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The Climate Leadership School is over, but for its participants is just a beginning

From March 25 to March 27, 2021, the first in Tajikistan School of Climate Leadership (SCL) was held in Dushanbe - a 3-day interactive training seminar for young people aged 18 to 25 years.

The event, organized by the environmental organization The Little Earth with the support of the British Embassy in Tajikistan and the assistance of CAN EECCA (Climate Action Network for Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia), brought together 20 young activists from the capital and regions of the republic. The school was organized as part of the same name project.

“Our work is aimed at strengthening the voice of young people in their communities, developing leadership skills and expanding communication between young activists from different regions of the country in order to develop cooperation to jointly solve environmental problems. The Climate Leadership School is a great example of how this can be done,” - says Anton Timoshenko, director of The Little Earth.

The School was initiated to raise awareness among the younger generation of current climate change trends, national climate policies and climate activism. The event provided an opportunity not only to gain new knowledge and skills, but also to create preconditions for the development of new youth initiatives on climate change and environmental protection.

“I gained new knowledge on the topic of climate change and met folks who, like me, are concerned about global warming. It's so great that we had participants from the regions of Tajikistan. This will allow us to make further actions across different parts of the republic! Thank you to the organizers, speakers, and participants for the most interesting and informative days spent at the School,” - says Sabrina Muzafari, Vice President of UCA's Green Community student project and one of the School participants.

The SCL program included presentations by climate change experts, exercises and small group work. Among the speakers of the event were employees of local and international organizations, scientists and youth eco-activists. For the first time in Tajikistan, representatives of the Russian branch of Greenpeace, the coordinator of the "Fridays for the Future" movement in Russia and a representative of the Youth Advisory Group on Climate Change under the UN Secretary General spoke to the participants (online). The speakers willingly shared their experiences, talked about their own programs and answered numerous questions from the audience.

“These three days of school were very productive and interesting! Before the SCL, I did not even know about the existence of environmental organizations and activists in Tajikistan! I am very glad that I met such wonderful peers! Many thanks to the organizers for their efforts, work and patience,” - says Nigina Ismatova, a student at the University of Central Asia and participant of the School.

In Tajikistan, young people make up the majority of the population. However, many remain poorly informed about the issues of climate change and its relationship with our daily life. Even fewer young people are involved in shaping national climate or environmental policies.

“We need new, caring and active people who could bring fresh breath and innovative solutions to the environmental movement. We really want our members' desire and thirst for change to take shape in the form of concrete actions to address the climate crisis on the ground,” - says Timur Idrisov, Senior Advisor of The Little Earth and initiator of the Climate Leadership School.

The participants noted that the event was interesting, exciting and memorable. They expressed their gratitude to the organizer for the opportunity to meet and get new information and knowledge that changed their vision, made them think, encouraged them to continue studying the topic of climate change and get involved in environmental activities.

“The Climate Leadership School completely changed my mindset. After completing it, I developed many environmentally friendly habits. For example, I started carrying a backpack instead of using plastic bags and taking a thermos with me instead of buying water in plastic bottles. Thanks to the organizers and speakers who pushed us to become eco-activists,”- Shakhrukh Abdulloev, a student of the Russian-Tajik Slavic University and a participant of the School of CLS, share his impressions.