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6 April 2010 | Printer friendly

Interactive environmental education and action programme

Country: Russia

Project: Interactive environmental education and action programme

Organisation: Green Light Youth Organisation, Vladivostok

Representative: Irina Fedorenko, Evgeniya Soboleva


Winner of the Youth Participation category of 2nd CEHAPE Award for good practice in environment and health.

Mobilising youth to keep nature in mind

Young people in Russia do not always know enough about the importance of the natural environment for their health and well-being. The problem for the organisers of this project was that those in authority who do know about these issues are not always ready or have the capacity to share the information.

The Green Light Youth Organisation in Vladivostok embarked on an interactive environmental education programme 18 months after Irina Fedorenko returned to Russia inspired by her visit to the World Youth Congress in Canada in August 2008, where she gained the support of "Be the change" (BTC) fund and Peace Child International. With her friend Evgeniya Soboleva and with help from the city youth department, the project brought together seven schools and three universities in an impressive series of activities that draw on the expertise of university professors, environmental organisations and local government officials.

Between March and June 2009, 12 student trainers from the NGO "Trainers Union" completed courses on "The natural environment as a way of thinking". They then went into four schools and talked to more than 500 children. This prompted a whole range of activities.

For example, with the help of the Students Council of Far Eastern University and Vladivostok city administration, 200 students took part in rubbish clearing projects in a park, a forest, mountain area and at a waterfall. Once the sites were clear, the young people shared information with interested onlookers and installed waste bins.

In the Far Eastern State Technical University, a paper recycling system was set up. On the campus, student brigades who work on the Russian railways in the summer, known as "provodnik", also helped with project activities. They constructed bird houses in trees around the university buildings to remind students of the disappearance of species.

On 6 June 2009, a festival of photos and videos called "Look... Environment by youth" was held in Vladivostok State University of Economy and Service where young people shared their reflections on environmental problems and possible solutions. A total of 82 certificates were awarded to the most active participants in project activities and eight letters of appreciation were given to experts who had provided advice to the project.

An estimated 2,000 young people have taken part in these environmental measures of the project in the Far Eastern region of Russia. Irina Fedorenko believes that each has gained some "real life" knowledge of nature, its relationship to our health, and the importance of small, individual actions. One thousand 12-17 year-olds have received training on sustainable development including: choosing healthier food; keeping the environment clean; and healthier lifestyles for themselves and their families.

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