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Winning Essay: International Youth Day 2023 – Kanyesigye Osbert

Awakening the Green Symphony: Youthful Stewards of Nature’s Call

In nature’s vast and verdant realm,

Where sun-kissed meadows greet the day,

A symphony of colors overwhelm,

As youthful hands prepare the way.

Behold the land, adorned in green,
With forests tall that dance and sway,
A canvas for the hopeful dreams,
Of stewards who will lead the way.

Green skills, like budding blooms, arise,
Knowledge and values intertwined,
To nurture Earth beneath blue skies,
And guide mankind towards a kinder time.

With technical prowess, they ignite,
The sparks of innovation’s fire,
Harnessing nature’s vibrant might,
To quench our thirst for clean desire.

Transversal skills, a tapestry grand,
Woven by hearts with compass bold,
Endowed with wisdom and understand,
To make sustainable choices unfold.

In this green transition we embark,
A journey towards the great unknown,
For nature’s melody we hark,
With young hearts beating, eager to be shown.

For youth, the torchbearers of change,
With spirits bold and untamed,
Shall pave the way, rearrange,
A world where harmony is named.

Oh, urgency of preservation’s plea,
Echoes through rivers, whispers in trees,
For Earth’s fragile wonders now we see,
And in her arms, we find our ease.

So, let us rise, with lifted gaze,
Embrace the call that nature sings,
And as youth leads with newfound rays,
A sustainable future, hope now brings. Awakening the Green Symphony,
Youthful stewards of nature’s call,
Together we shape a world that’s free,
For beauty of nature shall never fall.

Sonko Jamal | 24Y | Kampala International University

The development of green skills among youth can greatly contribute to building a sustainable Uganda, with significant impacts on environmental conservation, renewable energy, and sustainable development. By equipping young people with the necessary knowledge, abilities, values, and attitudes to live in and support a sustainable society, they can actively participate in and drive the green transition.

Firstly, the development of green skills can have a positive impact on environmental conservation. With a solid understanding of environmental issues and the skills to address them, young people can contribute to the preservation and restoration of ecosystems. They can engage in activities such as reforestation, sustainable agriculture practices, and waste management, which help protect biodiversity, reduce pollution, and mitigate climate change.

Secondly, green skills are crucial for the promotion and adoption of renewable energy sources. Young people can play a vital role in advancing the use of clean energy technologies, such as solar panels and wind turbines, by designing, installing, and maintaining these systems. By embracing renewable energy, Uganda can reduce its dependence on fossil fuels, decrease greenhouse gas emissions, and achieve a more sustainable energy mix.

Moreover, the development of green skills can contribute to sustainable development in Uganda. Youth equipped with green skills can drive innovation and entrepreneurship in sectors such as sustainable agriculture, eco-tourism, and green construction. They can develop and implement sustainable business models that create economic opportunities while minimizing negative environmental impacts. This not only promotes economic growth but also ensures the long-term viability of industries and livelihoods.

The potential impact of green skills on Uganda’s sustainable development is supported by real-world examples. For instance, the Barefoot College in India trains rural youth, including women, in solar energy technology. Graduates return to their communities as solar engineers, providing clean energy solutions and uplifting their communities economically. Similarly, young entrepreneurs in Kenya have established innovative businesses centered around waste management, recycling, and upcycling, contributing to environmental sustainability and creating jobs.

To ensure the effective development of green skills among youth, it is crucial to integrate environmental education and sustainability principles into the education system. This includes incorporating green curricula, practical training, and internships focused on sustainable practices. Partnerships between educational institutions, government agencies, NGOs, and the private sector are vital to provide adequate resources, mentorship, and employment opportunities for young people interested in green careers.

In conclusion, the development of green skills among youth can have a transformative impact on building a sustainable Uganda. By equipping young people with the necessary knowledge and skills, they can actively contribute to environmental conservation, drive the adoption of renewable energy, and promote sustainable development. It is imperative for stakeholders to prioritize investments and collaborations that support the development of green skills, ensuring a brighter and more sustainable future for Uganda.

Lakot Kevin Karlo | 22 | Makerere University

Green skills can be defined as knowledge, activities, values, and attitudes needed to live in, develop and support, develop and support a sustainable and resource-efficient society. Green skills are those needed to adopt products, services and processes to climate change and the related environmental requirements and regulations. I argue a lot of times that green skills are a necessity for the sustainable future we dream of. A world where people do not suffer from cholera, diarrheas , cancer and other diseases relating to an impoverished environment.

It is the role of leaders in Uganda to help the citizens acquire knowledge, abilities, attitudes and values that will enable us to have a green future. As Country’s president elect of African Union Youth Assembly, I recruited about 3 climate activists whose role is to teach the young people the green skills for a sustainable world and future. This is because most young people are ignorant about their contribution to a green economy and future. They leave it to the climate activists yet more than ever; we need the green skills as a country. This is what all leaders need to do, let’s come up with policies that encourage green skills at our workplaces, and in the country, educate the population on how we can develop economically while conserving our green environment.

Ignorance is no excuse, if we disregard the aftermaths of our actions on the climate and environment, the future generation is doomed and that will be on us. Diseases like skin cancer will be rampant, the lifespan of people will reduce, and our economic growth with definitely decline.

For example, crude oil was discovered in Uganda in 2006 and recently in 2023 , Uganda took a very important decision to extract its oil, as much as extracting the oil has many advantages like fuel becoming cheaper, employment opportunities for over 10,000 unemployed youth, if we don’t possess the knowledge, skills and attitudes on how we can extract it without causing damage to the environment, this benefit may only be short lived hence causing less economic growth. This is because oil is likely to be over exploited hence depletion which will cause unemployment again and our environment will be polluted causing more diseases and harming the citizens of Uganda. Fellow Ugandans let’s work together for a green world. It is possible.

Coagulations to Kanyesigye Osbert, the runner up Sonko Jamal. and the honorable mention Lakot Kevin Karlo. Happy International Youth Day 2023.