The Zanzibar YES Alumni Association (ZAYAA) strives to create a strong impact in their community through many activities and projects. Some of their biggest impacts comes from their focus on various environmental issues such as beach cleaning and tree planting throughout the island. In recognition of the hard work ZAYAA is doing in their community, alumni were asked to appear on the CHUCHU FM Mlanege Zanzibar radio station. Every Saturday, the radio station hosts an Environment Show that discusses environmental changes and their overall impact in Zanzibar. Asya Muhshin Othman (YES 2007-08, hosted by IRIS in Marion, Iowa) and Msimu Ali Abdulla (YES 2011-12, hosted by AFS in Mooresville, North Carolina) recently appeared on the show to talk about the YES Program, ZAYAA, and steps community members can take to help fight erosion and protect the environment.
During the radio show, the alumni emphasized that keeping their community clean was a necessary step to help their local environment. The alumni talked about their experience during their exchange year in the U.S. and how it has inspired them to play a more active role in preserving their environment. They believe that issues related to the environment should not be the sole responsibility of the government but that the citizens of Zanzibar, too, can join in the fight to protect mother nature. Alumni discussed how human activities and common practices like tree cutting for firewood negatively affects the environment and urged listeners to consider alternative options. A few listeners brought up the fact that many Zanzibaris still struggle to meet their most basic needs like food and shelter and that environmental preservation is not a priority for them. These listeners were encouraged to think of environmental preservation less as a major undertaking but rather as something they can do by making changes to their daily routine. Alumni gave examples of things they could change in their day to day lives such as opting to use paper over plastic.
After reflecting on their time on the radio show, the alumni felt that they had delivered a clear message to the people that each individual needs to take action to help solve environmental problems in Zanzibar. Overall, the alumni felt that their radio appearance was a good experience because they were able to reach a larger audience about their efforts for environmental issues and about the YES Program and ZAYAA. They also had a chance to answer questions listeners had during the show about the YES Program and ZAYAA in order to bring more awareness to the community of these programs. The listeners were proud to know that the YES alumni are responsible for many of the projects in the community.
The alumni have also been asked to continue making radio appearances during the Environment shows on Saturdays for the month of January 2020. They hope to continue talking about more impacts of environmental issues in their community on the show.