Nestled in a plastic lawn chair under the soft shade of a mango tree sits Elakune Joseph, the youth leader for the Aputon cluster in Soroti, Uganda. As the youth leader, Joseph ensures involvement of the youth in his community through recruitment efforts.
Joseph explained that he encourages his peers to join his cluster by discussing the many benefits one experiences with TIST. Not only are there benefits to those who join, but a TIST cluster prospers when there are many youth members. Younger members are often more able than their elders and can help with more difficult tasks, including digging trenches and tree planting. Joseph’s goal is to convince youth members to join Small Groups so that all members can qualify for incentives.
While recruitment is Joseph’s key responsibility, he has taken it upon himself to learn everything he can from TIST about the environment and different farming techniques. Joseph explained that, through TIST, he has learned about the many benefits of trees (including their ability to sequester CO2), conservation practices, and public speaking techniques. When asked about the most important lesson he has learned along the way, Joseph beamed, “When humans coexist with the environment, everyone benefits!”
Joseph has his own farm filled with Tika, Gravalia, mango, orange, guava, and acacia trees. Joseph graduated from university in May 2019. His plans upon graduation? He hopes to start an agriculture business and sell his products throughout the country.
With a permanent smile etched onto his face, Joseph exclaimed that he lives by the motto that “you can make the environment happy and succeed at the same time,” and that he plans to do just that.
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