Friday, August 12, 2016

International Youth Day

It's International Youth Day!

This post was written by Mahdi Lefram, one of the Environmental Youth Ambassadors who works with Dar Si Hmad, my Moroccan research partner. Check out his writing about youth, culture, and education below. And check out the original post on Dar Si Hmad's blog.
Today we celebrate the International Day for Youth! Youth as social, political and economic catalysts. Throughout time, it is undeniably true that young people have never before had the same kinds resources and abilities to truly change the world. We are seeing the power of young people from Silicon Valley technology entrepreneurs to Middle East social justice movements to internet & social media influencers…and beyond.
The 2016 Theme, “The Road to 2030: Eradicating Poverty and Achieving Sustainable Production and Consumption” focuses on the highly important role of youth in ensuring poverty eradication and accomplishing sustainable development through environmentally responsible production and consumption.
Sustainable consumption involves using products and services that meet the basic needs of today’s communities while protecting the needs of future generations. The development and promotion of individual choices and actions that increase the eco-efficiency of consumption and minimize waste is critical to achieving equitable socioeconomic development.
Yet, many young men and women face obstacles to certain green habits. Obstacles to sustainable consumption choices include the high prices of goods and services and a lack of information about the available options. By focusing on the social development dimensions of sustainable consumption and production, this year’s theme emphasizes a multidimensional approach to sustainability.
This brings us to highlight our current youth-driven environmental programs that correlate with the International Youth Day 2016 Theme. Over the last few months, a group of seven young activists have been promoting environmental sustainability in their communities through visual storytelling, social media and local events. So far, our Environmental Youth Ambassadors (EYA) have contributed to the 2016 Water School, organized two community events with more than 60 youth participants, and are leading advocacy efforts through blogging and social media. With original, multilingual, multimedia content including articles, photos, videos and infographics, the EYAs are challenging the status quo surrounding the environment and natural resources. The Ambassadors participated in the Mediterranean Youth Climate Forum (MYCF) that was held in Tangier last July and one of their pictures was selected as a semifinalist in the worldwide Global Giving 2016 Photo Contest. Follow their adventures here.
Furthermore, this year, Dar Si Hmad (DSH) also successfully implemented its third Water School, an environmental education program for children in the region of Aït Baamrane using innovative teaching methodologies including workshops, hands-on activities as well as games and field trips. The Water School’s STEM-based curriculum explores the concepts of water, sustainability, conservation, and environmental challenges. During the program, children learn by doing, develop communication skills, interact with each other, meet new people, and discover various topics. Watch the YouTube video series about this life-changing experience here.
Last but not least is the RISE & THRIVEprofessional development program. With the generous support of the U.S.-Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI), Dar Si Hmad’s urban Agadir training program was a great success, as demonstrated by participants’ commitment, personal growth and considerable achievements. Through workshops, conferences and extracurricular activities, students developed leadership and teamwork abilities and acquired technology, business and financial skills. Two small grants of $500 were awarded to selected participants in order to support the projects they developed over the course of the program. Through this initiative, Dar Si Hmad prepared students for job opportunities, sparked their entrepreneurial spirit and above all, grew citizens that are taking the lead in Morocco’s future. Watch highlights from this eight-month journey here.
Today’s youth are tomorrow’s leaders – and today’s. Through the Environmental Youth Ambassadors (EYA), Water School, and RISE & THRIVE programs, Dar Si Hmad is partnering with Moroccan youth to be positive social change catalysts in their communities. From all the Dar Si Hmad staff, volunteers and community members, happy International Youth Day to them and to you!

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