| I remember it clearly. I had graduated from university and was looking for a job in the environmental domain. It was a daunting task, and just when I was about to give up, a friend of mine called with a proposal. Dave was connected to a local environmental organization and he was putting together a recycling and composting project. Better yet, he wanted me to be the assistant coordinator! What a great day that was! The project was an amazing opportunity and we dreamed of building the project into an organization. However, we lacked funding, support, and structure. We didn’t know how to get more money, where to look, or who to ask. In the end, when the project was completed, we went our ways and did other things.
This sad story is repeated over and over across Canada. Many youth set out with lots of positive energy to “save the earth”, but eventually succumb to the pressures all non-profit organizations deal with on a daily basis; issues such as funding, organizational management, and communications. Then enters the Canadian Environmental Youth Capacity Building Project!
Canadian Environmental Youth Capacity Building Project
In August 2000, seven youth from four major youth ENGOs (environmental non-government organizations), concerned about the state of the youth environmental groups in Canada, identified challenges they faced in trying to build up the movement. These youth formed a planning committee (PC) made up of leaders from: Environmental Youth Alliance (www.eya.ca), Sierra Youth Coalition (www.sierrayouthcoalition.org), ENvironnement JEUnesse (www.enjeu.qc.ca), and the Canadian Environmental Network (www.cen-rce.org).
After much brainstorming and many draft proposals, the PC came up with the Canadian Environmental Youth Capacity Building Project (CBP). The main purpose of the CBP is to strengthen the youth environmental movement. More specifically, this initiative expects to help youth organizations develop their core skills, such as management, finance and fundraising, programs and evaluation, in order to build each groups’ effectiveness and sustainability. In August 2001, one year after the initial push for the project, funding was secured from Environment Canada via the Voluntary Sector Initiative.
The CBP is a two-phase incremental project (i.e., the results of the first phase are expanded in the second). The first phase is divided into two parts: (1) a Baseline Research Survey, and (2) a Capacity Building Retreat.
Baseline Research Survey
The purpose of the survey is three-fold: (a) to ascertain the state of the youth environmental movement, (b) to find out the present capacity of youth environmental organizations in Canada (e.g., their strengths & weaknesses), and (c) to understand key barriers youth groups face and what they need to overcome them. If you are involved in, or know someone involved in a youth environmental group, please urge them to participate in the online survey (see below).
Capacity Building Retreat
Using the data compiled from the Baseline Survey, the CBR will bring together a diverse representation of youth leaders from across the country to look at ways at strengthening the movement. In particular, the CBR will outline concrete initiatives that will be implemented in the second phase of the CBP. The CBR delegates will engage the broader youth movement to look at increasing its’ capacity in funding, communication, organizational structure, and policy development.
This is an exciting opportunity and we are seeking the support and participation of youth environmental organizations everywhere. To make this project a success, we need to reach as many groups as possible. Help us sow the seeds for the future of the youth environmental movement.
Participate in the Web Baseline Survey: http://www.eya.ca/capacitybuilding/
Visit the CBP web page: http://www.cen-rce.org/cbp-rmej/
Contact: Sean Dineen, CBP Coordinator, [email protected] or 613-728-9810 (ext. 33)
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