Q&A with Joshua Gabriel Oluwaseyi
1. Could you briefly introduce yourself?
Hi, I'm Joshua Gabriel Oluwaseyi, a 19 year old Climate Activist, Global Teen Leader, Social Entrepreneur, and Executive Director at LearnBlue Global. I huge fan of the TV show Sherlock, love all things good environment, (that's beautiful landscapes and clean and clear water bodies), my hobbies, I would say just learning stuff at random, like watching YouTube videos on American Politics and then a Video on the latest tech gadget, or surfing through several webpages for different opinions on whatever topic I search for.
2. What is Learnblue Global and what is your mission?
LearnBlue Global is a Gen Z led global non-profit organization that is building a community of Gen Z do-gooders, activists, and innovators to cause positive change all over the world.
Our mission is to empower young leaders to create sustainable and integrated solutions to global issues. With a particular focus on inspiring Gen Z contributions towards effective solutions for Climate Change, Sustainable Development in Reducing Inequalities, Clean Water through Quality Education worldwide.
3. Why did you want to start it and how did you start?
LearnBlue was inspired by the discovery of my allergies to air pollutants in 2018, prior to this discovery, I had wanted to somehow contribute to my community effectively but there wasn't much that I was exactly passionate about. After finding it about hard to convince my guardians about my allergies, I began researching allergies and the worse case scenario of attacks.
I learnt that over 100K people died of air pollution related causes yearly in my country since 2017, I decided I was gonna try solving "air pollution", but following consecutive research, I learnt about the cycle of pollution, or the carbon cycle as high school taught us. How land pollution influences air pollution and water pollution and vice versa.
With all that info, I decided instead of trying to fight the government and the older generation on climate change, I would take a different approach, which is educating my generation on the impacts of their everyday action on the environment and that started LearnBlue.
With the help of AdamStart, I had won a mentorship Challenge by Queen's Young Leader, Adam Bradford, who mentored me through the first year of LearnBlue and that's how I started LearnBlue.
4. What is one of your favorite projects that you have worked on?
Wow, there's a number of projects we've worked on but my favorite is the #ForACleanerLagos which we co-led with another initiative I I co-founded, called Cleaner Nation Initiative, CNI. We ran the #ForACleanerLagos campaign for 3 weeks across two months and cleaned up over 19 tonnes of non-biodegradable waste, got our message go over 2 million people on social media, and following my favorite project is the #AmazonFire campaign we joined at the early stage of the crisis, we aimed to inform more people of the fire, created a call to action through petitions at the Brazilian government and had over 4000 individuals sign the petition.
5. What are some of the challenges you have faced especially creating a youth-run organization?
Specifically with creating a "youth-run" organization, a common challenge faced is team building, finding "the right team" or passionate set of people who can see and share your vision for a project can be really hard, for the most part I had to let go of 95% of the LearnBlue founding team as most just couldn't see the Vision at the time or were just reluctant on excuses that they were volunteers so they couldn't be all committed.
Also this goes for most nonprofits, but is perhaps more intense with youth-run nonprofits in Nigeria and Africa really. Funding, personally my running a nonprofit remained and partly still remains a secret to a part of my family, as the notion is just not exactly embraced and encouraged by most. For these reasons, until I was certain about LearnBlue's sustainability, it's goals and visions with of course the right team, I didn't pronounce myself Executive Director or even co-founder of LearnBlue, and this confirmation went on for the first 8 months of LearnBlue's existence.
6. What are some current projects that you are working on?
I am currently working on the campaign #OnePlantOneFamily, with the LearnBlue team and the One Plant One Family team.
The #OnePlantOneFamily Challenge AKA One Plant One Family is an environmental campaign spearheaded by Indian Changemakers Lingaraj Bmath and Jay Prakash Anand, in partnership with LearnBlue Global, to call attention on the need for every family involvement in ensuring the Earth continues healing post Covid-19 by planting trees.
7. How can people get involved?
They can visit the “Get Involved” page on our website to learn more.
8. How are LearnBlue Global and TUGI Collaborating?
We are collaborating with TUGI by supporting your forthcoming webinar having our Executive Director as a Speaker or Panelist, and are in the works of moving forward with a collaboration that would have LearnBlue leverage TUGI chapters in the US for physical outreach projects post COVID and vice versa.
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