Responding to the cry of the planet is an urgent call for action. Caritas Sri Lanka collaborated with The British Council Sri Lanka, to conduct workshops in the Diocese of Chilaw focusing on Climate Action using Active Citizens methodology. The workshops were conducted  in two batches from 1st March to 6th March 2021 and from 14th March to 19th March 2021 with the active participation of  60 youths in Chilaw. Caritas Sri Lanka and Caritas Chilaw were able to complete these trainings successfully, adhering to COVID-19 regulations.

 The Climate change project entails three phases;

  1. Active Citizens Facilitator Development Workshop conducted by The British Council where 4 four Caritas staff members were trained as Active Citizens Facilitators equipped with content and delivery techniques to cascade trainings on Climate Action to youth
  2. Community (youth) cascade trainings Climate Action.
  3. Presentations and feedback for project proposals followed by mentoring sessions for implementation of social action projects on climate action.

Because of the Active Citizens workshops, the participants teamed up and recognized climate related issues within their communities. They designed social action project proposals to find solutions for these climate change related issues. The Climate change related Social Action Project initiatives are as follows:

  1. Munneswaram Green Champions – for a greener cleaner city and lake (A project to safeguard the beauty of Munneshwaram lake and the Kovil) to be implemented in Munneshwaram pond
  2. Safeguarding ‘Gam Pimbura’ government reserve by Marawila Youth Group. to be implemented in a wetland bordering three GN divisions
  3. Wennappuwa Climate Champs – coastal conservation (Planting of Watakeiya and mangrove or an associated variety along the coast of Waikkala) to be implemented in Waikkala Beach
  4. Kottapitiya Youth for Climate Action – cleaning of the lake and plantation of Kumbuk. to be implemented in Kottapitiya Lake
  5. GREENEACH – greener shores – beautifying the beach with Mudilla plants by Wennappuwa Youth Group to be implemented in Chilaw
  6. Zero Waste Beach – environmental advocacy campaign through beach clean-up by Chilaw Youth. to be implemented in Chilaw Beach

Overall, this programme has helped the youth to be conscious of themselves, their roles and responsibilities towards their communities. The youth feel that by identifying and understanding themselves and their communities, they have become proactive and are able to contribute to the development of their communities. The above Social Action Projects are to be implemented in the month of July & August 2021 with the support of the Health Authorities in the respective areas.

Caritas Sri Lanka is very grateful for this opportunity to build a mutually beneficial partnership with the British Council Sri Lanka to sow the seeds which will result in creating a positive change.