| ||In the Philippines, a group of EcoScouts talk through their website, which is projected up on a screen.|
Children and youth often have a special stake in protecting the environment. In a place like the Philippines’ REINA area — the three municipalities Real, Infanta and General Nakar, on the main island, Luzon — the issue is especially close to home. Eight years ago, heavy monsoon rains compounded by a pair of typhoons brought flash flooding and landslides to areas of the Philippines, wiping out whole villages and plenty of farmland and damaging the local watershed. REINA was particularly hard hit.
Enter the EcoScouts, a special interest youth group of ChildFund Philippines in REINA, funded by a grant from ChildFund Australia. The group has more than 140 members and has planted trees and native grasses in an effort to prevent the devastation that ensued due to the combination of flooding and deforested land. A multi-layered website, built and maintained by the youth, documents their progress and learning.
“You’re not able to grow if there’s nothing that waters you or supports you,” says one EcoScouts member of his desire to help return REINA to its pre-flood condition. “I joined EcoScouts to gain more knowledge and experience and to meet new people so we all reach what everyone wants. What I want is to fully participate — to show other people that even though I’m only a youth that I can help.”