Environment and Housing Minister Romauld ‘Romi’ Ferreira fired up T.A. Thompson, L.W. Young and E.P. Roberts students to go the extra mile in creating a healthy living environment in and around their schools fostering an awareness in themselves and others that would reduce littering and increase national pride, ultimately improving the quality of life for all, particularly if every school across New Providence bought into the #Be A Hero Campaign. The clean-up/improvement project is designed to change the culture starting with young people, encouraging respect for surroundings through a competitive social media campaign. Students, classes or schools are invited to identify a project that will make a difference in their immediate area, post before pictures on social media and track progress through postings on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Snapchat for the next three months.
Winners will become national heroes, meet Parliamentarians and be recognized for their contribution – and their photos will replace those of sports, entertainment and civic heroes who kicked off the program. “We have lots of tourists that come to our country for our beaches and natural resources. The thing is, in addition to taking care of our country for tourists we have to take care of it for us,” said Ferreira addressing the students in their respective morning assemblies. “We have to take pride in it. We have to value it more than they value it. We can’t expect people to come here and love our country more than we love it. The way we are going to show love, the reason why I am here, is to challenge you to show love to your environment. Begin with your school, your community, your neighborhood.” The first phase of the Clean Sweep began in October 2017 with sweeping clean-up campaigns. The second phase kicked off earlier this month when Be A Hero was launched at a packed press conference hosted by Atlantis, one of the campaign’s 10 corporate sponsors. The most recent initiative is designed to reach a young population that will not only grasp the importance of respecting their environment but will positively influence adults to do likewise.
With a little over a month left to the first semester and winners to be chosen in March, Ferreira urged students to pick a project becoming a part of the environment’s solution as opposed to contributing to pollution. “It could be as simple as planting a tree or something as extravagant as clearing down a lot, or even rodent control,” he said. “The staff at the Ministry of the Environment and Housing is here to help you.” At the end of the time period, the students, classes and schools that have performed the best work and made the most significant difference in whatever project they decide to take on will become the new heroes with their images replacing the photos of the original heroes leading the campaign, athletes like 400m Olympic Gold Medalist Shaunae Miller-Uibo who advises, “This hero is not going to trash our future,” and the 100 JAMZ Crew of young deejays whose spin is to “only throw trash in the bin.”
The campaign, created by Barefoot Marketing and Diane Phillips & Associates, is funded almost entirely through corporate sponsorship. Among the sponsors are Atlantis, AML (Solomon’s), Bahamas Hot Mix, Bahamas Waste Management, Bahamas Wholesale Agencies, Commonwealth Brewery, Kelly’s, McDonald’s, Subway, Seaside Media, The Sign Man, and The Tribune. The Minister has committed to “as many school visits as it takes to reach as many young people as possible in Nassau.” On Tuesday, he dropped in on E.P. Roberts while members of his team called on students at Carlton Francis Primary. H.O. Nash is set for Wednesday and Queen’s College on Friday with more visits scheduled the remainder of the month. Although the introductory phase of the #Be A Hero campaign was designed for Nassau, a school in Grand Bahama wants to join the initiative.