There will be 250 million climate refugees by the year 2050, according to UN estimates. There is an urgent need to support youth in vulnerable communities from being victims of climate change to co-building their communities to be resilient. ResilYouth is a participatory action toolkit to engage youth in communities most vulnerable to climate change, helping them learn about, co-plan and implement community projects of resilience. The idea was developed in August 2017 by a team of five entrepreneurs during the inaugural UNLEASH - a platform that brings together like-minded thought leaders, innovators and potential partners dedicated to developing and supporting ideas around Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The team now seeks partners to work with to implement the idea.
The UN estimates that there will be up to 250 million climate refugees by the year 2050. Communities will face the devastating impacts of climate change, including extreme flooding, droughts and loss of arable land. Many of the communities predicted to be the hardest hit are also the most impoverished, making them ill-prepared and under-resourced.
Youth populations are going to be the ones bearing the burden of these challenges over the coming decades. At the same time, young people in developing countries are not being adequately educated about the impact of climate change on their lives. More importantly, they are not being equipped with the knowledge, skills and resources to take action and make their communities more resilient.
Imagine: what if instead of being victims of climate change, these young men and women were supported to be part of the solution?
ResilYouth is a participatory action toolkit to engage youth in communities most vulnerable to climate change to co-plan and implement resilience-building community projects. This school or community-based learning toolkit for youth aged 12-14 and follows a 3-step process with hands-on materials:
Knowledge: Through lessons, activities and games, students learn about climate change and impacts on their community. They learn skills like environmental modelling and risk assessment and use them to learn about past and future community impacts and leverage points for building resilience.
Collaboration: Students work together to ideate and create a solution. They collaborate to identify how their community could be more resilient, such as through coastal protection projects and alternative agriculture, and reach out to relevant community partners.
Action: With support and backing from local granting partners, students implement resilience projects in their communities.
Our product embodies innovation in a number of ways:
- Many innovations on climate change migrants deal with symptoms and not root causes. We are working with climate change disaster prone communities to enable and equip them to identify adaptation measures, reducing the pressure of migration.
- Most climate change adaptation interventions we have reviewed utilize top-down approach which affects ownership. Our approach bridges the gap between a top-down and bottom up approach, making it inclusive and sustainable.
- Our intervention combines knowledge and action. We are not only working with young people to reflect on their reality and improve knowledge on climate change, we are also working with them to build networks for collaborative action and implementation on resilience initiatives.
- Our intervention is tagged to already existing structures – the formal education structure – although it is hands-on, experiential and community-based learning.
By empowering young people, we will be contributing to building an ecosystem of actors where our approach is utilized for generating and implementing ideas on climate change adaptation.
The following are the SDGs we look to contribute to and the respective indicators we will measure:
1.5 By 2030 build the resilience of the poor and those in vulnerable situations, and reduce their exposure and vulnerability to climate-related extreme events and other economic, social and environmental shocks and disasters
11.3 By 2030 enhance inclusive and sustainable urbanization and capacities for participatory, integrated and sustainable human settlement planning and management in all countries
13.1 Strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters in all countries
13.3 Improve education, awareness-raising and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning