Salesians’ Laudato Si’ Inspired Initiative to Benefit Thousands of Youth in Sierra Leone

Salesians in Lungi, Sierra Leone, start a Climate Club to focus on environmental education for youth. Credit: Salesian Missions

More than 5,000 youth in Sierra Leone are set to benefit from a climate club initiative spearheaded by the members of the Religious Institute of the Salesians of Don Bosco (SDB).

In a Sunday, June 5 report on the occasion of the World Environment Day (WED), officials of the Salesian Missions, the U.S. SDB development arm, say that due to the need to “foster environmental responsibility” through education, “youth have launched important projects to help their communities and beyond.”

“Salesian missionaries have an ongoing focus on the environment in their organizations around the globe. This has been driven by Pope Francis’ 2020 Laudato Si’, which underlined the importance of education and training that will help youth foster environmental responsibility,” the Director of Salesian Missions, Fr. Gus Baek, has been quoted as saying.

In Sierra Leone, a new climate club in Lungi, a small coastal town in the Port Loko District of the Northern Province, has been launched to mainly focus on environmental education and other related activities.

The project, which Fr. Philip Gboa oversees targets those enrolled in local Salesian schools and youth centers who are supposed to gain from the environment related training that seek to “protect, and restore our planet”.


The June 5 report indicates that those behind the climate club project envision starting off “with at least 60 youth” and that “ten volunteer teachers at St. Augustine Agricultural Secondary and Junior Secondary Schools will facilitate the program.”

In the report, Fr. Gboa says that despite the government of Sierra Leone having several initiatives such as “last Saturday of the month cleanup” aimed at catering cater for the environment, the effect is very minimal as the cleaned places do not stay clean for long.

He says that this is the main reason that compelled him to start teaching young people on how to care for the environment and “instill in them the knowledge of why it’s so important in order to have the greatest long-term impact.”

The Salesian Priest says that he has pledged financial support of up to 50 percent incentive on school fees for the youth who will take part in the exercise.

“The Climate Club will run three days a week and offer youth educational sessions and activities that will teach them about the environment and allow them to put those lessons into action,” Fr. Gboa is quoted as saying in the June 5 report.

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Spearheaded by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), WED is the biggest international day for the environment.

The annual event that officially started in 1973 has grown to be the largest global platform for environmental outreach, celebrated by millions of people across the world.

This year’s WED was hosted by Sweden and was organized under the theme “Only One Earth" with the focus on “Living Sustainably in Harmony with Nature”. 

The June 5 Salesian report indicates that the day “calls for collective, transformative action on a global scale to celebrate, protect, and restore our planet. The day is a reminder that there is only one Earth and it takes a collective to make real change.

Silas Mwale Isenjia is a Kenyan journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communication from Moi University in Kenya. Silas has vast experience in the Media production industry. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.