Youth engaged with the oceans: these are the three projects acknowledged by National Geographic!

Given the current context, it is of the utmost importance to continue to provide support to Latin American and Caribbean youth. During the last years, youth achieved major incidence in regional public agenda, collaborating to transform their communities’ realities. Therefore, Comprometidos – the initiative co-organized by AshokaSocialab and UNESCO- sees youth as changemakers and leaders of social transformations.

This year, Comprometidos jointly with National Geographic invited young men and women to submit their projects that solve problems the oceans face. Over 250 initiatives from all over the region participated in this challenge. Each of them received online mentoring and training. The past 14th of October the six finalist projects presented their initiatives during a public event and three of them received seed funding for implementing their projects.

1. SANC-S – Chile

“For me and the rest of the team participating of Comprometidos has ben a great opportunity for growth and development. Thanks to the support of mentors, the application process and the award, we have advanced our project and this opens several doors for us.

Personally, since I was a child, I have had a very special closeness to dolphins and oceanic life, which to this day inspires me to fight for their protection. As for the team, we all want to contribute where we can for achieving healthy and protected ecosystems. We are passionate about enacting change for having a planet where all lives are respected and protected.

I believe that the role of youth in LAC is to be a factor of change for justice. We are the ones who inspire and fight for social and environmental issues, who have the energy to fight for what we deserve in the face of the inequalities and plundering that we experience as Latin America and the Caribbean.”

SANC-S offers a noise cancelling system of active ships, that contributes to reduce the amount and intensity of acoustic marine pollution, therefore reducing its impact on biological functions of marine life.

2. Mar a Vista – Brazil

“Participating of Comprometidos was a huge pleasure for our team. We had the opportunity to mature not only our project, but at a personal level as well! It was an honour to have had capacity building sessions with our mentors, who guided us so well and showed us the best path forward. We are very grateful to everyone involved.

Even being a small project, it is possible to see the positive impact it has. That is the goal of Mar á Vista: to cause an impact on more and more kids so that we can positively transform our future. Therefore, to see a kid singing one of our songs about not stepping on coral reefs, or understanding the importance of environmental preservation, makes it all worth it.

Youth needs to be more engaged with environmental causes, beginning at home. Rethink consume patterns, getting informed and spreading truthful information. Given the difficulties of growing up in a Latin country, Latin-American youths must seek ways to transform their spaces, so as to continue moving forward as a society”

Mar a vista offers an animated cartoon series, which seeks to teach about preservation to kids. With entertaining and musical episodes, they teach the audience about climate change, sustainability, biodiversity and preservation.

3. Project Renaissance – Trinidad y Tobago

“The Project Renaissance team is beyond grateful for the opportunity to participate in the Comprometidos challenge, Engaging with the Oceans. By facilitating youth empowerment, it gave a voice to us in a Small Island Developing States (SIDS) especially in this time of COVID-19.

It meant so much to represent our small Caribbean island and present an initiative that showcased our innovation and enthusiasm for change, in recognition of the challenges faced by SIDS.

We are ocean activists passionate about marine conservation. As students of marine science, specifically in a SIDS, we have learned about the irreplaceable roles coral reefs play within the daily lives of many citizens and especially the importance of stakeholder awareness. We realised the need for an education program and campaign based on coral reefs to encourage needed conservation efforts which continue to motivate us!

To be creative and innovative in establishing sustainable practices, optimistic of the future yet realistic of the situations. In Latin America and the Caribbean, most of the countries are developing which leaves even a greater challenge for the youth, but also a greater opportunity to be changemakers. The youth are the heart of the region, from which comes new, inventive ideas, activism and a wave of hope!”