Understanding and addressing climate change is critical to Save the Children’s mission of protecting human health and the environment. We accomplish this mission through our interventions in climate change, environmental protection, biodiversity conservation, and green jobs. We believe in empowering children’s voices as change agents and drive the climate agenda through encouraging leadership in the climate movement.
The climate crisis has a direct impact on children all over the world, posing a grave threat to their survival, learning, and protection. Born into the climate crisis, today's children and future generations will pay the highest price, if urgent action is not taken- particularly those living in the world's most vulnerable communities.
Save the Children plays a distinctive role in amplifying children's voices and fostering climate leadership. We want to help children, particularly the most vulnerable, who are disproportionately affected by climate change, become part of the solution and influence decisions made by global and local authorities.
Save the Children is a new entrant in the field of environment and climate change. Realizing the significance of the impacts of environment and climate change on its programme and operations, SC Global drafted its first Environmental Sustainability and Climate Change Policy. Taking cue from SC Global, SC PKCO began integrating environment and climate change in its programme and operations in 2019. In this short duration, SC PKCO has undertaken some impressive initiatives such as the integration of children and youth in the Pakistan Nationally Determined Contributions report.
SC PKCO supported the Ministry of Climate Change (MoCC) in designing a comprehensive, extensive and all-encompassing policy advocacy campaign geared towards greater engagement of youth in the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) development and implementation process. The study titled “Enhancing the Role of Youth in the Implementation of NDCs in Pakistan: Advocacy Strategy and Action Plan’ is a unique initiative of SC PKCO and M0CC to involve youth in determining the NDCs for Pakistan. It is a 5 year advocacy campaign strategy with action plan for engaging youth in Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to reduce national emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change.
The Red Alert campaign was an innovative initiative and is Save the Children’s first ever regional or multi-country campaign and influencing project on the climate crisis. Put simply, this aims to build grassroots activism, and leverage stronger public awareness and political will to drive more effective, child-sensitive action on climate and environmental crisis mitigation and adaptation.
Save the Children organized Pakistan’s first ever “Zero Waste Eco Festival” to raise awareness amongst children and the youth about climate change and environment-related issues. The festival created an immersive experience for attendees to come together in nature and partake in sustainable activities and practices to learn how to reduce their ecological footprints.
The festival created a marketplace of sustainable products, designs, and ideas. It brought together green companies and start-ups working on sustainable technology; organic and local farmers working with sustainable practices; and non-profit organizations that are working on environment-related issues, with notable organizations such as TrashIt,
The festival was organized around the principles of “reuse, reduce, recycle.” and ensured that the event was designed using innovative ideas and sustainable materials such as bamboo, UV printing and wooden carvings. Special consideration was given on reducing plastic and other waste with regards to the event set up, as well as branding and marketing material. Our official ticketing partnersalso helped minimize paper waste by helping set up a QR code based ticketing system for the event.
Saaf Suthra Sheher was engaged to manage the waste at the event, and effectively ensured that all the waste that was generated was recycled, upcycled or safely disposed. The company also set up several recycling stations at the event, and a group of youth volunteers was trained to effectively teach and guide guests on how to discard their trash. The festival can serve as a case study and road map for companies and organizations to reduce the environmental impact of large scale events and festivals in Pakistan.
Zero Waste Eco Festival also featured a panel discussion on “Youth Engagement for a Sustainable and Climate Resilient Future.” Panelists included Ms. Marion Pfennings, Head of Development Corporation at the German Embassy Islamabad; Mr Atif Sheikh, Executive Director of the Special Talent Exchange Program; Sheryar Arif Khan, Assistant District Commissioner Islamabad; Brigadier Muhammad Aslam Khan (Retd.); Chairman Pakistan Economy Watch; and Syed Ehtesham Ul Haque, Principal Environmental Design Engineer.
Notably, the event also featured a “Conversation with Young Climate Activists. Youth panelists included Zia Ur Rehman, President of NUST Environment Club, and Eisha Ayub, Save the Children’s Red Alert Climate Activist among others.
Mr. Khuram Gondal, Country Director, Save the Children in Pakistan, delivered closing remarks at the festival and said: “Although the climate crisis already affects everyone on this planet, it is the lives and futures of our children and youth that will be the most affected. That’s why it is so important that they are part of the solution. We designed this festival to raise awareness amongst the children and youth in an exciting and innovative way, that instils a drive and passion in them to take up climate related activism and advocacy. The idea was to create an interactive platform for them to share their voices and explore sustainable products, practices and ideas.”
Children and the youth also had the opportunity to participate in a wide array of interactive workshops and study circles. The workshops engaged children in activities about composting food waste into fertilizer, planting seeds and growing their own gardens, olive oil extraction, as well as creating their own body scrubs and self-care products from natural materials. Study Circles included climate charged discussions on renewable alternative energy solutions, green tourism, as well as the water crisis and water management.
Harness Energy set up solar panels around the festival to power lights, fans, and mobile charging stations to showcase low cost and effective alternative solutions for energy generation and consumption. The festival effectively engaged children and the youth in a wide array of activities and conversations to encourage new forms of action and activism that can prepare the future generation to respond effectively to ecological and climate related challenges.
My Forest Child is a unique, multi-faceted approach that conducts mass tree planting to restore damaged forests. Through the MFC project, 15,000 saplings were planted over an area of 20 acres on 3rd Avenue Islamabad, in collaboration with Capital Development Authority (CDA).
Two climate awareness sessions and two digital hangouts with school children were conducted in different schools under MFC activities, in which children were involved in generating a discourse on the climate change crisis, in order to understand their ideas, opinion, and perspectives.