Environment and Food Foundation (E2F) with my colleagues as co-founders. Our mission at E2F is to address threats posed on our marine/aquatic ecosystems. The journey has not been easy, but I can say it has just started, and with the EE 30 Under 30, I see the journey continuing. But I believe in myself and I know I will get to my final destination one day.
What advice would you give to the next generation of leaders?
They should believe in themselves, have passion, be innovative, and be patient with what they are doing.
What keeps you hopeful for the future?
Leadership programs like EE 30 Under 30 keep me hopeful for the future.
If you could be any animal or plant, what would you be and why?
I would be a lion, because they are bold, courageous, and never see themselves as the loser in a fight.
What are you happiest doing?