Temitope Okunnu is a certified educator; an environmental health specialist; promoter of EcoTourism and EcoSport; a clean environment, sustainable and healthy living advocate in Nigeria. She was the first ever Miss Environment in Nigeria and has been described by Trek African Women Awards as Nigeria’s Environment Queen.
Temitope started off her career in Lagos in 2006 as the first environment queen in Nigeria with lots of responsibilities just as the nation was coming to full understanding of the implications of climate change. She later worked at FADE Africa (Fight Against Desert Encroachment) as an intern in 2007 through 2008. In 2008, she established a self-funded non-governmental, not-for-profit organization called FABE International Foundation. Later in 2008, she pioneered the first ever World Environment Day in collaboration with United Nations Environment Program and Ministry of Environment in Lagos State.
She holds a Bachelor of Science degree with honors in Human Kinetics from the University of Lagos; Executive certificate in professional Environmental health from the National Environmental Health Association in Colorado, U.S.A.; Ordinary certificate in Science Laboratory Technology from Lagos State University; and Master certificate in Occupational Health and Safety from the University of Bergen, Norway.
In recognition of her outstanding work in environmental health, her service to humanity and her outstanding contributions, encouragement and support towards academic pursuit for growth and development, she has been honored with many awards including recognition by Nigerian Association of Physical and Health Education Recreation, Sport and dance as Ambassador of the year, recognition by Department of Human Kinetics, Unilag as most influential and outstanding leader of the year, recognition by Trek African Women Award as Next rated N.G.O of the year and Award of excellence by Face of Trek Africa as Best Environment advocate of the year in recognition of her exemplary leadership style and also for being a role model.
On the week of International Women’s Day, we are happy to share our interview with Temitope Okunnu, read below:
How did you begin this journey into environmental sustainability?
It started in 2006 when I competed and won the first miss environment in Nigeria and became one of the Lagos state environment ambassadors in 2008.
I reigned for two years and that gave me the opportunity to start FABE International Foundation, a Non-Governmental “environmental-health” Organization passionate about the establishment and improvement of an environmentally conscious generation committed and dedicated to environmental sustainability, preservation, restoration, conservation, and protection of the environment.
In 2006, nobody really understood what we meant by environmental sustainability and couldn’t relate to it. It was a struggle then, we had a tough time explaining the green economy to people, but things are easier now.
What SDG does your organisation support and why?
Our organisation supports the following goals:
SDG 3- Good health and wellbeing
SDG 6- Clean water and sanitation
SDG 12- Responsible production and consumption
SDG 13- Climate Action
SDG 14- Life below water
SDG 15- Life on land
If our mission states that we promote environmental sustainability, by engaging our youths and women in the identification, exploration, and facilitation of sustainable environmental solutions to problems caused by the impacts of climate change, affecting the health and environment of people and biodiversity in Nigeria then, it suffices to say that climate action and environmental sustainability is the focal point of our mission at FABE to the Nigerian people.
Climate change is affecting the health, wellbeing, habitats of people, vulnerable biodiversity and ecosystems of the world, this is very fundamental to life on earth as they are intrinsically dependent it.
We are passionate about inspiring change and providing sustainable eco-solutions to the impacts of climate change especially the ones caused by human activities as it is expected to continue or accelerate due to careless and nefarious behaviour of the entire Nigerian populace towards the environment.
But I personally support SDGs 2-(zero hunger), 4-(quality education) and 7- (clean and affordable energy).
How do you take time to relax?
Green spaces such as nature tours and water sports relax me. And whenever I have the time, I really bask in it.
What exciting projects should we expect from Fabe this 2017?
You should expect projects like the EcoschoolsNigeria program, The Green Challenge 5, FABE cleans the lagoon front 3.0, Wildlife matters campaign, Turn the tide on plastics campaign, and our on-going campaign to Tidy Nigeria on Mother Earth Day, are a few things we are working on this year.
How well have partnerships in the development sector worked out for your organisation?
It’s difficult for companies to partner with organisations now because just about everybody is going through the economic recession.
How do you manage family life and work?
Jesus helps me out. It’s not easy but somehow things kinda work out because of the Lord, I have a very supportive husband and children who are always excited and looking forward to every project. Everyone gets involved at home.
What do you feel women in Sustainable Development work need to do better this year.
We must learn to collaborate. This is a vast area where we can’t be competing with each other but working assiduously together to attain the singular goal of achieving women empowerment towards environmental sustainability.
Women are very crucial to the economic development in Nigeria today. We must start and continue to empower our women in sustainable development. When you empower a woman, you empower her community
How can people contact you?
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