Reports by: Fauzrina Bulka/Photo: Azman Jumat(Sabah)
KOTA KINABALU, 3 Oct (Malaysiaaktif) – The Young Leaders For Sustainability (YL4S) reveal three projects focusing on sustainable practices, targeting youth communities in and around Kota Kinabalu.
These three projects, known as a Youth Action Agenda, have been developed over a year and are now entering the implementation stage.
Their projects are, The ’No Plastic Straw/ Campus, Improve Waste Management at Pulau Gaya Through Youth Empowerment and Young Eco Ambassadors Green School Initiative.
YL4S is part of Borneo Eco Film Festival’s (BEFF) Youth and Education Outreach; a platform for urban youths, who are from or based in Sabah and are between ages 18-30 to gain knowledge of real-world problem-solving for sustainability through a series of monthly workshops and volunteer work.
Since its inception in May 2017, more than 30 youths have had the opportunity to meet and work with leading conservationists, policy-makers, indigenous elders, social and environmental entrepreneurs as well as other youth leaders, exposing them to current issues and cutting-edge approaches to sustainability and experiential learning.
”We developed YL4S in early May after conducting school talks on sustainability in late 2016. We realized that there are so many young people who are passionate about the environment but have limited access and opportunities to translate their ideas into action.
“So we came up with an incubator programme that gave college and university students a chance to get together with like-minded youths in a collaborative effort to learn more about sustainability issues,” said Melissa Leong, BEFF’s Programme Director.
“To date, our participants come from various fields of study; from marine science to media studies, representing UMS, UCSF and Jesselton College.
We feel it is important that they come from a diverse subject range as we hope whatever career path they choose, they will continue on to become leaders in sustainability,” she added.
Since May 2017, these Young Leaders have attended monthly thematic workshops, with topics ranging from sustainable development to engaging with indigenous communities.
Collaborating partners include Reef Check Malaysia, Future Law, Eco Health Alliance, Wilmar International, Danau Girang Field Centre, UMS Borneo Marine Research Institute, South East Asia Rainforest Research Partnership (SEARRP), NEPCon-Malaysia and many more.
Participants also have access to seminars, forums and workshops outside the programme through these collaborative partnerships, including the 2017 Heart of Borneo International Conference and the recent Danau Girang 10th Anniversary Science Seminar and Sabah Sharks and Rays Forum 2018.
Over the last year, the Young Leaders have identified their key interests in sustainability and developed a Youth Action Agenda that describes the key actions young people in Sabah can take to advance sustainability in their own local communities.
The Action Agenda features projects designed by the Young Leaders in a peer-to-peer learning approach that leverages the new knowledge they have gained through YL4S activities.
The Pulau Gaya Waste Management Project, led by Daniella Han, 21, a Marine Science student at Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS), focusing on empowering the students of SMK Pulau Gaya through guided workshops on how to manage their solid waste.
Meanwhile, Nadine Stanley Mopilin, 25, a postgraduate marine student from UMS Borneo Marine Research Institute (BMRI), and her team are in the midst of developing a project with the Kelab Pencinta Alam (KPA) or Nature Club at a local secondary school to empower their members to be Young Eco Ambassadors (YEA).
The Ambassadors will be trained to lead three main initiatives in reducing the school’s carbon footprint, namely electricity and water consumption and single-use plastic waste.
The third and final project hopes to turn Universiti Sabah Malaysia (UMS) into the first No Plastic Straw Campus in Sabah. Group leader, Imelda Geoffrey, 23, currently pursuing her Masters in molecular biology at UMS, and her team have conducted surveys and interviews with participating cafes in UMS as part of their baseline data collection and hope that by May 2019, there will be a marked reduction, if not elimination, in the use of plastic straws.
”We realise it may take some time to make this a reality but it has to start with a single step,” said lmelda.
As part of their project management, teams must also raise funds for their projects and are currently seeking donors and partnerships.
YL4S is supported by Yayasan Hasanah and UNICEF Malaysia. Applications to YL4S are currently closed until the next intake is announced.
BEFF today announced its partnership with UNICEF-Malaysia. BEFF, which enters its 8th year, is a non-profit programme of activities organized by Melapi the Society for Holistic Outreach, Research and Environmental Action.
This year, the festival partners with UNICEF-Malaysia, adding to the list of reputable festival supporters and sponsors.
In line with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) outlined by the United Nations, BEFF’s Cinema and Publika Programmes will be supporting a number of SDGs, in particular on sustainable cities and communities (SDG11), sustainable consumption and production (SDG61), reduced inequalities (SDG12) and gender equality (SDG10).
They will be visiting secondary schools between October and November to conduct talks on environmental and social sustainability with an emphasis on children’s rights. This is a collaborative initiative between BEFF and UNICEF-Malaysia.
This year’s Borneo Eco Film Festival will take place from the 2nd to the 4th of November, 2018 at Suria Sabah .