Ms. Bita Correa, a member of the Baha'i International Community’s delegation to the 55th UN Commission for Social Development, New York, described a youth environmental project at a side event organized by the BIC on the topic “Rising Generations: Youth as Drivers of Prospering Communities.” on 3 February 2017 [Video link]
Ms. Correa, program director at FUNDAEC (Fundación para la Aplicación y Enseñanza de las Ciencias), a Baha'i-inspired agency in Colombia, spoke about the experience of a group of young people on the north coast of Colombia who undertook a service project to promote better practices in solid waste disposal – an effort that ended up transforming the habits of their entire community.
The young people had been engaged in program of study that emphasized their own agency, stressed the importance of learning together, and encouraged projects of service to the whole community. They decided to focus on environmental issues, and, over a period of about six months, they analyzed the patterns of consumption in the community – noting also how solid waste was disposed.
“It became apparent that trash was being left on the street or being dumped in the river,” said Ms. Correa.
So the youth organized a series of clean-up days in the community. They bought trash cans and placed them strategically. They also visited families and shared what they had learned about composting and recycling.
Ultimately, said Ms. Correa, the community essentially re-organized its entire approach to solid waste disposal, thanks to the initiative of young people.
“One thing we have observed in the various programs that are being offered in the Baha'i community worldwide has been the willingness and energy which with youth have participated when given the chance,” she said. “They want to engage and participate. They want to see that their actions actually have an impact.”