The J.J. Rawlings Foundation, working in partnership with Achimota School and Ghana Forestry Commission, held a tree planting exercise at Achimota School to commemorate the 74th birthday of the late former President Jerry John Rawlings, who died in November 2020.

The tree planting initiative was also held to recognize the former President’s environmental credentials and help nurture a spirit of environmental activism in students and youth. A total of 900 mahogany, millettia, ceiba, montalis, neem and coconut trees were planted on a two acres lot demarcated for the exercise at Achimota School.

Participants included government officials, former political colleagues of the former President, members of the diplomatic corps, old schoolmates of President Rawlings, friends and members of the general public who all took the opportunity to plant hundreds of trees.

In remarks made at the event, the Director of the J.J. Rawlings Foundation Ms. Yaa Asantewaa Agyeman-Rawlings recalled that the late President was very passionate about environmental protection. She recalled memories of the former President stopping his traveling convoy on the highways to help put out bushfires and pulling up his vehicle to yield to a crossing snake.

He simply was at odds with anybody who could not appreciate the spirituality of mother nature and the serenity she provided to our lives in exchange for preserving and protecting her. He was indeed a true guardian of our environment.

Ms. Yaa Asantewaa Agyeman-Rawlings | Director of the J.J. Rawlings Foundation

Ms. Agyeman-Rawlings unveiled the Foundation’s new Tree-Guardianship Project to “nurture instinctive environmental activism in students” to enable them recognize their role as protectors of the environment and make that “an intricate part of their lives.” She was excited to see Achimota School participate in the Tree-Guardianship Project, and noted that it offered students an opportunity to take ownership of the government’s Green Ghana Campaign.

Ghana’s Minister of Lands and Natural Resources Mr. Samuel A. Jinapor paid tribute to the late President Rawlings’ love for the environment and discipline, noting that a disciplined society was one that protected its its ecosystem and its environment. Mr. Jinapor said the J.J. Rawlings Foundation had chosen a good cause and assured the foundation of total support by government to protect the legacy of the late former President Rawlings. He donated GHS50,000 to support the Foundation’s work.

Headmistress of Achimota School Mrs. Marjorie Affenyi congratulated the J.J. Rawlings Foundation for the decision to plant trees in Achimota. Mrs. Affenyi described the late former President as an illustrious son of Achimota School who was in love with preserving and protecting the environment. She said Achimota was obliged to applaud initiatives such as the Green Ghana Project that sought to preserve and protect the environment.

“This project is dear to the heart and soul of the school. On behalf of the Board of Governors, school management, staff and students I assure the J.J. Rawlings Foundation of Achimota School’s commitment to ensure the sustenance of the project…In a few years to come… [we] will see the realization of the dream of having a beautiful arboretum befitting the status of His Excellency Jerry John Rawlings.”

Mrs. Marjorie Affenyi | Headmistress of Achimota School

Notable participants included Chief Executive of the Forestry Commission Mr. John Allotey, Dean of the Diplomatic Corps and Colombian Ambassador to Ghana Mrs. Claudia Turbay Quintero, Malian Ambassador Mr. Abdoul Kader Toure, Deputy Japanese Ambassador to Ghana Mr. Oyama Hiromoto, immediate past Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Ambassador Mr. Kwesi Quartey, Consular General of Trinidad and Tobago Mr. John Mitchell and Managing Director of TT Brothers Mr. Isaac Tetteh.