WWF-Malaysia celebrates young Eco Champions 

by TMR / Pic source: Rahana Husin/WWF-Malaysia

THIS year, WWF-Malaysia is celebrating 50 years of conservation work in the country. 

Over the years, one of its primary goals is to create a generation of empowered youth that supports long-term sustainable development, by preparing young people with skills, knowledge and confidence in their abilities.

Towards this end, WWF-Malaysia initiated the Eco Champion Awards in 2017 to celebrate inspiring young Malaysians for their outstanding commitment to conserving the natural environment.

It is the organisation’s belief that young people are capable of anything they put their minds to when supported. Therefore, they should be rewarded no matter how small or large their contribution to our environment.

In the 2022 edition, five groups and one individual were given seed grants to carry out their eco projects. WWF-Malaysia also provided upskilling programmes in digital marketing, project management and design thinking hosted by industry experts. 

Eco Champion Syuhada Norman, a PhD student from the University of Malaya (UM) who’s passionate about urban river conservation, led a project to learn about micro-plastic and antibiotic pollution at Sungai Keroh, Segambut. 

(Left) Eco Champion Chen and three of her schoolmates hosted activities to educate their friends about climate change; while Luqman Hakim from Kelab Belia Prihatin (right) ran a campaign that encouraged the B40 community to plant fruit trees (Pic source: Farisha Zainol/WWF-Malaysia)

Together with other UM researchers and upcycling initiative Hara Makers, they analysed the river water samples, did river cleaning and conducted a community awareness programme as a holistic approach to protecting water resources.

Eco Champions Chia Dane and Li Lin Lein, research assistants from Sunway University, piloted a study on university students’ knowledge about food waste segregation and management. The students were asked to bring their household food wastes for two weeks and were taught about composting. 

WWF-Malaysia also recognised Eco Champion Kelab Belia Prihatin led by Luqman Nur Hakim, which ran the We Be-Leaf Together campaign that encouraged the B40 (bottom 40%) community to plant fruit trees to battle malnutrition among kids. 

Also, Eco Champion Chen Xin Ying and three of her schoolmates from Sri Bestari Private School hosted a series of exciting activities to educate their friends about climate change.

In Penang, Eco Champion Nur Sakinah Khairul Anuar worked together with her friends on their Go Green Tasek Gelugor 2022 project to mobilise communities to donate old clothes, plastic items and used cooking oil to be recycled.

Last but not least, Eco Champion Theiviya Lakshmikandan from Klang, supported by three other team members, focused on combating the food crisis through activities with high school students. 

A lot is being said about engaging youth to implement the 2030 agenda for Sustainable Development, but this has to come with guidance and support. The avenues we provide must create opportunities to develop skills and we must recognise contributions made by our youth. 

WWF-Malaysia is proud of all its Eco Champions for going beyond their boundary to make a massive impact on sustainability and wellbeing within their communities and beyond, after all there is #OnlyOneEarth for us to live.