By Young Friends of the Earth Ireland
Through the System Reset project we sought to engage young people who have been too often underrepresented in the Climate Movement, as well as those most impacted by climate change. In an effort to target young people, Ireland Friends of the Earth Ireland collaborated with Community Work Ireland (CWI) to design and deliver a pilot Just Transition Champions Training Programme to Community and Youth Workers.
We partnered with Community Work Ireland to deliver this innovative educational programme which upskilled 18 Community and Youth Work practitioners across the country. The training aimed to deepen participants’ understanding of how climate justice relates to their professional practice and equip them with the necessary knowledge, skills, tools and resources necessary to empower young people to engage with and contribute to the implementation of just transition decision making, policies and planning processes.
We ran two cycles of the training programme over a five-week period. Each cycle had 8-10 participants from Youth and Community Work backgrounds. We specifically wanted to keep the numbers of participants for each cycle to a maximum of ten to ensure that over the five weeks the participants could get to know one another and hopefully contribute to relationship building and a strong foundation for building a community of practice with practitioners beyond the training programme.
As a result of the global COVID pandemic we were forced to transition the training programme to be rolled out online. We adapted the course material using creative and participatory methods to support a discursive and empowering process. As part of the training, participants had the opportunity to meet and discuss with experts, innovators and community voices at the forefront of the climate crisis who have been driving exciting projects and programmes addressing climate injustice – both in the Global North and in the Global South.
To maximise the impact of the Just Transition Champions training programme participants were supported to integrate the ideas and learning they took from the course into their work by providing seed funding to deliver ‘multiplier workshops’ in their practice. These workshops sought to engage young people under the age of 30 from communities that have been marginalised, and support them to develop their own visions of what a just transition could look like.
Youth multiplier workshops took place in The South, West and East of Ireland with various communities including young Travellers, young migrants as well as young people from both urban and rural settings.