10 Billion Strong: Launching an Environmental Leadership Movement

by | May 6, 2022 | Heartivist Of The Week

Patrick Arnold created 10 Billion Strong, a leadership development organization focused on environmental sustainability, because he believes it’s unjust that more than a billion youth as well as future generations have to find solutions for environmental catastrophes they did not create. As an international educator, Patrick is passionate about education, training and designing transformative experiences to support youth in understanding root causes, mobilizing change and finding solutions to environmental issues. Recently, he was the one transformed by the very experience he created when he hosted his first in-person workshop in two years in Nairobi, Kenya with an amazing group that included Pollination Project grantees, David Mulo, founder of Green-Kenya, and Maulidi Hamisi Mwinyikai, founder of Kishoka Youth Organization.

In March 2022, fifteen exceptional trainers and community leaders gathered in East Africa to work towards building a movement of youth leaders and strengthening their organizations. Each participant is working at the intersection of environmental issues, youth leadership development and a variety of sectors, including: environmental law, the blue economy, plastic pollution, afforestation, biodiversity protection, endangered species conservation, and women-focused entrepreneurship. They examined their business models, theories of change, strategic opportunities, and networks and then discussed ways to train other like-minded organizations to deliver the environmental leadership training created by 10 Billion Strong. In the end, they began to plan a series of follow-on training sessions in Kenya, Malawi, Uganda, and Tanzania with their peers.

As Patrick reflected on working with members of the TPP family, he said, “It was fantastic. We all received initial seed funding and it was clear that we shared a lot of the same values. We all shared an understanding of how challenging it can be to get an Initiative off the ground. Although it wasn’t a stated part of our training, we ended up having a little bit of “founders therapy” as people shared the highs and lows of this important, but challenging work.”

In October 2019, Patrick received a seed grant from the Pollination Project to fund the general digital infrastructure for 10 Billion Strong. They had planned to hold their first, online training for environmental leaders from across sub-Saharan Africa as well as an in-person training at UC Berkeley in March 2020. However, the pandemic changed everything so, instead of an in-person training, Patrick and his team ran an additional online training for twelve, incredible leaders in Bangladesh.

“Receiving the grant was one of the happiest and proudest moments of my professional life. I’ve written proposals and received millions in grant funds for organizations that I worked at previously. But this one was for a new concept that I created independently. I always felt like it was a big risk, but the validation from the TPP team gave me the confidence to continue this entrepreneurial journey. It’s not always easy, but confirmation from others in the sector can provide an amazing burst of energy. TPP was the first external entity that wasn’t a friend or family member that said, “Great idea, make it happen!” said Patrick.

As 10 Billion Strong initially began to grow, Patrick made a strategic decision to build a train-the-trainer model so that he and the team could reach more communities. Then in 2021, they developed the curriculum and content for their flagship Green Leaders Academy program with environmental leaders from more than 20 countries. Now, their 2022 goal is to reach some of the highest capacity trainers and community leaders in East Africa and South and Southeast Asia through a series of Master Trainer Institutes.

Patrick and his team are planning their next Master Trainer Institute in Indonesia in July 2022 for participants from across South and Southeast Asia. The goal is to create a community of practice for environmental leaders who are trying to inspire and support youth to make a difference in their communities. They are excited to bring together 10 to 12 ambitious and environmentally-focused leaders with diverse perspectives to learn more about the Green Leaders Academy, how they can use it in their communities and strengthen their collective organizational capacity. Thanks to a generous grant, the program is funded and includes travel, lodging, and food as covered by 10 Billion Strong. To learn more and apply – https://www.tenbillionstrong.org/institute-bali

When Patrick was starting out, he hoped to create something that would allow him to look his daughters in the eye and tell them that he worked to do everything possible to chart a different course for our planet and humanity’s well-being. As he builds a supportive and optimistic community of changemakers who are passionate about their work, Patrick has observed that many community leaders don’t always consider themselves environmentalists. He shared that many recognize that a stable environment is almost always related to community well-being. And that shared perspective has helped launch a movement. 10 Billion Strong is actively looking to build new partnerships across the world, so if you are passionate about creating positive change and helping humanity, we invite you to connect with them and start that conversation.



🌟 Empowering Through Play! 🌟

Nature Trust (Tamilnadu, India) launched the project, "Enhance the Skills of Children with Disabilities through Play," supported by one of our seed grants 🎉✨ Timed with World Autism Awareness Day 2024, this initiative resonates with the theme of "Empowering the Autistic Voices."

In particular, the grant allowed Nature Trust to provide specially curated play materials to 20 remarkable children with diverse disabilities. These tools were thoughtfully selected to ignite their development and unlock their potential. 🧩🎨

At the distribution event held on March 31st, the atmosphere was filled with joy as children and parents expressed gratitude for the newfound importance of play in their lives. 💖👦👧 The presence of local leaders underscored the significance of inclusive initiatives like this one.

Beyond distribution, Nature Trust volunteers engaged with the children, creating lasting connections and memories. 🤝 

Through the power of play, Nature Trust is fostering a more inclusive world where every child has the opportunity to thrive and reach their full potential. 🌈 

Let's continue spreading joy and empowerment through play! 

#EmpowerThroughPlay #InclusiveCommunities 🌟 
#childrenwithdisabilities #autism #supportchildren #kindness #heartivism #India
It's Volunteer Month! 🌟 🌟 🌟 Today we celebrate our grant advisors working on Economic Development focus area.

By meticulously selecting projects for our seed grants, they're not just funding ideas—they're empowering communities and sparking transformative change. 

Join us in celebrating their invaluable efforts and the positive impact they're creating together!

🔸 Eric Anorrey (Ghana)
🔸 Mariam Nakiryowa (Uganda)
🔸 Jean-Marie Zihalirwa (DRC)
🔸 Emily Logiron Asekon (Kenya)
🔸 Georgia Bernbaum (USA) 
🔸 Herve Tsoala Kuete (Cameroon)
🔸 Jackson Bizimungu (Rwanda)
🔸 Okumu Dickson (Uganda)
🔸 Samuel Litunya (Kenya)


#volunteermonth #volunteer #heartivism #economicdevelopment #change #empoweringcommunities
The Green Earth Initiative (#Cameroon) is a project dedicated to educating and empowering students about climate change, sustainable development, and environmental challenges, that has received a seed grant from The Pollination Project in 2023. With a focus on fostering environmental protection and conservation, the initiative establishes Eco-clubs and Environment Clubs in schools, providing students with the tools to learn, engage, and take action in their communities.

Since receiving the grant from TPP, the Green Earth Initiative has expanded its reach, now encompassing 9 additional schools across two regions/cities, surpassing its initial goal of 5. 
This expansion was made possible by the overwhelming interest from school authorities and the growing number of volunteers and team members.

Through the support of TPP and other partners, the project's environmental education programs, awareness campaigns, and initiatives have impacted over 8000 students in two cities of Cameroon. Additionally, the initiative has planted over 600 trees, launched 5 Environment/Eco Clubs, and distributed over 150 adapted waste bins produced from recycled plastics, contributing to proper waste management practices.

The seed grant from The Pollination Project has been instrumental in catalyzing the growth and success of the Green Earth Initiative, enabling it to make a tangible difference in the lives of students and communities, while fostering a culture of environmental stewardship and sustainability. 

#environmentprotection #seedgrant #heartivism #environmentaleducation