The Gardeners Training Academy: Promoting Sustainability and Eco-Friendly Practices in Bangladesh through Gardening Internships
Gardening has always been a popular pastime and a fulfilling hobby for many. However, gardening is not just limited to personal interests but has also become an essential component of creating a sustainable future.
With the growing need to preserve the environment and mitigate climate change, sustainable gardening has emerged as a meaningful means to reduce carbon emissions and support biodiversity.
In this context, Ashoka Fellow and Chief Executive Officer at Green Savers, Ahsan Rony, has been addressing various challenges in promoting sustainable living, such as lack of awareness on climate change.
One of the most significant challenges has to do with encouraging people to adopt eco-friendly practices and create a culture of sustainability. During Rony’s participation in the Dela systems change accelerator programme, co-created by Ashoka and IKEA Social Entrepreneurship, the Gardeners Training Academy was born: a training programme that provides opportunities for young people to learn about gardening and its role in creating a sustainable future.
Read on to learn how he is doing it.
Ashoka: What is the Gardeners Training Academy and how does it contribute to a more sustainable future?
Ahsan Rony: The Gardeners Training Academy promotes a sustainable living culture and encourages individuals in Bangladesh to learn about gardening and its role in creating a sustainable future.
It consists of a series of training sessions, workshops, and internships that provide participants with hands-on experience in gardening. The training covers various aspects of gardening, such as soil preparation, composting, pest control, and plant propagation.
The Gardeners Training Academy also includes internships with local gardening communities and organizations to gain practical experience and implement the skills learned in the training sessions.
Ashoka: What outcomes have you seen from this training and internships programme?
Ahsan Rony: Since it launched, we have seen increased awareness about the benefits of gardening, as well as more participation in this activity, and an overall positive impact on the environment, as well as job opportunities for the participants.
Through the Gardeners Training Academy, we have been able to create awareness about the benefits of gardening and motivate people to take up this activity as a means to reduce their carbon footprint by decreasing pesticide and water usage, planting more native plants, growing food locally and reducing food waste, among other examples. Additionally, we have discovered new ideas on how to make gardening accessible to everyone, regardless of their socio-economic status.
Ashoka: What role has your participation in the Dela accelerator played in these results?
Ahsan Rony: The Dela programme has played a crucial role in launching the Gardeners Training Academy and in establishing partnerships with local communities and organizations. We have collaborated with local gardening communities, schools and other organizations to spread awareness and changemaking through gardening, and promote sustainable living.
The accelerator has played a critical role in establishing these relationships and strengthening existing ones, as well as providing the resources to expand our outreach and impact.
Ashoka: Green Savers was one of the eight organizations who received financial support to continue developing its systems change strategies through their participation in the co-created accelerator. In what ways has participating in Dela supported your team in doing so?
Ahsan Rony: The Dela experimentation phase and funding have been instrumental in launching the Gardeners Training Academy and internships programme. The funding has enabled us to create a comprehensive training programme and establish partnerships with local experts and organizations. The accelerator has also provided us with the resources to promote the programme and expand our outreach.
The Gardeners Training Academy and internships programme are critical for Green Savers as they provide a means to create a culture of sustainability and promote eco-friendly practices. The training and internship phases aim to inform the future of Green Savers by providing young people with the necessary skills and knowledge to make informed decisions about sustainability and gardening.
Young people play a significant role in the future of Green Savers as they are the ones who will inherit the planet and face the consequences of our actions.
Ashoka: So, what’s next?
Ahsan Rony: For Green Savers’ strategy and impact going forward, we will establish partnerships and collaborations with more communities and organizations, creating a comprehensive training programme, and focus on young people as a way to promote sustainability.
These insights, gathered through our participation in Dela, have helped us create a holistic approach to sustainability that involves all stakeholders, from individuals to communities and organizations. From now on, we will continue focusing on young people and establishing collaborations to expand the impact of Green Savers.