27 November 2018, it was a foggy afternoon. After a team from UNDP reached Likitei pasture of Maubisee – venue for the youth camp, heavy rain hit the ground. Despite the rain, the weeklong permaculture youth camp, kicked off on 25 November came to the end successfully. The camp aimed at highlighting natural resources as the Timor-Leste’s economic cornerstone and it also intended to educate, empower and engage youths in climate change awareness activities. According to Cha Meluk at Permatil the organizing institution, 596 of youths from 13 municipalities managed to make it and 1000 people, including partner agencies attended it.
Around 30 exhibition stalls with the blue tarpaulin were well-set up and big banners were displayed by different development agencies, including the UNDP’s mangrove project (Coastal Resilience Building) to share and showcase the project interventions. Though the rain made the mobility limited, talks under the tarpaulin were in progress, various thematic workshops continued, visitors visited the stalls, and kiosks. “I know mangroves protect people on the coast,” said Acacio Dacosta, one of the camp participants from Matarbora of Manatutu. He asked, “How do I get mangroves seeds, seedlings and support?
Throwing questions at the UNDP team, he also smugly stated: “Ours is the best mangrove forest in Timor-Leste,” Acacia showed off, “we continue appealing people not to cut trees and prohibit bat hunting”. But most of the youth from the uphill, hardly had an idea about mangroves. The uphill is the catchment areas of the mangrove forests and UNDP with partners continues working with the uphill communities adopting an approach of alternative livelihoods, capacity building, and community sensitization
Colleagues in the booth threw a question at a group of giggles whether or not they recognize the mangrove saplings displayed on the table and mangrove pictures shown on the easels. None of them recognized it. While Acacia was from the coast, Albina Da Costa, and Olga Soares Fonseca and other members in her group were from the uphill
Roni Pati Tpoi using showing the big banners, briefed them about mangroves. “I wanna learn something from the camp”, Olga said, “I learned about water conservation related issues yesterday.” Albiana and other friends bobbed their heads but remained mum. The other added, ““I will never forget the coffee pruning technique I learnt in the camp, and vowed to share her friends in college what she learnt from mangrove briefing”. Febi 22, Yefi 20, and Devi 20 from Lospolas seemed eager to learn aquaculture and other aquatic flora that they never learnt before.
UNDP with partners, NGOs shared results and sensitized youths on mangrove conservation and shared project’s conservation interventions. 500 youth visitors visited the project’s booth during the weeklong camp. Despite the weird weather, the camp concluded with lots of learning and fun; participants sometimes were found in full musical mood with a melodious Timorese song – Mai ita hamutuk