Fellow Since 1996
African Environmental Action Network
This profile was prepared when Victor Fodeke was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1996.
The New Idea
Victor Fodeke is introducing a new approach to achieve grassroots environmental protection. His organization enlists and trains graduating college students registered in Nigeria's National Youth Corps as both workers and role models to motivate citizens to recognize and take action in addressing the various environmental challenges facing their communities. These challenges may include such problems as increasing desertification in the northern states, pollution in the eastern states, the pile-up of litter on many streets and open sewage drains in urban neighborhoods. Dr. Fodeke's decision to use the Youth Corps Members is strategically unique. It provides him with human resource and assists the national government, which is finding it increasingly difficult to provide appropriate placements for the thousands of graduates emerging from the nation's universities each year.Dr. Fodeke believes that efforts must first be made at the village, neighborhood and local community levels to educate Nigeria's citizens about the fundamental importance of the environment and the way it affects their daily lives. The Youth Corps members trained through his organization provide the necessary link to inspire community residents to take action in relation to their environmental conditions. Dr. Fodeke seeks to take advantage of this vast citizen resource and eventually hopes to build on it by creating a group, focused on grassroots environmental action, modeled the United States Peace Corps, with graduates serving their country for up to three years.