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Jennifer Uchendu, the Nigerian activist who makes sustainability relatable to youth

Jennifer Uchendu is a Nigerian eco-feminist, sustainability advocate and climate activist who strives to make sustainability actionable and relatable to youth, through her NGO SustyVibes. She is also known for her work on eco-anxiety.

Jennifer Uchendu started SustyVibes in 2016, initially as a blog to address sustainability from a Nigerian youth perspective. Due to the growing interest of the Nigerian youth, the blog evolved into an organization to engage African youth in issues related to sustainability, climate action through youth-led community projects. To make changemaking more enjoyable and impactful for youth, the NGO embeds pop culture into its projects by organizing hangouts, parties, film screenings. It has launched several projects, such as « Street Dreams Project » which uses art and storytelling to empower young women in championing profitable environmental projects in their communities ; « Susty on the streets » which addresses the plastic pollution through direct advocacy with everyday people ; « communitrees project » which has planted 5000 indigenous trees in Nigeria…

Following a personal experience of eco-anxiety in 2019 and as part of her masters in development studies specializing in climate change, gender and eco-anxiety, she launched in 2022 The Eco-Anxiety Africa Project (TEAP) which addresses the impact of climate change on Africans’ mental health, especially young people through research (data collection, reports, surveys), climate aware psychotherapy support, community action… It has also initiated «Anchor », a collaboration between different entities to support mental health professionals in learning more about the connection between climate change, environmental issues and psychological well-being.

In 2022, she attended the COP 27 in Egypt where she talked about the importance of addressing eco-anxiety as one of the issues of climate change. Currently, her organization SustyVibes gathers a community of hundreds of young people involved in various projects.

Jennifer Uchendu discovered her interest for environment while studying biochemistry at Covenant university where she graduated in 2011 with a bachelor degree. She started her career in 2012 at Unilever Nigeria where she worked as regulatory affairs officer and quality officer as part of her National Service Youth Corp. She also worked with Jumia Nigeria as customer service representative, associate vendor development manager from 2014 to 2015.

In 2023, she was listed as one of the BBC 100 Women. She is the co-author of the e-book, « A Guide to Business sustainability in Nigeria ».