On a sunny day, the beach is packed with people who come to enjoy the amazing waves, the warm sunshine, the cool breeze and the beautiful beach. However, by the time the sun has set the beach is usually completely covered in garbage because leaving garbage on the beach, throwing garbage onto the streets and dumping garbage into the ocean is often culturally acceptable and commonplace in Peru. One of our biggest goals is to have clean beaches and communities in Peru by educating youth to become environmental leaders who will then lead the environmental conservation efforts in the future. We believe that education on a grass root level is the key to create an aware, knowledgable and involved next generation!
Our work in the community:
1. The ”Yo Cuido Mi Playa” Campaign – One Sunday each month local youth from our partner schools and projects that have received environmental education and training will join us at the beach in fun, interactive activities based on environmental education and carried out through team exercises, petition signing, competitive beach clean-ups et.c. At this event the youth of Huanchaco has the opportunity to use what they’ve learnt in the classroom and take action to work for a cleaner beach and future. This campaign is a flag ship event for the HELP Environment project and the organization as a whole, always involving both the community and many of our volunteers!
2. Trainings and Workshops - We have begun developing and carrying out trainings and educational activities to teach the children and youth in the local schools and our partner projects about the environment, pollution, and global climate change as well as how we can truly make a difference for the future of our beaches, our oceans and our planet. The youth will then be the ones to teach their peers, their families and even adults about the campaign and why protecting our environment is so important. By teaching the children and youth about relevant, local environment issues and what we can do to make it better, they’ll feel more aware and connected to global issues as well. Our hope is that the youth who participate in our workshops will then attend Yo Cuido Mi Playa, and will actively be teaching environmental awareness to others and ask them to join the change for a safe and clean Huanchaco.
3. Promoting local government schemes - Recyclable materials which are not separated but rather thrown away with the regular trash will often be sought out by the poorer population to sell to private companies for 50 cent / kilo. This task often falls on children, and is a dangerous and highly unhealthy task, with a great risk of contracting diseases. We work to promote the newly started recycling scheme in Huanchaco, by educating our partner projects about Why it is important to recycle, and how to go about to become part of the recycling scheme. This is a new and promising governmental scheme, and by promoting it and making sure they reach more households we contribute to the long term sustainability of safe recycling in Huanchaco.
Transforming perceptions and values:
We hope that our educational efforts in HELP Environment will not only make it less likely that people will throw or leave their garbage on the beach, but that they will want to leave anyplace they go a little better than how they found it. For example, anytime we go to the beach, if we see some garbage on the beach, we want to inspire and be inspired to pick up at least a few pieces before we leave. Image the results if everyone began to do this!
If you are a graduate or current university student of environmental science, biology, ecology et.c. and would like to gain more specific research experience in your field, take a look at our research position.