Celebrating the Accomplishments of our 2022 Fellowship Program GranteesJanuary 10, 2023
Last year, Bow Seat and the Future Blue Youth Council (FBYC) launched the inaugural Fellowship Grant Program, a by-youth, for-youth initiative that provides funding and mentorship to young people who are addressing water-related challenges in their local communities.
Students ages 13-19 worldwide were invited to propose new or emerging projects that meet the program goals of educating the public about a water-related problem, engaging others in activities to address the issue, and advocating for creative and realistic solutions. Seven grantees representing six countries–India, Mongolia, Poland, Sri Lanka, the United States, and Zimbabwe–were selected to join the first Fellowship cohort. Each grantee was awarded between $280-$1,000 USD, for a total of $5,385, and was paired with FBYC members who provided ongoing mentorship and support throughout the year.
Bow Seat and the FBYC were thrilled to collaborate with these inspiring and passionate young leaders, who are taking action on a variety of critical issues such as plastic pollution, marine debris, water scarcity and contamination. Here are some of the successes achieved by the Fellowship grantee projects:
Udayan Saha (16), India
Udayan created murals on the walls around an unused water temple to instill in the community a renewed pride in their water heritage, and to inspire them to take ownership of the water temple’s future upkeep.
- Collaborated with village elders to educate local high school students and children about the history of water temples and water conservation;
- Engaged a local artist and village children in the mural project;
- Was touted by government authorities as a role model for sustainably rejuvenating other abandoned water bodies in the Himalayan region.
Ishan Kapur (16), India
Ishan helped to organize plastic bag collection drives, then employed marginalized women to crochet the plastic bags into weatherproof, clean, and easy-to-carry sleeping mats for the housing-insecure.
- Collected 45,000 single-use plastic bags through collection drives organized by volunteers in 10 residential colonies in New Delhi;
- Created and distributed nearly 60 sleeping mats;
- Generated employment for marginalized women, helping to support 25+ families.
Siddharth Jha (16), Sri Lanka
Siddharth educated and engaged local students about marine pollution through beach clean-ups and public awareness campaigns.
- Conducted 3 beach clean-ups, which engaged 100+ volunteers and collected 770 kgs (1,700 lbs) of plastic and urban waste;
- Educated community members about marine biodiversity in Sri Lanka and the dangers of plastic pollution through a new website and posters.
Charmaine Mupara (16) and Thelma Faith Sithole (16), Zimbabwe
To address climate-induced water scarcity in their community, Charmaine and Thelma dug harvesting pits to collect rainwater, and planted fruit trees inside the pits to ensure food security for local school children.
- Dug 50 water harvesting pits and planted 50 trees;
- Educated local students about sanitation and hygiene issues through workshops and posters.
Youth Movement for Earth-Friendly Citizens (YMEFC): Anu-Ujin Khurelbaatar (18), Tseenyam Davaasuren (16), Nomin Enkhbayar (16), and Namuun Enkhbayar (16), Mongolia
YMEFC conducted a public awareness campaign to educate community residents about contamination issues related to the location and incorrect usage of pit latrines (toilets), which affects their only water source.
- Posted soil- and water-related information on Facebook, as well as promoted local low- and zero-waste brands to encourage sustainable living;
- Hosted educational podcasts on living sustainably;
- Conducted environmental workshops for local students and families;
- Reached more than 150,000 people.
Zuzanna Witek (15), Poland
Zuzanna addressed the lack of ocean literacy educational materials available to Polish schools by developing lesson plans that combine science, art, and the humanities.
- Recruited and trained new team members/interns;
- Created the first version of their ocean literacy textbook, Our Thriving Ocean;
- Doubled the enrollment in their online courses;
- Endorsed by UNESCO as an Official Ocean Decade Activity.
Elane Kim (16), California, USA
Elane aimed to raise awareness of and inspire action around climate change through a youth-driven online anthology, culminating in a virtual open mic.
- Set up their website for submissions;
- Encouraged youth participation through social media and outreach to local schools;
- Began posting recordings of contributors’ readings on their website and YouTube channel as a soft launch of the virtual open mic.
We are so proud of the impacts that our first cohort of Fellowship grantees have made, and of their hard work and dedication to making their communities safer and more sustainable. We and the 2023 Future Blue Youth Council look forward to welcoming new Fellowship grantees this year, with improvements to the program that will help it to better address the needs of our Bow Seat community. If you are a Bow Seat alumni who is interested in developing a project that addresses a water-related challenge in your community, visit our website to find out how you can participate in the Fellowship Grant Program!