UK group partners with SEARCA on youth programs

ClimateScience, a United Kingdom-based nonprofit organization, has collaborated with a University of the Philippines Los Baños-based Southeast Asian regional center to empower people, especially the youth to contribute to climate solutions.

Providing free educational content about the causes, consequences and solutions to climate change, ClimateScience aims to make learning fun, accessible and science-backed.

Eric Steinberger, ClimateScience co-founder, said this volunteer-driven team has become the leading provider of accessible educational resources on solutions to climate change globally.

"Agriculture takes up everything, even the largest share of our usable land resources and we recognize that it can make a huge difference in all places and communities around the world. In turn, solving climate change will always be part of agricultural innovations and agricultural education," Steinberger added.

Dr. Glenn B. Gregorio, Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) director, said SEARCA's partnership with ClimateScience is expected to provide in-depth knowledge and co-creation in initiatives in the digital sphere.

In their collaboration, ClimateScience and SEARCA have agreed on the translation of publications and information materials to ASEAN languages, idea grants for youth, leadership training, use of materials for awareness campaigns and programs for the youth and agriculture-focused cohorts in agriculture.

ASEAN stands for Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

"SEARCA is a prime example that is a multiplier of impacts on an enormous scale. If we can inspire young people to take responsibility towards a good use such as solving climate change, we would be able to further the productivity for research and development and SOLVE global issues faster," Steinberger said.

Gregorio said this is why they launched #Y4AGRI or the Young Forces for Agricultural Innovation as part of their 11th Five-Year Plan.

#Y4AGRI is the banner youth engagement initiative of SEARCA.

"Guided by the principle of 'by the youth, for the youth, and with the once youth,' the program aims to nurture young people like learners as partners and leaders for agricultural innovation," according to Gregorio.

The 34th SEARCA Online Learning and Virtual Engagement (SOLVE) webinar was titled "SOLVE Gaps in the Agri-Food System: Promoting Youth Inclusion and Innovation."

In this webinar, SEARCA highlighted the challenges faced by the youth and the success stories of Thai and Filipino young enablers in implementing community efforts to combat food insecurity and food shortage, Gregorio said.

In the webinar, an Udon Thani Rajabhat University faculty member in Thailand talked about motivations for obtaining halal food certification, including food quality guarantee, customer demand, positive attitude on halal certification and broadening business opportunities.

Louise Emmanuelle Mabulo, the Cacao Project founder, spoke about how her venture harnessed resources to rethink consumption and production methods with the spirit of empowering the next generation to make a tangible difference by working with small communities to have global impact.

SEARCA also launched the second edition of its Youth Covideo Contest to feature personal experience, practice or advocacy of Southeast Asian youth ages 15 to 35 to contribute to sustainable food consumption and food waste management.