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What issues do young people care about? 
Posted by : Jodie Velarde
A group of young people standing in a park, holding litter pickers in the air

St Andrew's Eco-warriors!

Since 2021, over 41,000 young people aged 7-14 have taken action as part of a global education programme designed by Global Action Plan and delivered in the UK, Thailand and Chile by local delivery partners working with young people.

Unlike many programmes and activities within the education system, Dirt Is Good is designed to hand over the reins to young people all the way from project design, topic focus and methods to take action, to empower young changemakers for life. Handing control over to young people and allowing them to have complete freedom like this has had transformative effects on young people themselves, improving confidence, leadership skills and compassionate thinking towards other people and the planet.

"We developed confidence in sharing our opinions. By creating a welcoming atmosphere, we felt confident to share the topics that we feel passionate about," - Student at Devonport High School for Girls, UK. 

““The safe space that Dirt Is Good creates makes me feel comfortable to step out of my comfort zone and cancel all of my mistrust mindsets. This space makes me think that I can be myself and become a leader without fearing being judged by other people,” - Student from Chiang Mai Dirt Is Good Bootcamp, Thailand. 

The programme has also given us some rich insights into what young people actually care about. On the Dirt Is Good website, young people can explore and go on to select which Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) they would like to focus on. From data gathered through the website over the past 3 years, here are the Top 5 SDGs that young people have chosen to focus on from the UK, Thailand and Chile: 

1. SDG3, Good Health and Wellbeing

We have seen some touching stories from young people choosing to focus on mental health projects in the UK in line with SDG3 Good Health and Wellbeing, as well as boosting wellbeing and connection after the Coronavirus Pandemic in Chile.  

2. SDG 13, Climate Action 

For SDG13 Climate Action, young people have carried out activities from litter picks in the UK to coral reef conservation projects in Thailand.  

3. SDG 15, Life on Land 

For SDG 15 Life on Land, projects have touched on bee conservation in Chile and creating school gardens by upcycling materials in the UK.

4. SDG 11, Sustainable Cities and Communities 

SDG 11 Sustainable Cities and Communities has seen projects including rooftop garden development in Thailand and establishing school recycling points in Chile.  

5. SDG 2, No Poverty  

SDG2 No Poverty has been linked to stories tackling homelessness and hunger and supporting local communities in the UK. 

It is clear to see that young people care deeply about wellbeing, climate change impacts and their local communities.  It’s inspiring to see so many young changemakers empowered to take action for the good of people and planet, and use skills learned from the programme to create change in their communities.  


If you would like to know more about Transform Our World programmes or resources, or to express your interest in applying for our Youth Panel, please get in touch by completing the form below.

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