Otesha is a Swahili word that means “reason to dream.” The Otesha Project was founded in February 2002 by two young Canadian women engaged in field studies in Kenya. Seeing the stark contrast between life there and in Canada, they determined to limit their own consumption of goods, and to vote with their dollars as to which companies social and environmental policies they wished to support. The next step was to raise the awareness of Canadian youth and get them actively involved in making sustainable life choices.
Otesha combined two activities, cycling and theatre, as vehicles for communicating messages that have particular appeal for youth. They developed a play, Otesha Morning Choices (material from which was later used to develop The Otesha Book: From Junk to Funk) which they present to high schools through national and regional bike tours.
The Otesha Project trains older youth to inspire high school students, who are in turn asked to commit to making changes in their individual lifestyles and/or through the formation of Hopeful High School Hooligan (Triple-H) teams, which engage in multiple activities in their schools and communities.
The goal of the Otesha project is to make Canadians more responsible consumers, lowering our per capita demands on the earths resources. The project plans to do this by engaging greater numbers of Canadian youth in making lifestyle choices that reflect a commitment to sustainability.
This grant will enable Otesha to increase the number of youth it has engaged since its inception, bicycle-presentation tours offered per year, Triple-H teams formed each year and training weekends.
Reports & Publications
- Lax, Jessica. “Reasons to Dream.” In Notes from Canada’s Young Activists: A Generation Stands Up for Change Severn Cullis-Suzuki, et al (eds.) Vancouver: Greystone Books (2007): 106-114.