Successful Completion of Small Grants II: Youth Trailblaze Urban Climate Action in Asia Pacific

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic in October 2021 the Asia Pacific Urban Community Resilience Hub launched the 2nd Urban Community Resilience Small Grants, supported by the Asia Pacific Disaster Resilience Centre (APDRC), Korean Red Cross and Japanese Red Cross Society. Join us to learn from the following urban youth accomplishments below: 

Vanuatu Red Cross: Lessons in Localized Partnership Brokering for Increase Community Awareness for Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction

Vanuatu’s three urban centres, Lenakel, Port Vila and Luganville are home to over a fifth of the country’s total population. These range from tropical cyclones, storm surges and communicable diseases, and are compounded by rapidly growing informal settlements in high-risk areas deemed unsuitable for urban developments, and climate change (Trundle and McEvoy, 2015; World Bank Group, 2021). 

According to Jessica Binihi, Vanuatu Red Cross Youth Officer and Small Grants project lead, “Many in Vanuatu think climate change will only result in rising sea levels, but it’s so much more than that. VRCS Youth are here to educate communities and engage urban communities in lasting climate action and disaster risk reduction“. To reduce urban risks and strengthen resilience, Vanuatu Red Cross Society (VRCS) launched the Urban Hub Small Grants Y-ADAPT program to foster climate resilience in at-risk communities in the primary urban centres. The project aimed to 1) increase awareness and understanding for climate change and its impacts, especially among vulnerable communities, 2) empower communities with mitigation and adaptation skills, and co-create plans for climate action from the community to city-wide scale.  

 

Key Achievements: 

    • 3 Y-ADAPT trainings in 3 urban communities, engaging a total of 162 people in urban communities with Y-ADAPT training and community climate actions. 
    • Guided by community needs, VRCS Youth implemented numerous climate and Disaster Risk 
    • Reduction (DRR) solutions to address risks of urban coastal erosion and
    •  floods, including tree planting in high-risk coastal areas, drain clearing and waste management. 
    • VRCS Youth established strong relations with the Department of Climate Change, resulting in the singing of an MoU and cocreation of ‘Community Climate Boards’ to raise awareness of climate change impacts, preparedness measures individuals can take, and to encourage behavioral change.  

  Read more about Vanuatu’s achievements and lessons learned here. 

 

Lao Red Cross Youth: Innovative Approaches to Climate and School Safety Education 

Although Laos is a primarily rural country, it has one of the highest urbanization rates in Asia (4.9% twice the global average). Rapid rural to urban migration continues to place strain on the capital of Vientiane. Weakened infrastructure systems combined with climate change impacts result in urban risks including floods, dengue, and increased pollution.

Overall, there is limited public awareness when it comes to the topic of climate change impacts. 

Even among the Lao Red Cross (LRC) Youth, knowledge of climate change and urban disaster risk reduction remains low – mainly due to the lack of climate education components included in LRC’s methodologies and tools designed for youth volunteers. 

Lao Red Cross utilized the Small Grants to close the gap between existing Youth in School Safety (YSS) DRR curriculum.   In 2021 the team formed a core group consisting of 12 members to develop the curriculum. The newly added YSS + Climate Change has resulted in the following:

Key Achievements 

  • 1 YSS+ climate change curriculum (virtual and in-person methodologies)  
  • 4 YSS+ peer educator training of trainers: reaching 4 schools, 8 teachers, 8 parents, 60 students peer-educator certified  
  • 150 people in 4 schools were engaged in YSS+ and through the curriculum engaged in the following climate and DRR projects: dengue prevention promotion campaigns, waste management: 3R (Recycle, Reduce and Reused) schemes in two schools, paper donations and upcycling for braille hospital use, drain clearing for waste management and flood mitigation 

Read more about Lao Red Cross Youth’s achievements and lessons learned and watch the video here. 

Bangladesh Red Crescent Youth: Institutionalized Climate + Resilience for Scaled Impact  

Bangladesh has some 570 urban centres, including the megacity of Dhaka which is one of the most densely populated urban areas in the world. Major urban issues faced by residents on a regular basis include heatwaves, flooding, traffic jams, pollution, and congestion. All are linked to unplanned development, service provision and growing urbanization in cities, and compounded by climate change.  

Despite recognizing its importance,

 climate education has been difficult to deliver in Bangladesh due to lack of contextualized guidance for Bangladesh Red Crescent Society (BDRCS) staff and youth volunteers. And even with a standardized climate education in place, another challenge persisted – who would deliver these trainings and ensure a coordinated country-wide, and localized climate and resilience program without a dedicated team? 

To institutionalize climate education the BDRCS established a pioneering Youth Climate Resilience Team (YCRT).  In 2021 they opened a call to youth volunteers to join a core team and selected 20 climate education enthusiasts from different parts of the country. The core YCRT team was trained in climate action in their communities with contextualized materials developed by core youth team and developed work plans linked to the implementation of suitable Urban Action Kit projects. 

Key Achievements 

  • Formation of the Youth Climate Resilience Team
  • Translation, contextualization and program design of urban climate training curriculum and resources  
  • Training for YCRT on urban risk, climate change and resilience  
  • Development of “Basic Climate Change Workshop” – one day curriculum for schools and branches  
  • Establishment of 4 Working Groups in YCRT for further implementation and sustainability of the Action Plan including: Coordination & Planning, Communication & IT, Resource Development and Resource Mobilization. 
  • 300 youth trained across BDRCS branches in the workshops conducted by YCRT members
  • 3,500 people reached through flashmobs and educational campaigns in Noakhali, Bogura, Rajshahi and Dhaka for Heat Action Day, 14 June 

Read more about Bangladesh Red Crescent Youth’s achievements and lessons learned and watch the video here. 

On behalf of the Urban Hub, IFRC APRO, KNRC and APDRC and the Climate Center, we wish to sincerely congratulate youth volunteers in Vanuatu, Lao PDR and Bangladesh for their dedication, vision, and the above Small Grants II achievements! 

For further learnings on how Asia Pacific Youth in Vanuatu, Laos and Bangladesh continue to strengthen urban resilience, read their case stories and watch their videos here:  

  

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