The tremendous potentials of the youth as a source of innovative and practical ideas toward addressing current developmental issues could not be overemphasized. Their desire to get involved in development works in any which way possible has been contagious as evidenced by the increasing number of youth organizations formed for various purposes anywhere in the world. Some of them have become advocates of change to a level of making their voices heard in various nature of discourses at national and/or international levels. Youth organizations have proven to be an effective mechanism in raising the critical consciousness and sense of concern of their members for addressing societal issues especially those confronting their communities.
The complex issues besetting our environment is one area that have been receiving much attention from the youth especially regarding climate change, biodiversity loss, and natural resource degradation. Their awareness on these issues can be said to spring out from their need to have a greater stake in long-term sustainability for their future and thus leading them to initiate projects in their respective communities where such environmental problems exist. Young people have the propensity to engage themselves in improvised forms of action thereby generating effective responses to ecological challenges.
However, most youth organizations are constrained by the lack of financial support and the right opportunities to fully realize their projects and capacities in helping solve environmental-related concerns. This could be attributed to the fact that most young people, particularly those in developing countries, are living in poverty or have limited means of earning a living. To some extent, most sectors of the society do not fully recognize the important role of the youth, much more investing in and supporting programs that involve them in environmental protection activities on voluntary basis. Very few youth organizations have ready access to a mentor, too.
The SEAMEO Regional Centre for Tropical Biology (BIOTROP) places importance on restoring the integrity of the environment and maximizing the potential uses of available biological resources around our environment sustainably as major thrusts under its 9th Five-Year (2012-2017) Development Plan (FYDP). The Centre also has long recognized and nurtured the potentials of the youth through its internship program for students in different levels to learn new knowledge and skills related to tropical biology. Under its 9th FYDP, the Centre would like to expand its internship program to provide the opportunities for organized youth groups, in- or out-of-school, to actualize their ideas and prove their capabilities to help solve environmental concerns in their respective communities. Thus, SEAMEO BIOTROP will implement this Youth Environmental Outreach (YEO) Grants Program for this purpose under its 9th FYDP.
In general, the SEAMEO BIOTROP YEO Grants Program aims to heighten the roles of the youth in helping realize the real values of tropical biology for community welfare and environmental integrity by supporting the implementation of meritorious action research project proposals from deserving youth organizations.
The specific objectives are as follows:
- To channel the creativity, energy, and interest of the youth into more productive development -oriented activities for the benefit of the environment and the communities they live in.
- To enhance the capacities of the youth in conducting action research and mobilizing community participation for development-oriented activities
- To strengthen the Centre’s link and establish new networks with youth organizations as partners for research and development
- To maximize the existing expertise in the Centre by serving as mentors to the youth organization grantees.
- To enable the Centre to have a sustained action research and/or community-based development projects towards producing high-impact outputs along its program thrusts.
- To contribute to the attainment of the goals of Education for Sustainable Development among the youth.
Suggested Implementation Mechanisms
- The SEAMEO BIOTROP YEO Grants Program will be a competition among youth organizations in Indonesia to develop the best action research/community-based project proposal to benefit the environment and the communities where they are. Only Indonesian youth organizations are eligible for this competition because the grants will come from the Government of Indonesia.
- The competition is open to any youth organizations in Indonesia either consisting of both in- and out-of-school youth that are officially endorsed by the local governments where they are geographically operating.
- Each youth organization is entitled to submit only one project proposal that would highlight the real values of the tropical biological resources existing in their area in terms of either (a) restoring the integrity of their environment, (b) improving the general welfare of their community, or (c) both (a) and (b).
- The sections and their short descriptions that should be contained in the project proposals that the youth organizations must submit for the competition are as follows:
- Title (The title of the project must be clear, concise, and attractive to generate interest/participation from all actors that are expected to be involved in the implementation of the project)
- Background/Rationale (This section should clearly specify the issues and concerns that the project would like to address. Why is it important to undertake the projec? Who will benefit and how?)
- Objectives (The objectives must be concrete enough against which the project’s success or failure can be assessed)
- Components and Methodologies (This section must answer how the project’s objectives can be achieved with the components and methodologies that the project would adopt. It should also specify the partners that would be involved in the implementation of the project)
- Timetable of Activity Implementation (This would specify the overall duration of the project broken down into specific time allocation to undertake the various components and activities)
- Monitoring and Evaluation (This section should specify the way the progress of the project would be assessed according to its objective and timetrame by component, and including the people who will be involved)
- Expected Outputs and Outcomes (This section should enumerate the concrete/tangible outputs and outcomes that the project is expected to produce in relation to its objectives)
- Estimated Budgetary Requirements (The budget must include among others personnel services, travel, equipment and facilities rentals, sundry, administrative costs. If possible, also indicate items that the Centre can counterpart in implementing the project as some donors are very particular about this)
- Together with the project proposal, the applicants shall submit to BIOTROP the following documents:
- Application Letter addressed to BIOTROP Director
- Letter of Endorsement from the head of their community
- At least a 3-page profile of the applicant’s organization
- Proposal submission shall be made from March to end of July while selection process will take place in August to September of every year. Project implementation shall commence in the succeeding year for 8 months (i.e., March to October).
- Proposals must be submitted to:
Dr. Jess C. Fernandez
Deputy Director for Programs
Fax: +62 251 8326851
- A committee of experts shall be constituted by SEAMEO BIOTROP to review and assess the merits of the proposals, and come up with a shortlist of 5 youth organizations as semi-finalists.
- All semi-finalists shall be requested to make a presentation of their proposals to the Committee and SEAMEO BIOTROP Board of Directors for further probing and validation of the contents.
- There would be 3 youth organizations to be awarded grants every year. Announcement of successful applicants shall be done every anniversary celebration of the Centre in February. Each selected youth organizations shall be granted with Rp80,000,000 to implement their projects.
- The youth organization grantees shall be bound by a contract with SEAMEO BIOTROP, with a representative of their local government as witness, in implementing their project proposals.
- Where their expertise are called for, BIOTROP scientists are expected to provide appropriate mentoring to the youth organization grantees in carrying out their projects.
In general, the program is expected to engage and empower at least 12 youth organizations in Indonesia in a new form of activism that will generate effective responses from them to environmental challenges confronting their respective communities.
By the end of BIOTROP’s 9th FYDP, the program is expects to have addressed the environmental and livelihood concerns of at least 12 communities in Indonesia by maximizing the potentials of local tropical biological resources through the efforts of the youth organization grantees.