Developing Green Skills

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Developing Green Skills

What are green skills and why do we need them now?

Climate change is advancing at alarming rates around the world. With this July set to be the hottest month on record and ocean temperatures at their highest ever for this time of year, there is much cause for concern.

In fact, the UN recently warned that "the era of global warming has ended and the era of global boiling has arrived." 

To thrive in a healthy, equitable, sustainable future, we need a green transition. But a new green economy requires a new set of green skills.

What are green skills?

Green skills are knowledge, abilities, values, and attitudes needed to live in, develop and support a sustainable and resource-efficient society.

The UN predicts that there will be 8.4 million jobs for young people in 2030 that will require green skills.

At Canadian Feed The Children (CFTC), we are working with our community partners to provide programming that develops life-changing skills and enables community members to adapt to a rapidly changing environment.

We believe engaging young people to lead the green transition is key. As we have seen firsthand, youth have an immense capacity that can be unleashed and can effectively teach their families and peers to raise awareness in their communities about climate-friendly behaviours and attitudes. Read more about the donor-supported programs that are helping youth develop green skills for the future.

We can still stop the worst. But to do so, we must turn a year of burning heat into a year of burning ambition.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres

Arts-based environmental education

Our community partners in Bolivia conducted a unique arts-based environmental protection campaign to engage children and youth early on in learning about ways they can minimize the negative impacts they have on the environment. It consisted of theatre activities, puppet shows, and beautiful murals. The goal of the campaign was to better involve young people so they can start applying their new skills and advocate for greater change.

Nelvy and her friends in front of a mural that was constructed for an arts-based environmental education program

Nelvy, a high school student, tells us: "The workshops were fun, all with games and puppets. We all talked about the environment, waste control and sorting. I would like to teach other children."

The campaign works alongside CFTC's gardening programs in Bolivia, allowing children and youth to learn about growing and preparing nutritious food at home in cost-efficient and energy-efficient ways.

Nelvy shares with us the challenges of eating healthy during the dry season, noting that without water, it is difficult to get vegetables without going to the city and spending more. Thanks to home and community gardens, she has noticed families saving money and eating healthier.

After enjoying the arts-based approach to learning about climate change, Nelvy and her peers are looking forward to attending workshops about growing food locally at the community garden and health centre.

Smallholder farming training

Over 80% of the Ugandan population depends on rain-fed agriculture, so erratic rainfall caused by climate change has caused food insecurity to spike. With a rapidly growing under-30 population, Uganda is looking to its youth to redevelop strong local food systems that feed everyone.

Through donor-supported programs, youth in Uganda have been taking the opportunity to participate in agricultural training, where they learn about water conservation, organic pest control, and efficient planting to improve crop yields all year-round.

Dianah, one of the trainers, noted how enthusiastic the young participants have been in comparison to their older counterparts!

I have not seen such a level of compliance where all trainees go back and plant gardens as instructed. I am really happy that all the 57 youth that we trained in smallholder farming have set up gardens. I’m so impressed by their level of commitment. We should henceforth work with young people!
Dianah, Agricultural Trainer

Harriet, a 19-year-old participant and CFTC child ambassador, was one of the participants in the training and has been using her new skills to help her mother with farming. The skills she learned have been so helpful that her mother, Cate, couldn't help but gush about the impact of training youth on their parents.

"I don’t know how you thought about inviting our children to equip them with farming methods and skills, but it has brought a big change. The burden of maintaining gardens was always with me, but now we are working as a team. After the training, they take the responsibility to plant and look after our gardens and I have no doubt that our produce will be much more than it has been before. Thank you!"


Climate change hits women and girls the hardest. How is donor support helping?

Mother and daugher smile in their garden holding produce

CFTC's CLIMATE and SHINE projects are providing female farmers with climate-resilient farming techniques, access to weather data, and access to credit, market linkages, and land to boost food production for their communities.

These projects are also creating a new generation of farmers by helping communities challenge the norms and gender roles that prevent women and girls from participating in agribusiness. 

Gastronomy training

Julia learning about sustainable, healthy cooking in her gastronomy program

In Bolivia, high school students have an exciting opportunity to participate in a gastronomy program. The program teaches youth about food security and food sovereignty as well as climate resilience and the sustainable production of food through home, school, and community gardens. Students are learning about nutrition and healthy cooking and taking advantage of opportunities to become entrepreneurs.

With a garden at home, Julia, a 16-year-old student, has become an avid gardener and has learned how to use the family's solar tent to grow her favourite vegetables like lettuce, tomato, spinach, and parsley to use in her cooking.

Julia has also been taking part in leadership workshops at her school and believes it's important for young people to share their knowledge about growing food and feeding communities sustainably. She has seen how families are saving money and eating healthier thanks to local gardens and is looking forward to using the skills from the program to work in the food sector and continue to advocate for sustainable, healthy eating.

A leader can influence and teach the community about the importance of nutrition.
Julia, a youth gastronomy program participant
Thank you to our family of donors for being a part of this green transition and helping to develop green skills in communities around the world. Together, we are helping young people build a brighter future for all!

In our podcast First Comes Food, we go on a journey through Indigenous food forests in Saskatchewan, farming communities in African countries and early childhood community programs in Bolivia to meet the people who are growing food security for everyone. Their stories may surprise you.

Listen to First Comes Food, now streaming on our website and wherever you listen to your favourite podcasts.