Make It Famous: London College of Communication Student Exhibition on Africa’s Great Green Wall


Over the past few months, the Global Mechanism of the UNCCD has been working with the global branding agency, venture three, to promote the local and global benefits of the Great Green Wall to a worldwide audience.

The Great Green Wall – an epic ambition to restore the productivity of an 8000km stretch of land across 12 African countries – is all about collaboration, so we wanted to open up our brief to as many minds as possible.

At the end of last year, venture three and the UNCCD invited final year students at the London College of Communication to help us ‘Make the Great Green Wall famous’ in whatever creative ways they thought could boost mass awareness of the initiative.

Ten of the best ideas were recently showcased at an exhibition at venture three’s studio in London, three of which were shortlisted by a panel including the UNCCD Executive Secretary, Monique Barbut, for potential further development. These included:

Sumi Khan’s beautifully simplistic The Hourglass, which symbolizes Africa’s Great Green Wall fighting back against the threat of desertification:“Within the hourglass, sand acts as the Sahara desert, the tree represents hope for the future of Africa, while the seeping sand symbolizes the passing of time.”The installation also features a gift box, which includes a mini hourglass that can be used as a key chain, figurine or necklace, as well as a 3ml vial of fragranced oil made only from plants & trees.

Beth Johnson’s playful idea to create a reality TV series positioning the Great Green Wall as The World’s Biggest Gardening Project: “Unfortunately, people have become wary of social/political/environmental campaigns and often assume that they are donation-motivated. This campaign positions the GGW as a creative phenomenon through a subversive strategy, undercutting the cynicism some may feel with a more conventional approach.’

Christopher Ong’s Explore your new wonder of the world - a vision of creating an educational exhibition focusing on the benefits of the Great Green Wall targeting 5-8 year olds at a high profile tourist venue - London’s Science Museum:“As the Great Green Wall is a long-term project, its completion will ultimately be seen by the next generation… By planting seeds of information in these young minds, we’ll create gatekeepers of the Great Green Wall – making the new wonder of the world famous and memorable.’’

Speaking at the event, Monique Barbut, Executive Secretary of the UNCCD highlighted underscored how “The Great Green Wall could be the biggest human endeavor of all time. But to realize this African dream, we need public opinion to wake up quickly – young creative minds […] can help play a huge part in achieving this.”

The UNCCD will be offering internships to the shortlisted students with a view to giving them an opportunity to develop their creative ideas further.


Related links:

News piece on the LCC event in the Creative Review

Vimeo featuring UNCCD’s Monique Barbut at the exhibition

Great Green Wall Virtual Reality film