Young Guyanese environment advocates receive UNICEF grants for climate action projects
protection of freshwater resources, climate change education, among projects championed by awardees
GEORGETOWN, 18 NOVEMBER 2021 – Ahead of World Children’s Day 2021, several young Guyanese were awarded grants to implement climate action projects as part of UNICEF Guyana and the Rights of the Child Commission’s (RCC) Climate Changemakers Initiative. The projects, which were proposed, designed and will be implemented by the youth themselves, range from engaging and raising awareness of climate change among young people on social media, to mangrove restoration on the West Demerara, and monitoring and advocacy for protection of freshwater resources in the Rupununi.
‘UNICEF is delighted to support this group of exceptional young Guyanese. We hope it is just the start of their climate action journey and will be an inspiration to other youth. At UNICEF, we recognize that the climate crisis is a child rights crisis and we are committed to help young people take action to protect the future of our planet,’ said UNICEF Deputy Country Representative Irfan Akhtar.
Climate change is one of the greatest threats facing this generation. An August 2021 UNICEF report, The Children’s Climate Risk Index (CCRI), found almost every child on earth is exposed to at least one climate and environmental hazard, such as heatwaves, cyclones, air pollution, flooding and water scarcity. Further, 1 billion children are at extremely high risk of the adverse effects of climate change. ‘When we enable children and young people as agents of change, there is an unparalleled opportunity to address the climate crisis both in the present - among their peers, households, and communities, and in the long term as these children become decision-makers,’ said Akhtar.
The young awardees are among a larger group of young Guyanese who benefitted from training by climate and other experts under the Climate Changemakers Initiative. Subsequently, they submitted their proposals for climate action in their communities and following an evaluation, selected projects were awarded funding.
- Protection of Freshwater Resources in the South Rupununi: Proposed by Dan Rudolph, Aquila Fernandes and Jacintha Realine, this project will monitor, raise awareness and advocate for the protection for key freshwater sources in the South Rupununi.
- Youths for a Change: Proposed by Shontay Hawker, this project will involve youth in a Georgetown ward raising awareness and taking action to promote environment sustainability.
- Mangrove Restoration: Proposed by Deopaul Somwaru, this project aims to find a more efficient way of replanting mangroves. This will involve exploring the use of a pioneer species of grass to set the foundation for the growth of mangroves on mudflats on the West Demerara.
- Ecospacegy: Proposed by Suphane Dash-Alleyne, the main focus is utilizing social media to engage and raise awareness of climate change and its impacts with the main audience being Guyanese youth.
‘Words cannot begin to describe how overjoyed I am; the restoration of mangroves has always been one of my goals. So being given the opportunity to do so is beyond amazing. I am very much grateful and will carry out this project to the best of my abilities,’ said Somwaru.
‘I am elated to have received funds for my social media awareness campaign aimed toward educating Guyanese youths about climate change. This opportunity is one I plan to take full advantage of and I promise to ensure all my aims and objectives are achieved. I believe a project like this is desperately needed because youths like me are the ones who will inherit this earth and it is imperative that they know all the facts about this ongoing crisis,’ said Dash-Alleyne.
‘RCC is delighted and is privileged to once again partner with UNICEF in this worthwhile initiative of challenging our Climate Changemakers, who are also some of the Commission’s Child Rights Ambassadors, to actively engage in projects that will make a difference in their communities,’ said Aleema Nasir, Chairperson of the RCC. ‘We are proud the work they have put into developing their various projects and look forward to providing support during the execution of the same.’
UNICEF and the RCC’s Climate Changemakers Initiative aims to strengthen youth participation in climate action. Under this programme, Guyanese youth have benefitted from training in climate change, advocacy, diplomacy, life skills, and use of digital platforms to improve their understanding of the climate crisis and increase participation in climate advocacy and action.
UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across more than 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone. For more information about UNICEF and its work for children visit www.unicef.org.
Follow UNICEF Guyana-Suriname
- Twitter: @UNICEFGUYSUR
- Facebook https://www.facebook.com/UNICEFGuyanaSuriname/
- Website https://www.unicef.org/guyanasuriname/