Empowering Youths Collaboration for Sustainable Climate Action through “Project Green Jobs” under the eMpowering Youths Across ASEAN Cohort 3
11 September 2023 - Vutha Sok

Sok Saksisovutha – On 29 July 2023, a group of 15 enthusiastic ASEAN youth volunteers converged in Battambang province to learn about sustainable climate action through the transformative “Project Green Jobs” under the eMpowering Youths Across ASEAN Cohort 3.

This project focused on building an understanding of Green Jobs and climate actions and is designed to empower Cambodian youth to take climate action and to build a strong commitment toward fostering environmental awareness and collaboration within the ASEAN youth community.

[Group photo of all 11 youths volunteer from ASEAN countries and Impact Hub Phnom Penh’s team]

Over the 2 impactful weeks, the dedicated individuals from different ASEAN countries along with local Cambodian youths have embarked on a journey that exemplifies the power of youth-led efforts in combating climate challenges and immersing themselves in the world of green jobs, delving into Cambodia’s local initiatives that promote sustainability. This exploration of green and social entrepreneurship ignited their passion for sustainable change and inspired innovative thinking, which truly aligns with the spirit of ASEAN for “One Vision, One Identity, One Community.”

[Youths volunteer from Vietnam and Battambang pitching their climate project idea]

Besides an insightful workshop and field visit for 11 days with Impact Hub Phnom Penh, our dynamic group of young individuals immersed themselves in an insightful workshop and hands-on learning experience with green/social entrepreneurs in Battambang province. During this period, they had the privilege of connecting with a diverse array of forward-thinking green entrepreneurs in the local communities, including Khmer Banana Weaving, Junlen Meas, Phare Ponleu Selpak, and Phum Impact Battambang.

[Field visit to Khmer Banana Weaving]

[Field visit to Junlen Meas]

[Nia, youth volunteer from Singapore]

Nia Masinta Dewi Binte Noorazman, one of the youth volunteer from Singapore, said
“It was a cultural eye-opening experience for me. People here are really friendly, and they taught us many things that I personally never learned before. One of the big highlights is the visit at Khmer Banana Weaving, where the founder is using banana fibers to produce the final products. It’s a big inspiration for me to learn from these entrepreneurs advocating for reusing all the natural resources around us.”

The Green Job project provided them with profound insights into the intricacies of sustainable business models and the compelling narratives behind these innovative ventures. This transformative experience has passionately ignited their drive to lead positive change within their respective communities. This led them to create 4 innovative project ideas that focus on climate actions and the environment in many countries across ASEAN, such as:

– Green Transformer: This project revolves around transforming community plastic waste into upcycled products and souvenirs. It not only champions environmental sustainability but also provides an avenue for local individuals to earn a living by recycling and subsequently selling these products to tourists.

– Greenovators: This multifaceted project comprises several workshops, including Green Jobs Creation and Workforce Development, Green Startups and Incubation Programs, Sustainable Agriculture and Food. In addition, the Greenovators offer self-financed field visits to eco-friendly and socially conscious entrepreneurs in Singapore, immersing participants in real-world applications of green innovations.

– Upcycle Fashion: This project focuses on DIY workshops to repurpose unused clothes into fashionable upcycled items. Alongside the hands-on sessions, it aims to raise awareness of the implications of fast fashion through an online campaign. The project also seeks to cultivate online communities dedicated to discussions about sustainable fashion and promoting local entrepreneurs who specialize in upcycling clothing.

– Waste 2 Paper: This workshop enlightens participants on the process of recycling old papers into new sheets suitable for packaging or writing, presenting a tangible solution to the wasteful disposal of paper.

[Pengsan, Talent Activation Senior Manager at Impact Hub Phnom Penh]

PENGSAN HUON Talent Activation Senior Manager “It’s truly exciting to witness the emergence of these four social project ideas. They’re not merely beginnings but solid foundations for a more eco-friendly and sustainable future. What adds excitement is the fact that these initiatives will extend across ASEAN communities, sparking important discussions at both local and regional levels. This will help foster a shared awareness of the climate crisis. I’m eagerly anticipating the impacts these projects will have in addressing local issues that play a role in the larger battle against climate change.”

Beyond environmental action, the program emphasized the importance of fostering collaboration and friendship. The bonds formed among the volunteers went beyond cultural and national boundaries, strengthening the ASEAN spirit of unity and shared purpose. This experience reinforced the idea that the journey toward a sustainable future is a collective one and collaboration among diverse voices is crucial for bringing about transformative change.

SOK SAKSISOVUTHA Communications Officer “As a Communications Lead and one of the facilitators in this Project Green Jobs, I’m genuinely impressed by how young people from different countries have come together and formed strong bonds during this project. Seeing their passion and commitment to a shared goal has been truly inspiring. I believe that their active participation in this initiative has the potential to bring about significant positive changes in the future of ASEAN. These young leaders are starting something important, and as they continue to work together and come up with new ideas, they’re on track to make a lasting impact on the region, making it a better and more sustainable place for everyone.”

About Project Green Jobs: Project Green Jobs is a 3-month project aimed to connect and inspire Cambodian youth and youth from across 10 ASEAN countries to understand green jobs and climate actions better. The project is organized and implemented by Impact Hub Phnom Penh, under the eMpowering Youths Across ASEAN Programme Cohort 3, which is in partnership with ASEAN Foundation, and funded by Maybank Foundation and Maybank.

For more information:

Chanbora Sek, Sustainable Operations and Program Manager at Impact Hub Phnom Penh [email protected]