Climate Crisis is a Child’s rights crisis. On the occasion of Children’s Day, UNICEF Mumbai and Higher and Technical Education Department (HTED) have joined hands to work with youth by supporting them on a journey to protect natural resources, respond to the changing climate, and save water.
The two partners have signed and exchanged a letter of intent expressing their willingness to skill and empower 7,10,000 youth (17-25 years of age) volunteers in Maharashtra on climate change and water conservation. The partnership aims to connect youth students and foster their knowledge as active citizens and change-makers in the state on water conservation and climate change and work as amplifiers for their institutions and communities.
This project will involve youth from NSS Units, colleges under universities like the University of Mumbai, Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) Pune, Swami Ramanand Teerth Marathwada University ( SRTMU), Nanded, Shivaji University ( SU) Kolhapur, Rashtrasant Tukadoji Maharaj Nagpur University ( RTMU) and Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathwada University (BAMU) and other youth networks working in climate action from the cities and districts of Mumbai, Pune, Palghar, Nagpur, Kolhapur, Thane, Aurangabad, Osmanabad, Latur, Jalna, Ahmednagar, Satara, and Beed.
There will be the involvement of 60 per cent of urban youth considering the increasing water footprint in urban areas. The collaboration would give an opportunity for the youngsters to get training, fieldwork, and experience to closely work with different professional organisations in the field of water conservation. The students are entitled to fellowships, certificates, grades in colleges, green skilling, mentoring and case studies on their participation.
Higher and Technical Education Minister Mr Chandrakant Dada Patil said it would encourage youth engagement in climate action at local level. “Our objective is to skill and empower 7,10,000 youth volunteers in Maharashtra from selected universities. This partnership would empower them with tools and the confidence to take collective action on water, environment, and sustainability issues in three years in a phased manner. Ours is the youngest country in the world, and we want them to become responsible citizens in the future,” the minister added.
The programme would develop a dashboard through a customized water footprint application to monitor and report water conservation activities. It will include a recruitment/enrolment database, the number of youth and people outreached, activities reporting, and a calculation matrix of estimated water saved with a graphical and spatial display.
Speaking on the occasion, Smt Rajeshwari Chandrasekar, Chief of Field Office, UNICEF, Maharashtra said Climate Action and Youth Engagement along with green skilling have been identified as one of the key accelerators of UNICEF’s programming for coming years.
“This is a great moment for the UNICEF Mumbai Office in the backdrop of COP 27 in Egypt, where UNICEF is committed to promoting the voice of youth in climate policy and action. We would encourage youth volunteers to share their ideas and actions with their communities, reaching another 24 lakh people across the state. The partnership would help young people emerging as leaders who can become environment, and sustainability champions and participate in higher-barrier actions on water conservation,” Chandrasekar added.