Indian students and teachers teamed up with their Kiwi counterparts to explore sustainable water management in Central Otago last week, as part of a global leadership and sustainability initiative.
The Untouched World Foundation’s (UWF) Waterwise Leadership and Global Citizenship Programme gave students the opportunity to learn about the entirety of the water resource chain - from primary energy players, through to farming, recreation, cultural and conservation interests.
Taking part were students and teachers from Otago secondary schools, tertiary institutions and the Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development (MGIEP).
Representatives from YESPeace Youth Network in Asia also attended.
The programme involved a week of activities which included visits to lakes, rivers, vineyards and orchards, discussions with water and land use and tourism and irrigation experts, and interviews with locals.
“Youth leadership is firstly about agency – understanding the many facets of the issue, developing the transferable skills to collaborate with others, acting responsibly and then finding a clear path to actively and positively model their own views and behaviour. It is vital we all listen and engage with an international perspective on these issues,” says Mark Prain, Executive Director of UWF.
Key partners included Otago Regional Council, Otago Community Trust and Contact Energy. Further support was also provided by ENZ, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Ngai Tahu.
“Otago Polytechnic believes educating youth on key issues facing society, unlocking their unique leadership potential and inspiring them to become active change-makers is vital,” said Marc Doesburg, Otago Polytechnic Director Globalisation.
Last week’s activities are just part of a range of ongoing initiatives. An “Acts of Kindness’” Campaign is also being developed and will involve MGIEP and UWF mobilising youth in partner institutions to foster meaningful exchange of ideas, knowledge and action towards the achievement of UNESCO’s Sustainable Development Goals.
Organisers are aiming to establish a New Zealand-India youth leadership exchange programme with a focus on fostering youth leadership, which is a key aspect of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Global Action Programme.