Young people can play an active role in protecting and improving the environment. They can change their lifestyle and how it affects the environment. They can make their homes, schools and youth organizations more environmentally friendly by adopting environmentally friendly practices, recycling of different materials as well as preserving resources such as water and electricity. Engaging youth in environmental protection not only creates direct impact on changing youth behaviors and attitudes, but possibly influence their parents, relatives and families.
SGP privileges the participation of children and young people as the bearers of future commitments and efforts for the global environment and sustainable development. SGP projects with environ¬mental education and raising awareness components almost always involve schoolchildren. Chil¬dren and youth actively participate in campaigns to protect species and local habitats, tree planting, creating home and community gardens, and renewable energy initiatives that provide solar power for studying – and television watching – among others.
Low income and high unemployment among youth often pose great challenges to community welfare. SGP projects work with youth to enhance their professional skills and provide alternative livelihoods that contribute to global environmental achievements. For instance, in Lithuania, an SGP project engaged unemployed youth to participate in eco-friendly tourism activities including involving the unemployed youth to provide tricycle services to tourists. In Mauritius, an SGP project involved school children in the cultivation of indigenous/endemic medicinal plants at Britannia Government School. School children, their parents, teachers and all inhabitants interested were involved in converting a neglected plot of land at the school into a greenhouse and a conservation area. Revenues generated by the selling of the seeds and plants were used for the maintenance and further expansion of the conservation area. Children were involved in identification and propagation of medicinal plants, which helped them to develop a love for conservation and prepare for future economic activities related to conservation.
SGP, working in partnership with other donors, also provides enhanced learning and training opportunities to girls. The Community Water Initiative, implemented by SGP, ensures water and sanitation services to some of the poorest areas in the world. With water and sanitation provided, girls' school enrolment has been greatly enhanced in all areas covered by the programme.
SGP sees the great value in investing in children and youth, who have a unique capacity to shape a sustainable future.