04 November 2013

In October 2013, Snaliah Maha,Commonwealth one of the youth leaders of a GEF Small Grants Programme funded climate change project in Saint Lucia, organized a presentation on GEF SGP for her fellow students in England. Snaliah had received a scholarship to study for a Masters Degree in Climate Change and International Development at the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom this summer.

Before commencing her studies in England, Snaliah had been leading a GEF SGP funded project as the Vice President of the Saint Lucia chapter of the Caribbean Youth Environment Network (CYEN) (http://www.cyen.org/). The project, which ran from July to September 2013, established a "Green Future Summer Camp" to raise awareness on climate change. It targeted over 60 poor and marginalised children in the school system of Saint Lucia, who would not have otherwise been able to afford a summer camp. The project had been designed entirely by the youth members of CYEN who were trained in the GEF SGP approach, methodology and project management. One of the biggest accomplishments of the camp participants was the preparation of a communiqué on climate change which was written in English and Kwéyὸl (Saint Lucia's second language) and hand-delivered to the Prime Minister of Saint Lucia, Hon. Dr. Kenny Anthony.

Once Snaliah crossed the Atlantic to take up her studies in England this September, she became an advocate of GEF SGP's work at her university. Inspired, her class, which comprised students from Mexico, Africa, Asia and Europe, requested a presentation to learn more about GEF SGP's approaches of working with communities on solving environmental challenges. Snaliah swiftly arranged a presentation by Giles Romulus, National Coordinator of GEF SGP in St. Lucia, which covered GEF and GEF SGP's origin, philosophy, approach, focal areas and project portfolio, - as well as some of the first results of ongoing projects in Saint Lucia. After the presentation, students were able to engage the lecturer in a question and discussion period, covering climate change mitigation and adaptation and the current climate change conference in Poland in more depth.

The small island of Saint Lucia, which is located in the Caribbean Archipelago and on the front lines of climate change, is one of the most recent countries to join the GEF Small Grants Programme under its new Small Island Developing States (SIDS) programme. Since start of its operations in October 2012, GEF SGP Saint Lucia has invested a total of US$ 447,000 in community projects addressing climate change mitigation and adaptation, biodiversity conservation and land degradation.

What was innovative about this lecture was the use of ICT reaching from SGP's field office in Saint Lucia to a lecture room at the University of East Anglia, in England, which showed that ICT can be an interesting, interactive conduit for sharing knowledge about SGP's work. At the end, students were not only more knowledgeable about the GEF SGP but complimented the programme and requested that they be able to contact the NC in the future.

Picture is Copyright Commonwealth Secretariat.

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