Aimed to capacitate and empower reservists to serve the nation through environmental protection, the Blue Knights Ready Reserve Unit launched the Eco Champ 2019 last October 13-15.
With the theme, “Championing Blue Knight Reservists to care for our common home in service for Mindanao,” the event gave opportunities to selected environmental advocates to translate their ideas into action.
“Many youths want to help and serve our environment but they don’t have any platform to actualize this and in the state of many environmental breakdowns and breakthroughs. These young individuals must be empowered and mobilized to care for our common home in service for Mindanao,” Amiel Lopez, the project head of Eco Champ 2019, expressed.
In partnership with the Arrupe Office of Social Formation and the Ecoteneo, Eco Champ 2019 provides holistic formation for the pioneering batch of selected NSTP graduates from Ateneo de Davao University through learning sessions and panel discussions led by environmental experts and advocates, and immersions.
Participants were divided into four themes according to their field of interest and concerns namely; (1) Food and sustainable agriculture, (2) Climate emergency and indigenous peoples’ vulnerability, (3) Pollution: marine, air, land, and (4) Watershed Protection and visited various sites including the Tamugan Watershed, Davao City Landfill, Bajau Community in Matina Aplaya and a farm under Jojo Rom’s urban gardening.
As the target output of the said program, participants were required to come up with a project proposal and undergo a project pitching. The panel of evaluators included the renowned artivist (art activist) AG Saño, also known as the “Dolphin Guy”, who also lead a mural painting activity at the Arrupe Hall.
In the end, Project GREEN (Gardening Recreation and Environmental Education) won as the best project proposed by Eco champs under the theme: Food and Sustainable Agriculture. This project was inspired by the urban gardening site visited by the participants during their immersion activity.
Cathlyn Claire Mendez, one of the members of the winning team, said that it is very timely to craft advocacies and projects to promote environmental awareness and protection.
“I hope that after the camp, we will be aided by the right people in actualizing our project. I hope that the fire of every participant will keep the fire burning that pushes them to make their project happen,” Mendez expressed.
The winning team will receive seed money of fifteen thousand (15,000) pesos while the three other teams will receive a consolation grant of five thousand pesos each. Recipients of the financial grant will closely work with the partner organizations to push through their respective projects.