Youth Action for Sustainable Development
Let’s Do It Peja requested REC (Regional Environmental Center, office in Prishtina, Kosovo) to support the implementation of the “Youth Action for Sustainable Development” project. The program “SEEDLING” is financially supported by ADA (Austrian Cooperation Agency) to promote the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in schools of Southeastern Europe. After all, by the time SDGs are achieved in the year 2030, most of the current students will be in their early professional careers and will experience the SDG results. The project began in February and will continue until the end of June 2018, in support of the SDGs.
At the moment, Kosovo has many environmental issues including air pollution, water scarcity and pollution, land degradation and loss of ecological services (not in order of priority). Natural disasters and climate change enhance already existing problems and pose new threats to Kosovo. The main source of Kosovo’s air pollution is the coal-burningpower plant in Obiliq, though traffic and households contribute to air pollution as well. The burning of fossil fuels and firewood generates 80-85% of heating systems for Kosovars, so thinking of new ways to generate Kosovo’s heat is key to create a healthier environment. There are also problems with water in Kosovo: water resources are unevenly distributed and increasingly scarce. Kosovo has four main rivers and they are all transboundary, thus they are both environmentally and politically relevant. Kosovo is currently facing problems of both inadequate quality and quantity of its water resources due to contamination from energy industries, lack of treatment of wastewater and illegal dumping into bodies of water.
Kosovo has a large youth population. This allows for the opportunity to initiate and develop environmental education and awareness among the youth, thereby allowing the youth to problem-solve current environmental issues and improve the future ecosystem of Kosovo. Education on environment, climate variability and change, and natural resources management should be integrated into any and every agenda, especially in SDG’s, and certainly within environmental institutions and among personnel in other sectors or official bodies
Therefore, Let’s do it Peja decided to work with 80 students to incorporate youth from the local high school and technical vocational school with the focus on SDG#6 – Clean Water & Sanitation and SDG#7 – Affordable & Clean Energy. Students received eight weeks of educational presentations on the basic principles of SDGs, including indicators and achievement of the targets by 2030. They also participated in field trips, giving them hands-on experience in sustainable development issues.
During the interactive educational presentations, students learned from experts who provided a combined approach of non-traditional classroom presentations with practical field work. Students further applied a peer-to-peer approach where students of one school taught students in another school, and vice-versa. Moreover, UN SDGs and project results have been presented to the parents and the wider community in the closing activity, which also included media coverage.
Students attended classroom presentations on SDGs by Nora Loxha-Sahatçiu and Shpend Qamili from UNKT (United Nation Kosovo Team), Visar Kelmendi with Green Energy Technologies. Another presenter was Uta Ibrahimi, who taught gender equality and was also the first Albanian Kosovar woman to climb Mount Everest. She is currently planning to conquer each Himalayan peak. Additionally, a Green Art Center representative presented on the waste separation system applied in Prishtina schools. Finally, an international expert on Sustainable Development, Mrs. Indira Kartalozi, leader of Kaleidoscope Futures and founder of Migrant Entrepreneurs International, presented on Sustainable Development Goals and best practices around the world.
Following the classroom presentations, a group of students from the professional technical school participated in field trips to the hydropower plant in Radavc, the coal power plants in Obliq, and a solar panel manufacturing plant. LDIP also facilitated a meeting between students and the NGOs KOSID & INDEP to discuss sustainable development and health risks for communities living near the coal-fired power plant while also discussing the pros and cons of coal, solar power, wind power and biomass generated energy.
The second group of students from the Gymnasium conducted water quality analyses from the source of Drini I Bardhe River, through the river flow at Guri I Zi location and at the Kosovo-Albania border. The activity was led by the project team in cooperation with experts from Kosovo Hydro Meteorological Institute and teachers of the respective school.
After completing the workshops and field activities, students participated in peer-to-peer teaching with their fellow students. This encouraged the sharing of experiences as well as lessons learned among all students. In addition, promotional and educational materials were published and delivered to students and the public.
 Let’s Do It Peja is a local NGO, registered in the municipality of Peja/Peć
The blog is written by Let’s Do It Peja. Opinions expressed in this publication do not necessarily represent the opinions of REC and donor ADA, or UN and any of the related agencies