Young people are not only the future, they are also the present. More than 45% of the world’s population is under 25, with 1.3 billion young people living in developing countries. Their energy, ideas and aspiration are boundless. Youths are key agents of change, but too often the nature and impact of their ideas are not recognised or documented sufficiently, and youths face difficulties being heard and engaged more directly in civic life.
Including young people’s views in programming and policy decisions not only reinforce their self-confidence, but also help prepare them to exercise their rights and responsibilities of adulthood and citizenship. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) wishes to encourage young people’s active participation in a wide variety of activities of their communities in order to develop their full potential by ensuring that young people’s views are factored into policy and programme decisions.
In order to provide opportunity for youths to express themselves and have their views and needs heard, the EPA launched its inaugural Youth Essay CompetitiononMarch 02, 2012.This Competition targeted University of Guyana students from both the Turkeyen and Berbice Campuses. Further, this initiative was designed and implemented in partnership with the Guyana Mangrove Restoration Project (GMRP).
University of Guyana students were invited to submit essays responding to the following questions:
How has coastal degradation affected you, your family, your community, or your country?
With ever-increasing coastal development, how can Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) reduce conflicts related to the myriad of activities occurring along the coast of Guyana?
What actions can you recommend for strengthening ICZM in Guyana?
The Essay Competition attracted thirty-eight (38) submissions from two (2) undergraduate programmes (Biology and Environmental Studies) offered by the University of Guyana, Turkeyen Campus (76 % of the submissions came from students enrolled in the B.Sc. Degree, Biology programme). No entries were received from the University of Guyana, Berbice Campus.