This article was written by Lindsay Leonard – Environmental Sustainability Project Intern, 2023.
Hello, my name is Lindsay, and I am a 23-year-old from Montreal, Canada. I recently graduated
from Concordia University with a Bachelor’s in Environmental Sciences and an elective group in
Sustainability Studies. Before entering the job market, I decided to take part in CEED’s summer
internship. CEED offers four different projects that run throughout the summer: Environmental
Sustainability, Youth Entrepreneurship, Technological Education, and Media and Advocacy. I
chose to participate in the Environmental Sustainability project, which aimed to educate the
youth of Gulu on various environmental issues and empower them to become change agents in
To achieve our goals, we decided to educate the students through workshops. These workshops
would provide the students with the basic knowledge of their environment and why it is essential
to protect it for themselves and future generations.
Our first workshop in schools focused on waste management and plastic recycling. For this, we
partnered with a local recycling company called TakaTaka Plastics, which specializes in
converting plastic waste into new and valuable products. Both CEED and TakaTaka Plastics
share the goal of empowering and educating the youth in Gulu, making them the perfect partner
for this workshop. Before teaching the students about plastic recycling, my fellow CEED interns
and I underwent training at TakaTaka Plastics to understand the local recycling process. During
the training, we collected plastics from local recycling bins, sorted them by type and colour, and
learned the transformation process. We discovered that the first step is to crush and shred the
plastic into small flakes, wash and dry them, and then convert the clean chips into new products.
We were able to make coasters using HDPE and injection moulding, as well as plastic sheets
using a sheet press. Additionally, during our time at TakaTaka, we had a brainstorming session
with Agatha, the trauma counsellor, who supports the many at-risk youth employed by TakaTaka.
The company provides free counselling and group sessions to ensure the well-being of all their
Armed with this knowledge, my team and I, along with Sunday a TakaTaka employee, prepared
a PlastiSkul presentation on proper waste management and plastic recycling. We visited 9
different schools and presented to 2,426 students. The students’ reactions were overwhelmingly
positive, and they now possess the knowledge needed to make informed decisions about waste
disposal and the environmental impact of plastics.
The next workshop focused on composting, with the information gathered from past CEED
interns and our own research. This time, we collaborated with the environmental clubs of 6
schools (4 high schools and 2 primary schools). As the number of students was smaller, we were
able to provide each one with a pamphlet containing comprehensive composting information.
Using a projector and slideshow, we guided the students through the pamphlet, which covered
various types of compost, what should not be composted, different composting methods, and the
steps to build their own composting pit. We trained 350 students and equipped them with all the
information needed to start composting at home or on a larger scale at their schools.
Our final workshop was on tree planting and maintenance, in partnership with Kijani Forestry.
Before teaching the students the proper tree-planting techniques, we underwent a one-day
training session at Kijani’s farm, where they raise most of their seedlings. This training covered
all the necessary steps in the tree-planting process and proper tree care and maintenance. During
our presentation, we combined this knowledge with information on the importance and
environmental benefits of trees. The students thoroughly enjoyed the workshop, which included
both theoretical and practical aspects. They learned new facts and had the opportunity to go
outside and be active. This workshop had an attendance of 330 students.
The final step of the internship involves caring for the trees that CEED has already planted. Our
team will visit all the schools with CEED trees to ensure that they are healthy and receiving care.
I am incredibly grateful to have been part of this internship and hope that many of these students
will go on to study the environment and its importance.