Ash’ari mobilized youth in her country for several green initiatives after using our toolkits, gained national media attention and an audience with the Minister of Energy.

Ash’ari provides a thorough account of her work:

“My name is Khairunnisa Ash’ari, from Brunei Darussalam. I am 24 years old. I first learned about the OTL position earlier this year and I applied for it immediately. I started following discussions on the facebook group moreso than the webinars, because the times of the webinars were hard to keep up with in my timezone. I started working on actual outreach sometime in March, by sending emails to local organizations, but the response was really weak. So, I started focusing on organizing actual projects. I had several ideas in mind, but was only able to carry out one project called Brunei+20: National Youth Seminar for Sustainable Development. As a project, Brunei+20 was completed in May, despite limited resources.

Brunei+20 aimed to create awareness about Rio+20 and also to get young people, aged 16-25, to come together to formulate recommendations for sustainable development. The recommendations of the youth were then going to be compiled into a statement to represent concerns from Brunei. I used the Rio+20 toolkits to inform my project. The toolkits gave a clear explanation about what we are striving to achieve and some great tips about how we can go about spreading awareness. In addition, the toolkits were used to prepare the participants for Brunei+20 to give them a better understanding of sustainable development. Throughout the process of preparing for the event, I could always count on the support from EOTO World and the other focal points.

My experience with Brunei+20 was fantastic! A majority of the participants are still studying in high school and it was really, really amazing watching these young minds at work and coming up with well-thought out recommendations with limited time (less than 3 hours, actually)! There is just something great about watching passionate groups of young people working together with a common goal: to achieve the future we want. It also gave me a lot of hope for the future to see how concerned they are about our environment and how much they really want to have a greener world for themselves, their children, and grandchildren. What is also great is that we all learned from our experience. I, as much as the participants, benefited from the various trips we took to learn the seven pillars that framed Rio+20 more deeply. Unfortunately, we did not have 7 trips, as the energy facilitator had lost his voice, but we did go to the other trips.

I am really glad that I signed up as an OTL volunteer, otherwise, I would not have thought about organising this event. By joining the OTL initiative, I have been able to expand my network of fellow green advocators from other countries, whom I can always learn a lot from even though Rio+20 is over. The work for sustainable development will never stop!

Our impact:

45 youth aged 16-25 attended the 3 day seminar. 24 members of the planning committee attended as well.

Brunei+20 received a lot of publicity and as a result, the participants and I had the opportunity to speak privately with the Minister of Energy, who was to represent Brunei at Rio+20.

Participants now have opportunities to collaborate with government departments and their various projects.

A few of the participants were exceptional, and I was able to identify them and I am mentoring them toward advocacy work.

We were invited to attend as participants of the National Environment Conference.

My colleague from the committee and I were invited to and attended the Commonwealth Youth Programme’s Leadership and Advocacy Training. We were recognized as Brunei+20!

What will we do next?

We want to turn talk into action. I have co-founded Green Brunei, which aims to be the biggest green community in Brunei. A few of the participants from Brunei+20 are now volunteers for Green Brunei and we are working together on different projects. Some of our projects include an Energy Camp and Shark Fin awareness. At the moment, I am also working on a solar light project in Cambodia. I am hoping that Green Brunei would be a great start for our youth leaders to make an impact through their actions, big or small, within their communities or the public as a whole.”