Bhubaneswar: Odisha Water Resources Department and UNICEF conducted a one-day event with the youth of Youth4Water on the theme “Meet & Greet: Connect + Network + Collaborate: Sharing ideas and achievements with youth on pani, swachta and climate change ” with 30 youth from Odisha on 29 November 2022 at Rajiv Bhawan, Bhubaneswar.
In the beginning, Anu Garg, IAS; The Additional Chief Secretary, Department of Water Resources, Odisha said that “Youth, with their high levels of potential and motivation, are best suited to become agents of change for a new, sustainable world. With this in mind, the Youth4Water campaign has increased engagement in ‘newer’ areas such as climate change adaptation; the integration of the gender perspective; and engaging young people in an optimistic manner. This campaign gives young people a platform to become leaders of thought and action. Our future lies in the hands of the nation’s youth. The challenges of water and climate change require both political and on-the-ground solutions. The role of students, and of young people in general, becomes very crucial in both. Young people have the power to engage with policy makers as well as bring about behavioral change in society through grassroots action.”
The Youth4Water campaign, through a wide range of activities, aims to engage, empower and enthuse youth to become leaders of change for water conservation, climate resilience and WASH in Odisha. In this context, encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship in these areas is a key area of the campaign. Over the past year, Youth4Water has reached thousands of young people through online orientation sessions and added value to partners’ innovation activities.
In this session, the winners of the Youth4Water Innovation Awards were presented with certificates by Anu Garg, IAS Additional Chief Secretary, Odisha Water Resources Department. In addition, the youth discussed with policy makers how they can contribute to ensuring Odisha’s water security.
This session was an enriching event for the youth of the state who actively engaged in the campaign to become agents of positive change. The youth discussed why youth voices are important and how they can communicate messages to the masses in simpler language.
A group of young people has come up with an innovative idea on “digitizing prescriptions in hospitals” to promote a greener environment. They presented their idea in the form of a skit.
Speaking on the occasion, Shipra Saxena, WASH Specialist at UNICEF India said, “We need to amplify messages on climate change and make life better for children and youth. UNICEF strongly believes in bringing decision-makers and influencers together with young people, not only to shine a light on the issues that matter most to young people, but also to generate further opportunities for child-focused actions and initiatives.”
Dr. Yannam Deepak, a youth participant from Youth4Water said, “Youth are torch bearers for climate action and our voices must be amplified to raise awareness within the community.”