Youth on mission to get greener jobs

The Samoa Conservation Society has embarked on a project to get youth in villages across Samoa to think about environmentally focused career options in a bid to protect the country’s natural resources.

Funded by the Civil Society Support Programme, the Green Livelihoods Project has built a manual to train five young people on environmental threats, and what they and others around them can do to prevent those from happening.

From developing recyclable or organic products, to using excess crops for jams and chutneys, sewing sturdy shopping bags or establishing waste management systems for the village, the S.C.S. wants youth to take the lead transforming their homes.

“We want to be able to help villages get their ideas off the ground, whether they are income based business ideas or not,” Project Manager Dave Chung said.

The five youth being trained over the week are learning not only what “green jobs” are, but also how to convey the idea to their peers at home, and become the ambassadors and mentors for their villages.

They will be able to tap into a network of organisations already trying to work and live green, like the Samoa Voyaging Society, the Matuaileoo Environment Trust, Conservation International and even the National University of Samoa. 

The project also intends to work with potential employers (such as hotels and tour companies) to find relevant jobs or to help people apply for grants to develop village-based projects.

S.C.S consultant who has built the manual for the training Seema Deo said the people and human resources are more valuable than any pamphlet she could put together.

Having worked across the region in environmental education, she has seen countless resources lost or left unused and instead wants to see the participants empowered to carry out the work knowing they have a supply of experts and supporters behind them.

Mr. Chung said the concept should be accessible to anyone interested in trying it out.

“We are not scientists or science teachers, we are just green citizens promoting green livlihoods, which is part of the fa’aSamoa,” he said.

“We want to build the basic knowledge of our environment and biodiversity in Samoa.”

Over the week, the group will learn about facilitating and being a good group coach in order to take their new knowledge back to the community, and map out their own communities to see where the potential for environmentally focused jobs are.

They will cover waste and pollution, the human impact on the environment and what rules, regulations and opportunities exist in Samoa to protect the environment, from the oceans and reef to the mountains and valleys.

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