Borneo Eco Warriors concludes their first program ever
14th July 2017, Kota Kinabalu : The first ever Borneo Eco Warriors workshop concluded yesterday with a closing ceremony at the Courtyard Hotel, Kota Kinabalu and the presentation of certificates to the participants by Prof Madya Dr How Siew Eng , PA of the Vice-Chancellor of Universiti Malaysia – Sabah as well as the Director of the Eco Campus Management Centre.
Thirty youth between the ages of 18 and 25 from various backgrounds which consist of 8 delegates from Brunei, 8 delegates from Sarawak and 14 from Sabah participated in the four-day workshop which began in July 10 till 13. This event is funded by the U.S. Mission to ASEAN through YSEALI Seed for Future Grant, and supported by Cultural Vistas, Universiti Malaysia Sabah, Active Creation, and Scuba Junkie.
The event aims to raise awareness of environmental issues in the region and enhance individual skills such as leadership, project management, creative thinking and public speaking. A total of 8 speakers were invited to share about their ocean threats, and initiatives which hopes to empower the youth to initiate ocean conservation in their region. On the first day, a total of speakers were invited and topics covered were Climate Change and the Marine Ecosystem by Marine Biodiversity Research Centre, University Malaysia Sabah, Environmental Issues in Sabah by Environmental Protection Department, Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Environment, The Environmental Law and Conservation of the Wildlife by Sabah Wildlife Department, Turtle Conservation by WWF Malaysia, Shark Conservation by Sabah Shark Protection Association, Sustainable Marine Tourism by Scuba Junkie, Coral Rehabilitation by Reef Check Malaysia, and The Power of Storytelling by Borneo Eco Film Festival.
The highlight of the program was the fieldtrips to Tunku Abdul Rahman Park and Sabah Wetland Conservation Centre. The participants did a clean up at Gaya Island and managed to collect 70 bags of mainly plastic bottles.
In his speech, the project manager of YSEALI Borneo Eco Warriors, Firdaus Ismail said, “Ocean conservation does not limited to researchers and environmentalist, but it is everyone’s responsibility.” Therefore, he urges the participants to take action in mitigating the ocean issues and be the role model. He added, “I hope you to be a proactive youth leader in tackling such issues which contributes to environment, and socio-economy.”
Anis Bazilah, one of the delegates from Brunei said “it was an eye-opening to be able to see the effects that we have on the environment first hand through our field trip on the second day. It is very dishearten to see parts of our homes to be “dump sites”. But with that, it is also nice to see that there are amazing people taking initiative to tackle these problem.
A combination of lectures from experts and direct field trip exposure has triggered the participants to come up with a proposed follow up project after this program. Seven group of participants pitched their ideas on the last day which mostly emphasize on education and conservation program to instills awareness our generation. These project will be supported by the Borneo Eco Warriors Team in term of mentoring and funding.
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