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Fontoh Desmond Abinwi
  • Fontoh Desmond Abinwi

    Executive Director, Crusaders for Environmental Protection and Ozone Watch
  • 30 Under 30
  • CEE-Change Fellow
  • 2021
Cameroon

Fontoh works to build “eco-kids for the future” by empowering young children to be ambassadors and combat growing environmental challenges.

Fontoh joins the Fellowship from ​​the Crusaders for Environmental Protection and Ozone Watch located in Cameroon. He brings with him an enjoyment of tourism, art and culture, and music concerts. His professional skills include developing community conservation actions, promoting environmental education amongst kids, project writing and management, crowdfunding and fundraising skills, and lastly skills on effective tree planting and bio-monitoring. 

Fontoh hopes to visit any national parks around the world with unique biodiversity qualities. 

He has been inspired by many passion-driven achievers in the field of environmental education. However, his greatest source of inspiration has been Mahatma Gandhi with his purity of heart and the way he emphasized protecting Mother Nature and ensuring harmony. He was very unique, and his philosophy is key towards triggering conscious behaviors to promote effective environmental practices and the SDGs with all sincerity and belief in Africa and beyond.

Beat the Bottle:
Environmental Education and Recycling of Post-Consumer Plastic Waste to Manufacture Building Materials (plastic pavements, and roofing tiles )

The Project
Our project is to recycle post-consumer plastic waste into eco-friendly plastic pavements and tiles. The plastic waste provides the opportunity to create a better alternative to ceramic and brick pavements. Using plastic collected from the streets and landfills of our locality, our idea uses a simple manufacturing technique known as injection molding to convert shredded and melted plastic into durable and environment-friendly plastic pavements and tiles. In this way, no plastic will find its way onto the streets. This project is designed to equip young citizens with the capability to transform plastics and earn up while conserving their environment.

Outcomes
This solution creates economic value on plastic at the points of generation to enable households, farms, and companies to sort and sell plastics to earn income. We are creating wealth from waste. Our solution will generate employment for individuals at the initial stages of the value chain, mostly youth and women, who collect, sort, and clean plastic waste for reselling. We have already collected over 10,000kg of plastics and transformed them into pavements and tiles, and have trained 20 youths on this skill. The community is already familiar with our project targets and has always wished we scale it and reach out to more youths. 

Goals

  • To withdraw over 50,000 kilograms of plastic in 9 months from the environment and use them to manufacture plastic pavements and tiles.
  • To create a beat-the-bottle environmental education platform, create 5 Eco Clubs in 5 schools all aimed at empowering, ensuring, and educating youths on the need to beat plastic pollution and conserve our planet.
  • To train 50 youths and promote entrepreneurship through the recycling of plastics to plastic pavements, tiles, and creation of 50 direct with over 100 indirect jobs hereby Alleviating poverty.
  • To Sensitize, engage, and strengthen media discussions alongside collaboration in promoting the recycling of plastics for the production of plastic pavements and tiles to ensure eco-friendly building materials.

EE 30 Under 30: Class of 2020

Bamenda, Cameroon
Age: 28

Fontoh works to build “eco-kids for the future” by empowering young children to be ambassadors and combat growing environmental challenges.

How are you using education to build more sustainable and equitable communities? 

Education is the most powerful tool for triggering conscious behaviors in kids. I am the founder of Crusaders for Environmental Protection and Ozone Watch in Cameroon, and through our “eco-kids for the future” educational program, we have trained and empowered 200 children in forest conservation, tree planting, and general environmental care. We have developed eco-clubs within five schools, where we have carried out eco-rallies and mega-competitions.

Furthermore, we are in the process of publishing three booklets on environmental issues. The booklets are made for children and will have easy to understand language. The booklets include stories on the issues and then solutions for the problems. We have also carried out workshops in schools wherein both teachers and students have been educated on effective environmental practices and how they can implement our environmental educational model in their curriculum. Currently, we have reached and empowered 200 kids and 10 teachers. We hope to extend our efforts to other schools and ensure eco-kids for the future are guaranteed.




Tell us about your journey to where you are today. 

“Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's needs, but not every man's greed.” - Mahatma Gandhi

Hailing from a slum with difficulties in getting access to education, I was lucky enough to receive a scholarship which permitted me to go to school, and eventually obtain a Master’s in Climate Change. My drive has always been to ensure a planet wherein mankind can live in harmony with each other, with kids at the forefront. With the increasing environmental concerns both in my community and the world at large, and the degree to which mankind has neglected our planet, my passion for environmental protection kept growing, with the goal to make a difference and ensure a change and legacy. I remember at one point my friends kept laughing at me as the guy who spends his time planting trees for no reason…but today I am proud to be amongst the EE Under 30 Class of 2020.

What advice would you give to the next generation of leaders?

We are living in a period of environmental crisis, as well as a pandemic with COVID-19 affecting the health of millions around the world. Environmental education should be a call to duty and action to combat our most pressing issues. We do not have to wait for global support; We can take individual and grassroots action.



Have humble beginnings and start small—you don’t need the masses to achieve your dream, but connecting with those with passion who can go the extra mile can ensure that a big project is achieved. Keep it real and always ensure you are ready to serve.

Remember that the journey will not be easy. We can ensure success by diligently following the Sustainable Development Goal 17: Partnerships for the Goals.

Your efforts in environmental protection and education will allow future generations to benefit from and enjoy a healthy planet. Never leave anyone behind on your plight to promote environmental education. Be consistent, committed, and motivated.

Who do you look up to as inspiration?

I have been inspired by many passion-driven achievers in the field of environmental education. However, my greatest source of inspiration has been Mahatma Gandhi with his purity of heart and the way he emphasized protecting Mother Nature and ensuring harmony. He was very unique, and his philosophy is key towards triggering conscious behaviors to promote effective environmental practices and the SDGs with all sincerity and belief in Africa and beyond.