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Kenyan among 54 youths picked for UNESCO Youth Conference to be held in Japan

By NYAMBEGA GISESA | October 7th 2014
Nickson Otieno, a University of Nairobi student, hopes to transform Nyakongo into a model sustainable village by the year 2030.

A youth who is spearheading a project aiming at transforming his community to a modern sustainable village by the year 2030 will represent Kenya at the UNESCO Youth Conference and the UNESCO World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD).

Nickson Otieno will represent the country at the UNESCO World Conference on ESD which marks a decade since ESD was launched in December 2002. The event will be held in Aichi-Nagoya, Japan from November 10-12 while the youth event will be held earlier on November 7.

“The conference will give me a chance to share the Kenyan experience on ESD and interact with youth from the rest of the world so as to know what they are doing,” he told the Standard.

A total of 54 participants drawn from around the world will attend the Youth Conference, which will take place in Okayama City, Japan, a week prior to the main conference to be held in Aicho-Nagoya, Japan.

The youth are expected to use the conference to exchange ideas and experiences with peers, discuss innovative approaches to ESD, talk about how young people can be involved in ESD and also deliberate on commitment to future ESD actions.

Since it was launched in 2002, Kenya has made modest progress in implementations of ESD.

According to the Ministry of Education, Buru Buru Girls and Thika High Schools are the leading implementers of Education for Sustainable Development in teaching.

Nickson who describes himself as a youth who is committed to raising awareness on the environment and sustainability is one of the youth who has been identified as having made the greatest contribution to the implementation of ESD.

The 2010 architecture graduate from the University of Nairobi who is now pursuing a Master’s of Science in Sustainable Urban Development from the same university, initiated sustainable development projects in his university while in first year.

“Together with fellow students, I started a group for global sustainability with the main objective of providing a platform for students from various disciplines to learn about the MDGs with focus on goal number seven that advocates for environmental sustainability,” Nickson, who is also the President of the  World Student Community for Sustainable Development (WSCSD)  recalls.

He is also one of the officials of the Kenya Green University Network formed by the World Students Community for Sustainable Development, UNEP, NEMA and GreeningU Kenya Initiative.

The GreeningU Initiative, fosters awareness of the concept of a green economy among campus students.

At his home village known as Nyakongo in Nyando, Nickson is spearheading a project aimed at transforming Nyakongo into a model sustainable village by the year 2030.

“We have already started with providing clean water to the community using sand filters,” he says. “We have already trained members of the community on how to use sand filters and we have so far provided sand filters to 114 households.”

Nickson adds that their target is to provide 800 households with sand filters by next 2015.

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