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International Experiences With Environment Youth Corps: Lessons From Lesotho
The original concept for an Environment Youth Corps (EYC) dates back to the 1930s and the days of the Great Depression in the United States of America. Since the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro and implementation of Agenda 21, the concept has been revived and introduced into various developing and emerging market countries. This article reviews the main approaches adopted and presents the Lesotho Environment Youth Corps as a case study of potential relevance to other developing countries, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa, specifically focusing on key components and problematic issues, including: funding, public commitment and sustainability through compensation and income-generation. Two of the major challenges to the sustainability of environment youth corps in developing countries are: how to ensure lasting government interest and commitment to continue funding;
and how to maintain the commitment of the young people and their local communities. The
paper concludes that, despite initial teething problems, the EYC concept is a valid and useful
approach in addressing a variety of environmental and social issues, and has proven itself to be a worthwhile model for engaging youth, generating employment and environmental concerns; a concept worthy of replication and local adaptation in many developing countries.
Journal of Environmental Extension Vol. 7 2008: pp. 1-9