The ongoing environmental destruction has posed greater threats to all communities living in the country. This includes everybody from the coastal communities to those living in the estate sector and all corners of the island. Ecocide will also set the precedent for many natural disasters in the time to come. This is why preparing future generations to respond to such calamities is a vital need of the hour.
Back in 2018, ChildFund Sri Lanka, an international child development organisation working with children for the past 40 years in the country initiated a youth-led Ecosystem-Based Disaster Risk Reduction project. The project was implemented in 20 Grama Niladhari divisions in Nuwara Eliya, Puttalam, Batticaloa and Mullaitivu districts. The overall objective was to enhance resilience among the target community, particularly among youth and children. As such the project implemented programmes to ensure that communities are well prepared for disasters with emergency responses led by youth, youth-led DRR action plan and a resilient ecosystem, vulnerable families adapt disaster-resilient livelihood initiatives while also ensuring that relevant stakeholders are effectively engaged in planning and executing Eco-DRR action plans.
Youth-led micro-project proposals such as bio fencing initiatives, waste management, organic home gardening and pond renovation were supported. The success stories seen three years later are proof of how this project has given a sense of responsibility to the youth. The emergence of Young Leaders for the Environment in war-stricken areas have been able to break stereotypes and stand guard to protect nature.