When the UN General Assembly officially declared July 18 Nelson Mandela International Day in 2009, Nelson Mandela commented, “This is not a day for festivities, but a day of service, a day to inspire individuals to take action to help change the world for the better, and in doing so build a global movement for good.” In honor of Mandiba’s 67 years of public service, individuals are encouraged to donate 67 minutes of public service on that day.
This year will the first commemoration since his passing in December 2013. South African Deputy President Motlanthe noted the significance of this year’s celebrations at the launch of Mandela Day on April 9, saying, “This is all the more reason why we have to up the ante, ensuring that this day is imbued with durable meaning that reverberates across time and space.” This year’s campaign will focus on literacy, shelter, and food security.
Global Peace Foundation Kenya has partnered with the Africa Peace Service Corps (APSC), the Pan-African Youth Volunteerism and Service Network, the South Africa High Commission, Chandaria Foundation, Mpesa Foundation, UNEP, and other stakeholders to host a major celebration at Embakasai Girls Secondary School in Nairobi. Dr. Tuesday Gichuki, director APSC, said in a press release, “Our goal this year is to inspire individuals to take action across the continent as part of their contribution to making the world a better place and build a global movement for good.” He encouraged APSC members and friends across Africa to devote 67 minutes of service on Mandela Day.
The special event in Nairobi is part of a long-term effort to establish tree nurseries as social enterprises in ten schools in and around Nairobi. The nurseries will serve as feeders for the Mandela Forests set to launch in September this year with participation of the Kenya and South African Governments, youth volunteers, corporate divisions and UN agencies.
The Mandela Forests were envisioned during the Global Peace Leadership Conference held in Abuja, Nigeria in November 2013 as an effort to preserve natural resources, provide environmental education and promote inter-continental volunteerism and cooperation. The Government of Kenya has since taken up this initiative with four hectares supporting many indigenous tree species designated as a Mandela Forest.
Some of the participating schools include Moi Forces Academy, Our lady of Fatima, Langata High School, Ndururuno Secondary School, Buru Buru Girls, and Embakasi Girls’ Secondary School.
The African Peace Service Corps will also be represented in initiatives in Ghana and South Africa.