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Taraaaaa!… Here are the #Forests2015 Youth Speakers!

Many thanks to all the enthusiastic young people from around the world that submitted entries to be considered as a youth speaker for the XIV World Forestry Congress (WFC) 2015, which will take place from September 7th – 11th2015 in Durban, South Africa.

We received 84 entries of outstanding youth-led initiatives from every continent. This year’s competition for youth speaker slots was very keen, and a pleasure to witness what youth are promoting and accomplishing for the Future of Forests.

As previously stated in the call, all complete entries were posted on the #Forests2015 blog. After the deadline (30 June 2015), the evaluation was done using the selection process and criteria stated in the call.

For the first phase of the selection process, each entry was rated using this formula:
First level score = (5 * #comments) + (2 * #likes) + (#views)

All entries that have a total score of 100 and above are passed to the 2ndphase.

The second phase selection was carried out by the jury. The jury was made up of representatives from youth associations who are partners for youth engagement (IFSA, YPARD and IAAS) as well as three members of the Youth Team at the WFC Secretariat. The jury made their final decision based on the impact of the initiative, how engaging the story was and the approach adopted for the initiative and made to ensure a diversity of speakers (representing gender, topic, language and continent) as stated on the blog.

After this rigorous and exciting process, we are honoured to announce our 3 youth speakers:


charles batte-001Dr. Charles Batte was born in Kamwokya; an impoverished slum in Uganda. He spent his childhood on a farm and experienced first-hand the frustrating effects of a changing climate. He is a magna summa laude graduate of Human Medicine and Surgery from Makerere University. Charles established Empower Community farm to promote sustainable agricultural methods in Katiiti Village, and he founded Tree Adoption Uganda – a social enterprise bringing forestry to the heart of children and community members. His TreeCapital and Trees4School programs leverage on the use of environmental conservation activities to empower young people into a purposeful existence.

sekar ayu woro yunita-001Sekar Ayu Woro Yunita is a final year student in Faculty of Forestry Universitas Gadjah Mada, Yogyakarta, Indonesia. She currently serves as President in International Forestry Students Local Committee UGM and Asia-Pacific Regional Representative in IFSA. One of her notable works is the ‘Youth in Forest Actions’, a program that projects three pillars of sustainable development in forestry into series of actions: Integrated Conservation and Social Act (social project around Mount Merapi), Slow Loris Awareness Month (a month project to raise awareness of young people toward slow loris conservation) and Ecopreneur Grand Workshop (national workshop on NTFP management).

jossio guillenJossio Guillén has a degree in Geographic Ecological Tourism, and is a member of the Panama Green Association and National Coordinator of Panama in the Initiative Reforesting, Central America. Jossio emphasizes that youth can be inspired through a quality education using various technological tools, where the free access to information prevails and ensures a successful learning process. By working simultaneously with thousands of young people in Central America planting trees, Jossio sees his greatest accomplishment in restoring areas of great ecological importance and promoting management of land in terms of all-natural organic practices to ensure a sustainable future.

We admire the enthusiastic work of the youth-led initiatives we received. All the videos represent important input to youth, forestry and sustainable land management and we are working hard to ensure that many youth voices, your videos and stories are represented in various theatre areas of the Congress.

Thanks to all entrants your outstanding efforts and for sharing your voices and activities to create a sustainable future for all!

Source: The #Forests2015 Blog