Ambassador: Joseph Sarvary , Paraguay
As Deputy Director of Fundacion Para La Tierra, Joseph co-founded Voces de la Naturaleza in late 2015 as a forum to teach children and adults about the environment. In August 2018, the Foundation was running nine eco-clubs in six communities, teaching 150 children about the natural world each week. It had also hosted five seasonal winter camps to reach more than 250 children in communities that did not yet have access to regular club meetings.
By April 2019, Voces de la Naturaleza had expanded to reach 390 children through 26 weekly eco-clubs operating in eight different departments of Paraguay. The seasonal summer and winter camps have now reached over 600 children.
Paraguay has one of the worst early education systems in the world, being ranked 136th out of 138 countries in quality of primary education by the World Economic Forum. Joseph and his team recognised the need to focus on primary school aged children, and so they started the Voces de la Naturaleza (Voices of Nature) programme to help educate children on the importance of nature and the environment. By creating a network of ‘Eco-Clubs’, the Foundation uses environmental education to encourage young people to champion the cause and become community leaders through their activism. The programme has been built on a belief that there is no age-restriction on taking action. In the final stage of their programme the students, aged 7-12, organise, advertise and execute their own event to address environmental issues in their own communities. High school students volunteer to help manage these clubs, furthering their own leadership development. Fundación Para La Tierra has also undertaken women’s empowerment projects, such as providing a women’s committee with a chicken coop and 100 chicks that they could raise and then sell on as a sustainable income revenue.
Joseph was awarded the Mary Robinson Climate Justice Award in 2017, which enabled him to attend the 2017 Bogotá Summit and granted his foundation £5,000. This grant was provided over the period of a year and helped the eco-clubs to reach new locations and procure more resources to further their work.