Young, vibrant and ready to take on the world of forestry! “We want to effectively engage in forestry issues and be part of decisions that are being made,” declared a group of young people at the XIV World Forestry Congress.
Youth made it clear that they want to engage actively in forestry issues and natural resources sustainability. They ooze potential and yet they feel less is being invested to cater for their ambitious goals- education that equips them with relevant skills from elementary to tertiary level.
Probably they are right, if they are, what can be done to make the education system relevant to aspirant foresters? I’m sure a lot can be done but Investment by the government in learnership and apprenticeships programmes can play a significant role in creating enabling environment for the future leaders. Proper guidance at school level is needed- encourage kids to take science subjects for better jobs in the Forestry sector. Young people are also looking up to the government to invest in the initiatives aimed at natural resources sustainability.
Young people have shown great enthusiasm and are committed in driving change in forestry but feel platforms are not adequately provided for them to show case what they can contribute. If governments are serious about forestry, they must be engaged the youth. In my view A good starting point would be starting at a tender age, provide practical education to young kids-let them plants trees rather than providing theoretical education.
Investing in youth lead-initiatives by the government and other key stakeholders in the sector could play an important role in natural resources conservation.
Charles Batte, is a 28 year old professional Dr from Uganda who saw a need of starting a tree planting program in Uganda to empower unemployed youth. His social enterprise; Tree Adoption Uganda plants fruits trees which provides food for the community while nourishing and protecting the soil. He also employed a 20 year old woman who had a passion of starting a bio-diversity business but lacked the start-up capital. With the salary that she earns from Charles’ program she will be able to sustain herself and start her dream bio-diversity business. This is a proof that young people around the globe have enormous potential, all they need in an enabling environment. Watch
You must check out Charles’ impact video
World Forestry Congress showed that there are young people who are prepared to walk the path less travelled by the majority- conserve the nature!
Blogpost by Thokozani Dlamini (IWMI-South Africa) – T.Dlamini(at)cgiar.org
Picture courtesy – Amelia Ochoa