Since environmental health education is rapidly becoming a global priority, teacher and environmentalist Ester Haikola (26) is presently using her passion and knowledge to educate young people about environmental health.
“I have realised how powerful education is and am using it as a tool to educate the young ones to be able to make crucial environmental decisions in future,” said Haikola, adding that her passion for the environment started back in 2016 when she became a teacher.
Among many projects that she created for youth, Haikola is the founder of an environmental non-governmental organisation (NGO) called Namibia Environmental Health and Safety Education Project (NEHESEP) which aims to educate teachers and learners about environmental health and safety in schools. The organisation has established environmental clubs in some schools in Khomas, Erongo and a few are about to start in Kavango and Zambezi regions.
“The only issue we have is the ongoing pandemic and funds,” she added.
She believes many youngsters look up to her and her ultimate goal is to always uplift her fellow youth.
“I believe once you get out of your comfort zone and do something for others without expecting something in return, then that’s empowerment to them,” said Haikola. Born in Oluwaya village in the Ohangwena region, Haikola is part of the youth group called YPG (Youth Power Group) which tackles social issues faced by the youth worldwide.
According to her, this group has a show called the YPG dynamic, which is online that airs at 7pm every Sunday on which she is a presenter. Haikola is also a final year student pursuing her master’s in science, biodiversity and research and she is currently researching the effect of irrigation on the Kavango River to see whether the river is eutrophicated. Haikola is seeking funds and assistance to run an environmental online show which will cost her around N$7 000 per week.