Xiomara Acevedo , Colombia

Xiomara founded Barranquilla+20 in 2012 as a community organisation to empower and educate young people on issues of sustainability, water rights and environmental responsibilities as a component of social justice. Barranquilla+20 is the umbrella organisation that houses a range of different environmentally conscious projects, affecting over 7,000 young people to date. One such project is the MallorquinVIVE project to restore and protect the Mallorquin wetlands. Here Xiomara and her team have engaged 50 children and their families from the local community, teaching them how to maintain the wetlands and preserve their local ecosystem for generations to come. Volunteers help the local community plant mangroves, undertake clean up operations and organise activities to learn about the local ecology and biodiversity in the Mallorquin area. Children take part in a 'water school' to learn about the importance of the natural resource and how to take care of the approximately 600 hectares of wetlands. In 2018, MallorquinVIVE hopes to launch a second phase to engage local fisherman and lobby local government institutions to strengthen conservation efforts in the area. The 'El Orinoco se adapta' project (Orinoco Adapts) promotes a gender based approach to community action on climate change adaptation in the Orinoquia region. Barranquilla+20 collaborated with the World Youth Parliament for Water to create the Latinoamerican and Caribbean Youth Parliament for Water to connect the youth from the region to work on water issues. Two Youth Parliament delegations visited the ACODAL International Conference in Cartagena, Colombia on scholarships. Barranquilla+20 also promotes the use of bicycles, formulates and lobbies for changes in policy and develops educational toolkits so that other organisations and communities can replicate their model.