BY RUTH CAROL ATIENO
The youth of today will be the champions of tomorrow. We must involve them fully in the march towards a cleaner and greener planet. The good thing is that the youth in the energy sector these days are very eager and willing to be informed and to be involved. The question is, how can we quench their thirst and involve them in the energy efficiency agenda? In this piece, this piece focuses on some of the ways through which the youth can be included.
Clean Energy Campaigns
The youthful age is an energetic one. Young people tend to enjoy physical activities, especially ones that are geared towards a better planet. Organizing energy efficiency campaigns and having them spearheaded by the youth is a great way to include the young generation in the Energy Efficiency agenda. The youth can be educated on basic energy conservation practices. They can later carry out activities like going back to educational institutions and helping them conserve energy or teaching them how to switch to clean energy practices or even organize mass education on clean energy practices.
Youth Empowerment Programs
The youth on their own can only achieve very little but when given the right support and instance through empowerment programmes, they can achieve even more. Take a look at the Youth in Energy Empowerment Program (YEEP) run under Eenovators Limited. YEEP is a Youth Innovation internship program with the aim to equip young people with a background in engineering, and aged between 21-30 years with energy skills and experience required to position them for employment and entrepreneurship in the energy space.
Youth Innovation Challenges
Organizing such events for the youth is also another way to involve them in the Energy Efficiency agenda. The youth have so much in their minds, very innovative ideas and when given a platform to showcase these ideas and even get funding in the long run is inclusion. The World Energy Day Foundation offers this opportunity to youths across East Africa. The Youth can submit their innovative ideas here and the best ideas get the opportunities to showcase in front of a panel of judges and the world during the World Energy Day Conference held yearly in October.
Winners get amazing awards such as internship opportunities, incubation for their ideas, cash prizes and even full funding for the amazing ideas.
Raising Awareness on Platforms That The Youth Frequently Visit
Almost every youth on the planet has a social media account. Be it Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Some of these platforms have specific groups where the youth frequent. We can use these groups to reach the youth by raising awareness on Energy Efficiency matters. Some social media accounts such as this and this also focus on energy efficiency matters.
We can also have specific Twitter hashtags that focus on Energy Efficiency.
Disciplines Related to Clean Energy
The youth are always eager to learn. Educational institutes should design courses that are Energy Efficiency related for the youth to take part in. These courses will surely create awareness among the youth and keep them more informed about Energy Efficiency.
Job Opportunities in The Energy Sector
Job opportunities should be created for the youth. Where they can continue implementing what they learnt from these training institutions that equipped them with clean energy practices skills.
Platforms To Publish Clean Energy Innovation Projects
The World Energy Day Foundation for instance, offers a platform where students can have their college projects published. This puts the innovative ideas out there for investors and funders to see. We need to have more of these platforms where students can have their work showcased.
This blog also allows for the youth to be guest bloggers. A place to echo their stories to the world. If you want to be a guest blogger send your article to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sponsorships For Energy Trainings
The youth might not be in a position to pay for some of these energy courses such as Certified Energy Manager or Certified Energy Auditor. We can have people or organizations sponsoring some of the youth to undertake these very important courses. We can also have career mentorships readily available to the youth to help them make the right career choices around Energy Efficiency.
Awarding The Youth in The Energy Efficiency Field
Awards can be very encouraging and they will surely motivate the youth to want to do more. We can have events that recognize the good work being done by the youth in the Energy Efficiency field. The Energy Professional Awards organized by the World Energy Day Foundation is one event that recognizes these amazing works. Among the 8 categories, there is a category for Young Energy Professional of The Year and this is specifically for the youth.
In conclusion, the youth are the leaders of tomorrow and when we involve them fully in the march towards a cleaner and greener planet, they will not have trouble making the right decisions and solving the problems that will come their way when it is their turn to lead and to be the decision makers of our nations.
There are so many ways through which we can involve the youth in the Energy Efficiency agenda and we should not only be limited to the items on this piece.