Youth Program: Agents of Change in the Making

30. June 2023|In Indonesia, News

For the past few years, we have been assisting our farmers in the form of our successful Farmer Field Schools. There each farmer learns about different planting techniques, tree maintenance, good agroforestry, business practices and their contribution to the environment through lectures as well as practical demonstrations. We are always thrilled about their enthusiasm and also realized that the excitement goes beyond the participants. During the Farmer Field School, we often see children joining their parents and curiously watching them from the side. 

Seeing this phenomenon occurring in many places, we came up with the idea of organizing a similarly empowering activity, but specifically tailored to the needs of children. We have recognized the importance of the role of children as agents of change to combat climate change. Therefore we decided to foster young people’s positive relationship to the environment through “Youth Program”.

The program aims to rebuild the children’s relationship with the forests of Central Kalimantan, and empower them to become changemakers for environmental protection in their villages.

The pilot program kicked off in February 2023 for a three-month period in Linau village, one of the villages we support with reforestation projects. For implementing the Youth Program, we have been collaborating with our long-time partner, Borneo Institute (BIT). BIT is an organization which focuses on empowering indigenous people in rural areas by facilitating access to education, communication, and information. We believe that their expertise in community development-related programs contributes to an excellent outcome. It was important for us to take a cultural approach to understand the values that can bridge children’s awareness from an early age to be involved in forest restoration and foster their love for the environment. 

As mentioned by Yanedi Jagau, the Director of BIT,  “We believe that cultural diversity is an important asset that needs to be celebrated and preserved. In addition, we recognize the importance of sustainable practices for the environment and local communities. We want to contribute in raising awareness about these important issues.”

One outcome of the Youth Program is the Karungut (traditional Dayak song) that the children created during the workshop. It carries a message about the importance of planting trees for their future – environmentally and socially:

Novesa, one of the Youth Program participants, also shared her thoughts on the importance of protecting the environment. Establishing a positive mindset and an understanding of responsibility for the environment in young minds is crucial to move forward taking action against all the climate issues that we face.

This program really brings our goal of combating climate change a step forward by getting more and more people from different social circles to be part of the solution. Seeing these children’s passion for positive action gives us hope that we will succeed to solve the climate crisis.