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Saptarshi Pal's picture

Highlights of the essay by Jean-Paul Brice Affana (Cameroon) who is one of the eight finalists of The World Bank Essay Competition 2009.

Jean Paul is from Yaoundé, the capital city of Cameroon. According to him, one will be surprised to find the number of yellow taxis and motorbikes plying the streets of Yaoundé. Most of the taxi drivers use “Zoa-Zoa” fuel to run their taxis. “Zoa-Zoa” is adulterated petrol illegally supplied in Yaoundé. Its poisonous emissions are affecting the environment and the health of the people. There are about 18,000 taxis and motorbikes running in Yaoundé and most of the taxi drivers are unaware of the fact that the adulterated fuel that they are using not only spoils the engine of their vehicles but also poses a severe threat to the environment.

Jean Paul believes that ignorance of the impacts of human activities on the environment and the lack of awareness about climate change lead to such irresponsible actions by the citizens of Yaoundé.

His first proposal is the Green Taxis Campaign against Climate Change. Taxi drivers will be mobilized within trade-unions and associations, and will be trained on environmental issues, to educate them about the repercussions of their seemingly insignificant actions. This will include warning them against “Zoa-Zoa” consumption and encouraging “Green Taxis” in the city.

Second, he proposes a National Program of Education for use of Public Transport which will bring together all urban and inter-urban transporters of the country to make them aware of their responsibilities. They will also be provided information and messages to implement them.

Lastly, he proposes the 5 Million Short Message Service against Climate Change Program, where the government and the three mobile telephone operators present in Cameroon would join hands and set up a long-term program which will consist of sending tips for daily eco-citizenship called Green SMS, to all mobile phone users of the country. Operators can send it more often during occasions like World Environment Day, to create and increase awareness.

Jean Paul believes that in order to materialize his ideas, youth will have to team up with the government and other development agencies like the United Nations and even local sponsors, who will help to raise funds, provide promotional materials and organize training sessions for the taxi drivers of Yaoundé.


Submitted by Felipe Parra on
I do have a question though... you are aware that this is a process that will need to be presented as something related to daily processes in order to have a minimum resistance by the people that are learning, right? You see, here's something most people don't think about. If you are to present someone with enviromental processes and to teach them to grow a strong concept of equilibriuum in this aspect, you need almost as a must to present them the benefits about this in things that they do and how they can translate into money. P.e.; 'yes, by doing this, you are helping the planet's air lessening its polutants. You are also helping assure that your kid is not one more digit into the (fill blank with the latest lung and skin sicknesses in the area in which the workers and their families are from) and you are saving this amount of money in doctors so you can heal this other thing that's really, really painful for you/your family/must do treatment'. The people that have the toughest works are always willing to listen if they know that their own economical resources are not only secured but also expanded in wealth (not richness, general well being=wealth) in a little time span. I encourage you to keep us updated in this kinda work. Its potential can solve one too many problems with a single stroke. :)

Submitted by JPBrice on
Dear Felipe, This is just to thank you for your message and congrats. I will take your precisions in consideration. And be sure I agree it because it's true what you says. Be good.

Submitted by JPBrice on
Dear all, Hope you are all doing well. I'm Jean Paul Brice one of the eigths Finalists of the Essay Competition 2009 and I just want to tell you that it was a very great experience for me (and probably for the others Finalists and Winner of video) to attend the Final Jury and the ABCDE 2009 in Seoul. I will never forget it and hope that some of you experienced the same opportunity. Please keep in touch with me in : [email protected] or +237 96 32 49 98 I will start with my proposals very soon and will inform you. Be good and peace and blessings.

Submitted by Katie Adoch on
Hi..everyone, Congs to the finalists! It's nice to know our finalists are working on project proposals now, which makes the competion feel like a cell and 'organic', so to say, All the best friends as you work on your projects.Kindly keep us updated. Cheers,

Submitted by JPBrice on
Dear Katie, Thank you for your congrats. Hope you are doing well. In this common struggle your voice also be great. See you soon.

Submitted by Maria on
Hey JP! Congratulations... i was one of the finalists last year and I do know that is an incredible experience... rock on! we're changing this world!

Submitted by Najm-ul-Sehar on
Hi Everyone... well another year went by and i just saw the top 200 finalists list has been placed also. It is amazing and interestig to see that so many youth are want to make a difference. I guess that wipes out the streotype of generation Y and the only thing we do is facebook, chat, music and thats all!!!!! Congrats to alllllll those who were made it to the conference....and even to all those who particpated...becuase believe me even that made it a successful competition. Well hope you all go good next year also ;-) Smile always....and strive for the best Najm ;-)

Submitted by JPBrice on
Dear Najm, Thank you for your congrats. Hope that next year you will be one of the Finalists of the EC. I'm working now to implement my proposal in my country. I will keep in touch with you in order to share this great experience. Be good and have a green day ! Jean Paul from Cameroon