A group of passionate youth members of the Lanulauava Student Association (LSA) hosted a one day workshop to raise environmental awareness under the themes of fanua (land), measina (culture and people) and moana (ocean).
It was a full house at the Tanoa Tusitala Hotel with 12 participating schools – 6 from Upolu and 6 from Savaii who were able to listen to keynote speakers, and learn about what they can do as citizens to make a difference.
The Samoa Conservation Society’s (SCS) President James Atherton was one of the guest speakers along with the SCS Secretary Faleafaga Toni Tipama’a, who spoke to the students about the importance of a Carbon Audit.
James Atherton said it was important to conduct ongoing awareness programmes and capacity building workshops for students and youth across Samoa.
“I hope for them to have an increase of understanding of how fragile our environment is, and also of the patriarchal things we can do as Samoan citizens, to minimise our impact..”
“We can go further than that, to try to protect and improve our environment; to learn what causes climate change and realising that every one of us has an impact in the way we live our lives,” said Atherton.
“These young girls are just starting out in life, but it’s great to start with the youth and then build their knowledge over time..”
“Get them inspired about what they can do and not feel like they’re powerless,” added the SCS Vice President.
“So it’s all about empowering.”
The LSA is a registered association under the umbrella of the National University of Samoa (NUS). Its 37 youth members come together with a common goal to raise awareness of the environment and become better advocates for change.
President of LSA Grace Ah Young expressed her gratitude that their young team were able to put together such an important event.
“I never expected that we could host an event of this magnitude so soon.” she said.
“There’s nothing more rewarding than encouraging climate activism in our youth, inspiring a change to their view of the environment…” she added.
“The experience I had today was inspiring, one of a kind, and we look forward to continuing our partnerships with the participating schools,” said Ms Ah Young.
Vice president of LSA Okalani Mariner thanked their partners during an interview with SGN.
“This workshop would not have been possible without their support;
“I would like to thank our partners for being so patient with us – SCS, NUS, SSAB, MESC and our donor the British High Commission because we’re young and we’re still trying to learn how to navigate non profit circles as well as facilitate workshops,” said Okalani.
In December 2020 the LSA was granted $30,000 talā from the British High Commission for their upcoming projects; and this workshop is one of the approved activities.
British High Commissioner, HE David Ward said the important work of youth taking on a role to protect the environment is crucial for sustainable development.
“It has been a great experience working with passionate youth, really refreshing and energising,” said High Commissioner Ward.
“We look forward to seeing other projects being implemented under this partnership,” he added.