| April 21, 2019

The Generation Green: Teaching youth about nature, conservation and more

The Generation Green: Teaching youth about nature, conservation and more
KATHMANDU, May 20: The second batch of WWF Nepal’s The Generation Green (TGG) campaign concluded their six-month project on March this year. Seventy-five young graduates marked the end of their campaign which began in August 2015.

The campaign is WWF Nepal’s initiative to encourage the youth of the country to be more aware and invested in conservation and environment. Through the six-month program, participants are mentored by influential personalities who will take them through a series of discussions which are designed to help grow and execute the best ideas. The mentors are selected from among some of the most talented people in their respective fields.

The second batch was mentored by a host of talented personalities like Former Chief Secretary Leela Mani Poudyal, Former Deputy CEO of Clean Energy Development Bank Barsha Shrestha, social entrepreneur Anil Chitrakar, and Nepathya frontman Amrit Gurung, among others.

Musician Gurung has mentored 17 young people through the first and second batches of TGG. Gurung is a self-professed nature lover who never misses an opportunity to trek around the country. “Nature and conservation are important issues for me. This planet belongs to us all.

People assume money is what makes our lives complete but they’re living under false assumptions. Our environment should be on the list of the most important things to save. It’s the legacy we leave behind for our children,” he states.

Anshu Chalise was one of the seven people who were mentored by Ranjit Acharya, CEO of Prisma Advertising. Of her time in the campaign, she says, “There are a lot of things that we took away from the project. First of all, our mentor Ranjit sir was amazing as he made sure that we got more than simple bookish knowledge from him. He put us to work from the very first day and made sure that we were all involved.”

Her team consisted of six other young people who worked on the ‘Hanging Garden Project.’ The project came to be after an initial project called ‘Water ATM’ did not take off even after research and meetings with various people. The idea behind ‘Water ATM’ was to give people access to drinking water at a minimal cost. They went to places like Basantapur and New Road to survey the areas but the project didn’t materialize due to expensive rent.

The team then shifted their attention to the ‘Hanging Garden Project.’

“It was about upcycling the plastic jumbo coke bottles into mini gardens. We had seen some restaurants embrace this idea and we thought it was a great way to manage plastic bottles as well as having a garden of your own. Five of us went to Himalayan Climate Initiative to learn how to upcycle plastic bottles into earrings, vases, and hanging gardens.”

Young schoolchildren were the target audience for the team. They visited St Xavier’s School, Jana Prabhat School and Triyog High School where they taught 200 students all about starting and taking care of a hanging garden. The TGG members even shot a video tutorial at a studio in Prisma Advertising so that it reached a wider audience.

The chance at excellent mentorship is what invites a lot of youngsters to the campaign. Twenty-four-year-old Bipin Karki jumped at the chance to apply for the second batch of the TGG program when he found that mentorship was an integral part. He says, “Learning is much faster and efficient when we have mentors to guide us. I was lucky to be mentored by Anil Chitrakar as I’m an engineering student with an inclination towards social entrepreneurship. ‘There is always a solution to the problem.’ That’s what Anil sir always told us.”

Bipin and his friends worked on the ‘Mind Your Waste’ project where they focused on repurposing old tyres and waste paper. The old tyres, they turned into a haven for plants while they made paper pencils out of waste paper. With the ‘Mind Your Waste’ project, they went to a school each in Kavre, Pokhara, and Kathmandu where students learnt about turning waste into useful things.

TGG campaign has imparted different important lessons to the participants. Anshu says the campaign went beyond teaching her about environment and conservation. “No doubt there was a lot we learnt about environment and conservation, but there are other added benefits to the program. I learnt how to execute a project, how to deal with people, what it takes to work in a team, the importance of time management, and supervising the budget,” she explains.

For Bipin, TGG was about learning to take initiative and to take awareness to the next level.