It took us a while to decide what to focus on. We conducted a survey with over 2000 young people across Pakistan trying to ascertain which sustainability challenges they are most concerned about. The concerns include vocational and leadership skills for the future, ability to address environmental problems and being able to help foster sustainable development in Pakistan. We also considered the issues of marginalized youth groups (adolescent girls, transgenders, refugees) throughout the design of the enterprise.
With a low Youth Development Index, it is becoming paramount to invest and redirect our energies in use of 3E’s approach: Education, Employment and Engagement (National HDR 2018). Through Green Box, we want to ensure that young people acquire skills and experiences needed to promote sustainable development through environmental citizenship, sustainable lifestyle and local action.
Big challenges like climate change that impact food and water security, deforestation, access to clean water, loss of indigenous species, and urban migration urgently need bright and creative young minds to help find and implement solutions. At the same time, the quickly emerging clean/green economy or technology is offering up exciting, meaningful and well-paid jobs to those who have the right skill set.
Many young people in Pakistan are acutely aware of the national social and environmental issues, but lack understanding of the complexity of these issues and solutions and have rarely been given the means and opportunity to take positive, meaningful action. Young women often face more barriers than men in accessing such opportunities therefore at Green Box, we are committed to develop gender inclusive, safe engagement spaces. 80% of the impact partners in our first cohort are young women from across Pakistan. Of which many are only able to participate because of the digital access to program resources.
Green Box immerses tertiary level students in the concepts, controversies, and best practices in sustainability through its Sustainable Impact Partners Program. Moreover, in order to facilitate the application of this learning in real, local community settings students can choose to customize their program by choosing one of the four practicum schemes offered including Environmental Sustainability’s nexus with Health, Green Technologies, Governance & Leadership and Social Innovation.
We also want to create technology-based mechanisms to support youth-driven accountability initiative as external means of holding local governments and other powerful actors accountable for the social and environmental outcomes of their decision making and actions across Pakistan.
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