At the workshop, we ended each day by giving a word that would best describe our experience. Some words were appropriate and some were just out of this world but they made sense—I guess it’s the power of youths’ creativity. The workshop was a month ago but it feels like yesterday. And if I were to be asked to describe my whole experience in one word, I would say—PHENOMENAL.
Phenomenal because…it’s not every day you see driven youth from around the world together, to generate a brilliant idea and to come up with a solution for a seemingly impossible problem. I know it’s cliché but Youth in Landscape Initiative Workshop plus the Global Landscape Forum was really life-changing for all of us. It made us believe that we (the youth) can really make difference.
On the first day of Youth in Landscapes Workshop, I got lost but I found the building by asking help from a number of people along the streets. When I got to the room, I felt overwhelmed by the enthusiasm of all the participants. I still clearly remembered what I whispered to myself that day. I said “Woah, these youth sure look intelligent and mature.” I took me a while before I realized that I was one of the babies.
Since then, every time I entered the room I get scared. I felt like I don’t have enough knowledge to share with my group so I always got lost during the discussions. However, unlike getting lost in the streets, I didn’t have to ask for guidance because these wonderful people always led the way. There was an overflow of ideas in the room that the discussions couldn’t be stopped by break, lunch or even the end of the day (My group decided to continue our discussion over wine at Montmarte).
In workshops like this, I may say that generating ideas is not the problem. It’s consensus. Youth have plenty of thoughts in their minds and one single push can trigger ideas to explode like a bomb. This is the reason why we had mentors and facilitators to pick up the pieces and help us build from it. I admit that our solutions may not have been that perfect but when we presented it to the Dragon’s Den at GLF, I felt so proud…because these solutions are not just words; they are a part of us; they are our voices.
Youth in Landscapes Workshop gave me opportunity to see the world in the eyes of my fellow youth from different countries. It’s very liberating. And being a part of this made me realize that there is no problem that can’t be solved in this world. You just have to explore, learn and share.
Learn more about the Global Landscapes Forum Youth program, meet our 50 youth champions, discover the 5 Landscapes challenges they took up and the solutions they developed and pitched at the Dragon’s Den on 6th December 2015, in Paris.