The power of growing collective knowledge from Cuban youth

The Recrear – CYEN participatory research project has brought together a group of ten young leaders/researchers whose energy and creative spirit is mesmerizing.

During our first week together at the Teatro de los Elementos in Cumanayagua we came up with a group “constitution” about how we want to respect each other and work together.

One of the mottos of our team is, “Don’t just reflect on things and events in your life or around you, but take action!” Then you learn that, yes, you are capable. You start to believe in yourself and your actions lead you to further reflections and insights about the world and social relations.

Youth workshop

Youth workshop

In this process of drafting our constitution we were reminded that our actions affect others and that we can make a meaningful contribution to social change. We are obligated to live and enjoy life to the fullest. Live in the present! Move about and experience life so that you begin to think for yourself, learn on your own by touching, feeling, tasting, smelling and watching the world around you.

The Recrear-CYEN participatory research project is being done by, not for, local youth, meaning that they constantly influence and direct the entire research process.

We are setting the tone for a research project in which everyone involved will be learning together, as well as developing and sharing participatory research techniques. In the process, we hope to form a network of young leaders around Cuba. The vision is that this will be the spark inspiring further youth involvement in environmental research and advocacy.

For me, this research has value because as youth we need to expand our collective knowledge about and for the natural environment, and our adaptive capacities. This way we can empower ourselves to manage changes and uncertainties in our own ecosystems.

It is our fundamental right to participate in research, design, implementation and evaluation of climate change adaptation initiatives and policies. We are the ones, after all, who are inheriting the environmental changes and hazards brought about or intensified by global warming.

– Desirae, Research Assistant, Recrear

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