UNESCO's Engaged Initiative and National Geographic call on Caribbean youth to submit ideas to protect the oceans and the environment
12 July 2021
The Engaged Initiative, is inviting Caribbean youth aged 18-29 to submit project ideas to the Engaged for the Oceans and the Environment Challenge.
The Engaged Initiative, a collaboration led by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO, with Socialab, Ashoka, and National Geographic is inviting Caribbean youth aged 18-29 to submit project ideas to the Engaged for the Oceans and the Environment Challenge to combat the effects of climate change on the oceans. Three of the project ideas have the chance to win US$2,000 for developing their innovative solutions.
Ocean pollution is one of the biggest climate challenges facing our planet. Not only are the oceans responsible for producing at least 50 per cent of the world's oxygen, they also make up 70 per cent of the Earth's surface and are home to millions of species. However, 80 per cent of the world's plastic ends up in the oceans every year. The Caribbean Small Island Developing States (SIDS), are either surrounded by or bordered by the Caribbean Sea and rely heavily on the oceans for their livelihoods and sustainable development.
Encouraging Caribbean youth to participate in the Engaged for the Oceans and the Environment Challenge, Saadia Sanchez-Vegas, Director and Representative of the UNESCO Cluster Office for the Caribbean highlights, "The initiative has actively engaged over 10,000 young people from Latin America since 2015 in creating youth-led projects to promote sustainable development. Now, Engaged is expanding to the Caribbean, giving young people from the sub-region the opportunity to submit their ideas to better protect our Oceans, an ultimate source of life."
In Latin America, the initiative is known by its Spanish synonym "Comprometidos". Alejandra Rossi, Executive Director of Socialab, explains, "Engaged or also referred to as Comprometidos is a community of youth that provides both a home and a stepping stone to empower young changemakers. It offers a combination of training sessions, workshops, coaching, mentoring, and resources. We look forward to welcoming the new members from the Caribbean."
Mauricio Rodriguez, youth participant from Colombia shares his experience: "Engaged has become a big movement across Latin American countries, encouraging young people to believe in the importance of their social projects and giving them strategic tools to move forward. We have become a community where we explore different issues that make us think from a different tactical level. Now, with the call of Engaged for the Oceans and the Environment, it opens up a range of opportunities to explore ideas that impact our environment and that we need to act on."
Engaged for the Oceans and the Environment is an open call that invites young people aged 18-29 from Latin America and the Caribbean who have a project idea or ongoing project that impacts their community and aims to address an environmental challenge, contributing to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. Under this open call, young people will receive mentoring support to strengthen their ideas and can receive up to USD 2,000 as seed funding to bring their ideas to life.