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- [June 2019] A great day at the Bonn International School

On June 25, the UNCCD Capacity Building Marketplace (CBM) Team visited the high school students of the Bonn International School, Germany. The main purpose of this visit was to raise awareness about the importance of engaging the youth in the sustainable development process, and the roles they can play to help in achieving this goal.

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The multinational Team comprising Jorge Sanz (Spain), Raissa Tadia (Cameroon) ,Ines Belhous (France), Loretta Asare (Ghana) and Jairo Lozano (Colombia) engaged around 80 students between the ages of 15 and 17 on several issues including  how they can personally help in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs);how land degradation and desertification is increasing, and how young people can play a very positive part in helping to address these challenges; the importance of the World Day Combat Desertification; and the opportunities that  the Marketplace offers, such as scholarships, university programs, vacancies, and much more. There was also a fun-filled charade between the presentations to further reinforce the importance of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

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The students and professors asked many questions about the UN in general, the UNCDD and the CBM.  There was an interactive quiz where the students were asked to be in groups of 3 or 4 to answer the questions on land and the SDGs. The winning group will be rewarded with the opportunity of spending a day at the UN headquarters interacting with UN staff and observing the work of some of the UN Agencies based in Bonn.

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The students passionately engaged in the side activities. They understood the presentations, and this was heavily translated through their engagement in the side activities.

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These activities included an exhibition where materials from the UNCCD library were displayed together with the QR codes to reducing the use of paper and therefore achieving our goal on sustainability, T-shirts, the World Day to Combat Desertification to be observed on the 17th of June.

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There was also the 'Moringa Challenge’ which was done by both the students and their professors. They planted Moringa seeds as one way of trying to have a real impact on the reduction of their everyday footprint on the environment. Moringa is a tree used to combat land degradation because it is resistant to drought, improves soil fertility, grows fast, and helps with food security.

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Again, the students teamed up to design their own T-shirts to help in combat land degradation and desertification. This was warmly done in the different teams projecting their different understanding of the need to individually help in combatting this menace.

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For those that are interested in the full coverage of the event in Bonn International School, you can see the videos of the presentations, pictures, and interviews in the link below:

Link full video coverage (YOUTube)
Link full photos coverage (GPhotos)

This event would not have been possible without the great cooperation of the school’s management team. Therefore, the CBM Team expresses its heartfelt appreciation to the entire Bonn International School. A very special thank you goes out to Mr. Eif Phillips, Secondary School Principal, who facilitated the coordination of this experience. Special thanks are here expressed to all the students who showed interest in and passion for all that was done, and who remained totally engaged throughout the entire exercise. Additionally, the CBM Team is grateful to all who were involved in and supported the exercise from the first day of planning to the final execution.

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These outreached events are conceptualized, managed, and are generally coordinated by Dr. Richard A. Byron-Cox, UNCCD Capacity Building Officer.