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Youth

Blueprint for Green Schools

Saadia Iqbal's picture

If you were intrigued by Saptarshi's blog post about the "green" ideas of Sophie Bathurst, you'll be happy to know she has been blogging in more detail about them on the World Bank's Climate Change blog. Sophie is the winner of this year's World Bank Essay Competition, and she has some innovative ideas about tackling climate change through youth-led solutions. Check it out!

Blueprint for Green Schools

Sophie Bathurst's picture

The author, Sophie Bathurst of Australia, won first place in an international youth essay competition sponsored by the World Bank and other partners. She answered the question "How can you tackle climate change through youth-led solutions?” The awards were announced in Seoul in June, 2009.

Tree protection zone in Bradleys Head, Sydney
   Photo © Sophie Bathurst

My vision for Australia is that of a nation where healthy people live in a healthy environment.  I believe that Australia's future social and economic prosperity as well as the livelihoods of our Pacific Island neighbours depend on our response to the climate challenge. An effective response demands the engagement of all sectors of society and involves both responsible adaptation to existing environmental problems as well as the mitigation of further climate change.

If we ignore the warnings, we will not only damage our precious ecosystems and lose our water resources but will also have to contend with disruption of services; decline in key industries such as agriculture, tourism and fisheries; and increased health problems for society’s most vulnerable, particularly the elderly and remote indigenous communities.

If we think long-term and embrace the challenge, however, climate change can present an opportunity for youth. It can contribute to the establishment of an energy sector based on renewable and clean fuels, the development of world-class research centres and the implementation of globally recognised education programs in sustainability.

Education lies at the core of an initiative that I proposed recently. I envision a series of new projects for primary schools that will be led by a 'Green Taskforce' composed mainly of unemployed youth. The projects are designed to build confidence and to equip young people with some of the skills required for permanent employment in environmental trades. At the same time, these projects will create a culture of ecological awareness and healthy living within primary schools and teach students to reduce their carbon footprint.

Beyond “teaching a man how to fish…”

Saptarshi Pal's picture

My first brush with business was at the age 11, when I started selling stickers/posters in school. It was a great experience, although short-lived, and I regard it a milestone as I realized what I wanted to be when I “grow up!”

At the age of 15, I started working on environmental projects in Kolkata. This was another great experience, the summary of which can be found here, where we had to come up with revenue-generating projects to support our numerous activities.

Only 199 years ago

Maria Rodriguez's picture

Lately I have been regaining the pleasure to read. I don’t know about you, but I had to read so much in high school and college that it slowly became just a task, not something I enjoyed anymore. Thank God that’s changing! Now I am specially enjoying historic novels, chronicles and biographies of people who have achieved great impact on humankind, and personal growth books.

Local Actions, Global Benefits

Saptarshi Pal's picture

Highlights of the essay by Guillermo Recio Guajardo (Mexico) who is one of the eight finalists of The World Bank Essay Competition 2009.

Sierra Tarahumara, Mexico, is known for its enormous diversity of natural resources with over 7,000 plant species, or one fourth of all the botanical species in Mexico, that includes various species of forest resources, such as pine, fir, and ash forests.

Youth Unemployment in Africa

Nina Vucenik's picture


Laborer working on an irrigation project. Tanzania. Photo: Scott Wallace / World BankExperts on youth and employment from Ghana, Kenya, Mali, and Colombia met on Saturday as the Spring Meetings got underway to discuss the growing problem of youth unemployment in Africa. The high-level panel, chaired by Obiageli Ezekwesili, World Bank vice president for the Africa Region, agreed that there are no easy solutions to the problem.


“Youth in urban areas are looking for jobs alongside thousands of others from the same schools, while rural youth are flooding into the cities looking for work,” said Sanoussi Toure, the Minister of Finance of Mali. “This is a tragedy. Our policies favor investment in education and training, but this investment has not led to job creation.”

Key points that came out of the meeting included:

  • There are no easy solutions to the problem of youth unemployment. 
  • Youth employment has to be part of the growth strategy of every African country.
  • Employment policies need to favor investment in education and training.

 

Portrait of woman. Kenya. Photo: © Curt Carnemark / World Bank The panel also included Mauricio Cárdenas, former Colombian Minister of Transport and Economic Planning. Cárdenas talked about the outcomes of two youth programs Colombia put in place during his country's economic crisis in the late 1990s, when external shocks drove unemployment from 10 to 20 percent, and youth unemployment to 30 percent.

It is clear that youth unemployment in Africa needs to be addressed from many entry points, Ezekwesili said in her concluding remarks.

“The profile of unemployed youth has to enter the way we think, just as gender has. Youth need to be effectively targeted in everything we do, so that they will have a stake in the future,” Ezekwesili said.

Story: Youth Unemployment a Major Challenge for African Countries


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