First month on the job!
Having some experience working with a youth organization focusing on outreach and education, I was very excited to work with the Communication, Education, Training and Awareness programme. My first task at the office was to help prepare materials for Green Expo coming up. Green Expo is an environmental exposition organized by the Jamaica Conservation and Development Trust (JCDT) and usually takes place around the National Environmental Awareness week in the beginning of June. The expo invites environmentally friendly businesses, NGO’s and government organization to showcase their services and products in order to encourage people to be more aware and demonstrate the available environmentally friendly practices in the country. This year, UNEP’s was placed in the kids-section of the Expo. As part of what we do is to raise awareness and educate people about marine pollution and what it does to the environment, my task was to create material for kids that would teach them about the damages human activities has on marine life.
First I helped to design little badges with pictures of endangered species in the Caribbean that the kids could wear. I also researched, and made a list of “green tips” that would be printed on a book-mark that we would hand out. I assembled other, printed material, about UNEP in general, covering areas such a specially protected areas and wildlife, coral reefs, Land Based Sources of pollution and more.
Although, hot and tiring, tending the UNEP booth at the Green Expo for the two days that I did, was a great experience. I got to talk to children and youths and get a better understanding of the knowledge and teachings about the environment in Jamaica. I also got idea of the available alternative sources of energy and what is being done to preserve the beautiful nature in Jamaica. However, the expo also highlighted some of the limitation people are experiencing with trying to instigate more “green practices”. We had a recycling bin placed at our booth to encourage people to recycle and several people came up to me asking where they could get one. Being at the expo made me realize that, although people know that they should dispose of their trash properly, recycle, reuse and reduce, they are unaware of how to do it. Thus one of the projects I was assigned after the Expo was to assemble information on environmentally friendly practices in Jamaica that will eventually be printed and distributed.
To raise awareness of Land Based Sources of pollution and its effects on the environment, UNEP launched a Collage Competition in February 2011. The competition expands over the wider Caribbean Sea and encourages children from 12 to 18 that are part of youth organizations or clubs to make a collage that displays the problems with marine litter and how to prevent trash and other pollutant material from going into the sea. As the competition is coming to its final stage, I was asked to contact all our partners on the other islands, and make an overview report of how the competition is going and ask if they have any question or need any further assistance.
Challenges faced: Coordinating this event in itself was a challenge
Lessons learnt: I have gained firsthand experience in what it takes to organize an event