In 2021, British Council conducted a research study titled “Young people on Climate Change: A perception survey”. Limited awareness of climate change among the youth, lack of openness from state and non-state community stakeholders to take ideas from youth and lack of opportunities and platforms for youth to take initiatives and make decisions on climate change came out as some key findings of the Sri Lankan research. Youth Leadership for Climate Action (YLCA) project was designed with the aim of contributing to fill this gap. The project was built on British Council’s legacy initiatives including Active Citizens, Future Leaders Connect, Climate Champions and the Climate Connection. The project aims to contribute to the development of a generation of young Sri Lankans who can effectively contribute to country’s climate action and the green recovery process, working with the most vulnerable communities and in the most endangered ecosystems.     

Specific objective of the project  

Enhance knowledge, skills, and networks of youth for more effective and inclusive climate and environmental action through community mobilisation. 

Expected outcomes 

  • Improved knowledge, skills, and connections of youth for community level climate/environmental action.
  • Effective and Inclusive climate/environmental action plans are developed and implemented by youth. 
  • Fellow youth are inspired and motivated towards favourable climate/environmental action through shared experiences. 
  • Stakeholder support, collaboration, and recognition received for youth climate/environmental action. 

The work to-date  

Last year the project was implemented in three districts, Colombo, Gampaha and Kandy, in partnership with the youth wing of Wildlife and Nature Protection Society of Sri Lanka and Biodiversity Sri Lanka.75 young men and women from these districts were involved in the project. They were provided opportunities to develop their knowledge on the climate emergency and to uplift their leadership skills and networks to design and implement climate and environmental interventions, mobilising their communities. The youth initiated 20 climate/environmental actions with focus on biodiversity conservation, wetland and marine environment protection, waste management and eco-friendly products. Six of the promising initiatives are currently being further supported under the British Council’s Climate Challenge Grants for the youth.  

 The YLCA project continues this year in the districts of Kalutara, Ratnapura and Nuwara Eliya in partnership with the youth wing of Wildlife and Nature Protection Society of Sri Lanka.