By Rooney John
“Otesha” is a Swahili word meaning “to plant a seed and watch it grow.” or “to nurture a dream”. It is also a global community of people who see their lives as powerful tools for environmental and social change.
Founded by two Canadians, Jocelyn Land-Murphy and Jessica Lax in 2002, Otesha’s goal is to bring young people together and create a movement which gives them the power, skills and creativity to make a fairer, cleaner and greener world.
They came up with the idea whilst both were age 21 and studying sustainable development in a travelling field school in Kenya.
Whilst there, they were overwhelmed by the inequity in living conditions between North Americans and Kenyans. They also saw labour exploitation, resource overconsumption and unfair trade. They felt powerless as individuals to solve these deep-rooted problems.
So they took it to a personal level by altering their lifestyles to reflect the change they hope to see in the world. They began to dream of the social change that could result if this mindset spread throughout Canada’s youth. The UK branch of the organisation was formed several years later.
Anna-Devi Nagtalon , Green Jobs Co-director at Otesha UK, said: “Our primary goal is to take young people’s ideas and help them grow in a manner of different ways.”
They do this by engaging with young people in schools, colleges and youth clubs, helping them to set up projects that make it easier for other people in their schools and communities to think about living in a fairer, cleaner, greener way.
By Otesha empowering young people they are giving them the opportunities needed to realise their potential, while at the same time help promote issues relating to the environment, sustainability and renewable energy.
To promote environmental issues Otesha also arranges cycle tours, where teams of young people cycle up and down the country inspiring thousands of people along the way to create social and environmental change through their everyday lives.
To find out more about Otesha and the great work they are doing to help young people and promote environmental issues visit their website
Additional reporting by Adrian Whyatt.