UCSI University, Malaysia


Youth Ambassadors ‘Our River, Our Life’

The Regional Centre of Expertise (RCE) Kuching Youth Ambassadors program was launched on 10 April 2019 to groom leaders of tomorrow to champion SDGs and facilitate education for sustainable development. RCE Kuching, a centre acknowledged by the United Nations University, Institute for the Advanced Study for Sustainability (UNU-IAS), Tokyo, Japan, in September 2018, was established to create and promote sustainable-literate communities in Sarawak’s capital City. Its Youth Ambassadors key role is to drive positive changes in the community. It is hosted by UCSI University Sarawak Campus.  Operationally, they plan and coordinate events, and recruitment of youth to promote Education for Sustainable Development (ESD).

This first RCE in East Malaysia focus area and projects are concentrated in and around the main water source for Kuching - Sarawak River Kiri. Its youths join force to become the ambassadors in championing, ‘Our River, Our Life’ initiatives. Together as a team, RCE Kuching Coordinating Committee (Fellows) and the Youth Ambassadors received various awards for their flagship projects related to SDG 4, 6, 11 and 15.

The Youth Ambassadors engagement, proactivity, commitment, empowerment, and leadership skill in promoting education and awareness on sustainable development, also led to the first most successful RCE event to advocate on eliminating plastic pollution in our rivers and oceans.   

What the Judges Thought

The judges felt that this project is a great example of student-staff collaboration, demonstrating clear benefits for their local community. Students were empowered to engage with environmental issues and judges felt this approach to be replicable for other conservation contexts.

What it Means to Win

“At UCSI University, sustainability has always been about the grassroots. More and more of our students getting involved in outreach initiatives, peer support, refugee aid, environmental conservation, disaster relief and community organising. We are heartened to see them stepping up to become the change they seek. And we know that the good work they do today will lay the groundwork for greater undertakings in life, not only for themselves, but for the communities they will serve.”

Professor Datuk Ir Ts Dr Siti Hamisah Binti Tapsir, Vice-Chancellor

Top 3 Learnings

  1. We empowered youth to be part of a kind of change that is so crucial now.
  2. We saw youth realizing that they were contributing as individuals to a wider cause.
  3. We see how a multi-stakeholder organisation such as RCE Kuching can engage for change within their communities.
4 - Quality Education 6 - Clean Water and Sanitation 14 - Life Below Water 17 - Partnerships for the Goals
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