YRE Alumni as Youth Leaders

It has been four months since the UNESCO Youth Forum / YRE Mission was held in Portugal for 42 inspiring participants. The goal was to build their capacities within Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) and to inspire them to become Youth Leaders and YRE Ambassadors in their respective countries. Based on recent feedback and reports from the participants, the workshop has been a success! Since April, many of the participants have been highly engaged in a variety of events, projects, workshops, and media productions advocating for sustainable development - both independently and in collaboration with YRE National Operators.    

So far, the participants have managed to host 10 workshops and other educational events, reaching at least 500 people, and even more workshops are being planned. They have created more than 20 articles, blogs, videos and other media productions, reaching at least 8.000 people (see some of the links below). They also continue to collaborate and exchange ideas through the online platform Slack. Last but not least, eight participants were selected to go to the UNESCO "Youth Saves the Planet" conference in Paris. Read more about the event in the article by Joana Pedro and in the blog post by Vinh Le

Links to some of the online media productions made by participants after the workshop:

Listed below are some of the inspiring updates from the workshop participants, explaining how they have used their knowledge in their home countries to spread awareness of ESD:

Adriana and Matej from Slovakia jointly ran a half-day session during a three-day YRE workshop for 30 students aged 11-17 (winners of the YRE competition and the most active reporters) as well as teachers, parents and facilitators. They presented their trip to Portugal and gave an introduction to the SDGs. They also held a small photo competition where the students randomly chose a card with a specific SDG and then had to take a photo reflecting the goal. The photos are shared on the national YRE webpage.

Anastasia from Greece organised a three-hour workshop for 15 students at the Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences, International and European Studies Department. During the first part of the workshop, she presented the role of ESD through FEE and HSPN Programmes. She also showed photos and videos from the YRE Mission / UNESCO workshop in Portugal. The second part of the workshop was dedicated to learning about systems thinking, leadership and the interconnection of modern societal/environmental problems. For the final part of the workshop, the students were split into three teams representing three different sectors (Business, NGO, and Government) and were asked to discuss the issue of inequality and come up with ideas of how to fight inequality in each sector.

Francis from Ghana organised a step down training for 12 young people involved with YRE Ghana as well as the YRE National Operator. “It was very beautiful to share with my fellow change makers what I learnt from the training workshop. It was a platform where I trained all of the YRE-Ghana team to have the same level of understating on ESD and the Sustainable Development Goals.”  He has also helped organise several events about the SDGs and is active in the “Plastic Free Ghana” campaign and the African Youth SDGs Summit. He also got the opportunity to participate in an Ispace Foundation podcast, talking about his experience from the conference and the role of education in achieving the SDGs. It was live streamed on their facebook page while the edited version was sent to the British Council of Ghana.

Francis is very active on social media and has reached a huge number of people through his environmental posts and actions. He has also launched the company EasyGo Collection which is using recycled waste fabric to produce conference and laptop bags.

Kristijan from Macedonia was invited by the Association of Scouts in Macedonia to organize four workshops within the Youth Academy during the period between 4th-9th April 2018. The workshops were on SDGs topics focusing on: Sustainable Development and the 2030 Agenda of the UN, Gender Equality, and Good Health and Wellbeing. The youth academy gathered 70 youth and 53 youth participated in the workshops lead by Kristijan. The participants were scouts from different regions and cities, with different cultural and socio-economic backgrounds.

KyAsia from Bermuda participated in the annual “Trashion Show” held at Bermuda College in April. For the event, she made an outfit out of upcycled material and also set up an “Impact Table.” “I was inspired by my time in Lisbon at the Capacity Building Training Workshop - and I wanted to educate people about Sustainable Development. I reached out to local organizations such as “Keep Bermuda Beautiful” “Greenrock,” and “Recycle Bermuda” to aid in this process. “Greenrock” provided an interactive game that shows how long it takes for something to biodegrade, and “Keep Bermuda Beautiful” brought trash art pieces as well as an informative display about microplastics. All of these organizations provided signage for the event to help educate people who attended the event.”

Lauren from France is planning a big ESD training day for approx. 200-500 students at Aix-Marseille’s University in September or October 2018. Moreover, Lauren convinced the managers of a hostel, where she was staying during a work trip in Italy, to get involved in the Green Key programme by bringing some sustainable practices and improvements into their establishment. “I was quite happy about it because for me, ESD is really about being proactive on a daily basis and taking (even small) steps all together!”

Martina from Malta gave a presentation to inspire and motivate YREs to continue with their missions, even after the age of 21. During the presentation, she reached approx. 300 students and it was covered by the predominant national news on TV.  She also published an article on one of the most prominent newspapers in Malta about her experience in Portugal and she is now the official link and aid of students aspiring to become and continue to be YREs in Malta.

Milo from Montenegro did an interview together with the YRE National Operator in Montenegro regarding the activities and impressions from Portugal. The interview is published on the national YRE website as well as a local media station website. They also prepared an interview for the programme "Eko kutak" (Eco corner) which was aired on Radio Kotor. Milo also became a member of the national YRE Jury 2018 and was guest speaker at the annual YRE award ceremony in Montenegro.

Nina from Slovenia is planning to carry out an official workshop/seminar in the next school year together with the YRE National Operator as it will be part of the yearly school plan. Nevertheless, she has already organised two custom-made events within her faculty. One was a paper collection action (from which the money was donated to the local Society for the Protection of Animals) and the other was a cleaning action (litter was removed from the faculty and a nearby forest). Around 15 students and a few people of good will participated in each of the actions. In the invitation, as well as at the beginning of the events, Nina introduced YRE and her experiences and impressions of the conference in Portugal. She also invited the participants to become active in YRE Slovenia.

Phoenix from China is working as a teaching assistant for a new online course “Global Environmental Education” which is run by Cornell Civic Ecology Lab. Over 400 participants from all over the world are enrolled in the course. She is leading the discussions, organising webinars, doing summaries, and reviewing final projects. She also runs a group of 61 participants who are currently taking or have previously taken Cornell EE courses in Jiangsu Province, China.

Vinh from Canada is in the process of creating an NGO for young designers to teach them about the SDGs, empower them to use art and design to bring awareness to the public, and have them adopt sustainable practices within their own lifestyles. He has also taken on the role as admin for the Slack platform.

Wesley from Singapore has become highly active as a volunteer for different events such as the 2018 Earth Hour and World Water Day. He has also signed up for the WWF X HSBC Water Education Programme later in August where he will be educating kids and adults at national libraries about how water is vital to building healthy communities. He has also volunteered to edit and proofread a guidebook that WWF Singapore is creating for primary and secondary school students regarding their schools’ carbon footprint. Lastly, he is developing a website that aims to gather volunteers every now and then to go on interesting sustainability field-works in Singapore - after which a journalistic piece will be published by the volunteers.