Youth Activism For A Better World

Today, there are 1.8 billion people between the ages of 10-24 and close to 90 percent of them live in developing countries. These numbers are expected to grow. 1.9 billion young people are projected to turn 15 between 2015 and 2030. It’s important that young people mobilize to realize the change they want in the world. In today’s context, many youth are concerned and informed citizens who can advocate for change and youth activism is increasing rapidly.

An activist can be described as person who strongly believes in political or social change, takes part in activities to try and make this happen. They step up to do something about an issue they are passionate about, instead of merely complaining about the problem or waiting for someone else to take action.
So whether you’re passionate about climate change, lack of awareness around certain diseases, animal welfare or even policies that affect you, you can take small actions to do something about it. But if you do need a push to get started, here are three young people who will inspire you to work towards your cause.

Malala Yousafzai

In 2014, Malala Yousafzai became the youngest person in history to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize – at the age of 17. She is known around the world for defying the Taliban in Pakistan by demanding that girls should be allowed to receive an education. Due to this, she was shot by a Taliban gunman while on a school bus.
After surviving, her passion didn’t waver. She went on to become an activist for young girls and women everywhere. Through the Malala Fund which was established with her father, she campaigned for girls to recieve an education. Today, she’s a student at University of Oxford, and continues to balance her studies and foundation work. She showed us that it is sometimes the voice of a young girl from a marginalized community which can be the much-needed spark for large scale global change.

Xuihtezcatl Roske-Martinez

Roske-Martinez is a prominent youth activist on climate change, who has started campaigning at the age of six. He made a powerful speech at the United Nations in 2015. He was just fifteen years old at the time and his speech became famous on social media. He talked about the world’s inability to take meaningful action on climate change.
He works as the Youth Director of Earth Guardians, a worldwide conservation organization that he founded. Through this platform he has travelled around the world, educating young people and inspiring them to take action. He has also worked towards getting pesticides out of parks. Moreover, he is one of the 21 people who have sued the US Federal Government for failing to act on climate change.

Greta Thunberg

Sixteen year old Greta Thunberg has motivated students across the globe, inspiring them to take greater action on climate change.
At the age of eight, she first learned about climate change and was shocked that adults did not appear to be taking the issue seriously. It was one of the reasons that led to her depression a few years later.
In 2018, she started skipping school and sat outside the Swedish Parliament demanding for their policies to fall in line with the Paris Climate Agreement. She inspired strikes all around the world and wasn’t afraid to challenge the status quo. In March 2019, she was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. Now that she is active on climate, she is no longer lonely, silent or depressed. She is too busy trying to make a difference.





Read More →


Extraordinary Jobs You Never Knew Existed

For most college students, the ultimate goal is to score a well-paid job. A college degree will put you on the direct path to a certain career. But not everyone wants to fill the obvious roles we hear about growing up, such as doctor, lawyer or engineer. The future isn’t as clear-cut for some people.
Maybe you want to go to med school, but don’t necessarily want to be a doctor. Maybe you love maps or crosswords, but aren’t sure how to incorporate that passion into a career. Or perhaps you still haven’t found something that sounds appealing for you. All of us have a dream job, whether it’s in sports, science or entertainment, it seems there’s always some days we would rather be somewhere else.
Here’s a look at some lesser-known opportunities or jobs that will spark your imagination.

Waterslide tester
This is probably the best summer job ever. Waterslide testers are required to travel around the world and ride on exhilarating chutes, flumes and slides. Afterwards, the rides are rated on two factors, ‘Biggest Splash’ and ‘Adrenaline Factor’. The job requires willingness to travel and comfort in swimsuits. All the expenses are covered.
Sebastian Smith was selected from 2000 applicants to be the first waterslide tester and he travelled around the globe to test and review on slides and venues.


Netflix Tagger
The job of a ‘Netflix Tagger’ involves watching around 16-20 hours of TV and movies per week. They objectively watch and tag what they see as various genres. This then goes into the Netflix algorithm which will recommend what to watch next. This will help Netflix users to search for shows more easily. Employees must sign a non-disclosure agreement which prohibits revealing the exact amount they are paid. However, this rare position is awarded to 40 people worldwide.


Professional Sleeper
This job is usually done as part of a greater study. People are paid to sleep and aid scientific study. Doctors study the brain and other activities of the body while the human body is asleep. Apart from this, a professional sleeper helps various other organizations like mattress makers, various artists, hoteliers and hospitals by sleeping and sharing their feedback and experiences. The pay is highly dependent on the employee.
In 2013, NASA paid people $18,000 to stay in bed for 70 days as a part of a study, while an art gallery paid women $10 per hour to publicly sleep as part of an exhibit.


Crossword Puzzle Maker
We can find crosswords in nearly every newspaper that has been around for decades. The people who create these puzzles often start off as freelance writers or editors. It requires an excellent knowledge of language and the target audience should be understood. Most constructors work on a freelance basis, on a ‘per puzzle payment plan’. Crossword puzzle makers often have other writing jobs on the side.


Packaging Engineer
They are responsible for the development of effective packaging models for the organization. For this, a variety of tools and software applications are used in order to create packaging that fits the requirements. Three common activities that packaging engineers engage in are: New Product Development, Cost saving initiatives and Firefighting and Damage control. Packaging Engineers address many issues and opportunities that have a direct impact on the bottom line of a business.

Read More →


Sustainable Development Goals : Relevance to Sri Lanka

On September 25th, 2015, 193 countries adopted a set of goals under the United Nations supervision to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all as part of a new sustainable development agenda. These are called the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) or Global Goals. Each of these goals consists of targets that ought to be achieved by each participating country by 2030.
Here’s a look at the relevance and implementation of SDGs in Sri Lankan context.

Having overcome a three decade long terrorist conflict, Sri Lanka has begun to transform towards a sustainable and resilient society. The poverty rate has dropped to 4.1% in 2016 and the country is on the verge of reaching upper middle income status with a per capita GDP of USD 4060 in 2017. Unemployment rate has remained below 5% for the last seven years.
Free education and health policies have resulted in high life expectancy (75 years) and high youth literacy rate (98.7%). As a result, UN has recognized Sri Lanka among ‘high human development’ achieved countries.
The government’s Vision 2025 that provides the overall vision and the Public Investment program, the three year rolling plan align significantly with SDGs. The National Budget 2018 focused on a ‘Blue Green Economy’ to create an eco-friendly environment where everyone can co-exist harmoniously.

Main challenges and areas of progress

Multi-dimensional Poverty Index (MPI) was 1.9% in 2012/13 which reflects a reduction in poverty. However, poverty pockets exist throughout the country and disparities can be observed among districts.

Maternal mortality and neonatal mortality have decreased remarkably. Population aging and increase of non-communicable diseases can be identified as challenges. Health policy 2016-2025 addresses issues in financing, regulations and primary healthcare.

Sri Lanka has achieved high youth literacy rate, school enrollment and primary education completion. Improving the quality and relevance of education, increasing access to higher and vocational education, standardizing non-state education remain as challenges.

 Gender equality
Sri Lanka has a rank of 73 out of 188 countries in the Gender inequality index. Gender inequalities can be observed in labour force participation and political representation. Regulations have been introduced to facilitate women to balance work with their family responsibilities. Further, the women’s share in local authorities has been increased through legislation.

Water and Sanitation
Around 89.5% of the population has access to safe drinking water. However, disparities exist among regions and there are issues on quality and quantity of drinking water.
87% of the population possesses onsite sanitation facilities. Providing facilities to the rest and wastewater in urban centers and industrial areas can be seen as challenges.

Sri Lanka has over 98% coverage of domestic electricity supply. 53% of total primary energy supply is accounted for by renewable sources. Rising dependency on imports and cost of energy can be viewed as challenges.

Sri Lanka has tremendous potential for tourism thanks to its geographical location and the countless attractions within a relatively small area. Annual tourist arrivals have increased significantly during the last ten years. A transformation in the tourism strategy is needed for its sustainability.

Natural resources
Sri Lanka is one of the world’s 35 biodiversity hotspots. However, a considerable number of species are threatened species. Deforestation has become and challenge due to increased demand for land. Solutions have been identifies in the National Biodiversity Strategic Action Plan.

The government seeks to build a peaceful, reconciled and prosperous Sri Lanka based on a three-pillar strategy of strengthening democracy, reconciliation and economic development, with the participation of all stakeholders, as reflected in the Peace building Priority Plan.


Read More →


Coca-Cola ‘Give Back Life’ for a World Without Waste

In January 2018, the Coca-Cola Company made a pledge and commitment to the world, that by 2030, Coca-Cola would collect and recycle the equivalent of every bottle or can that is produced. Globally, Coca-Cola is working with many partners to achieve its target of a ‘World Without Waste’. In Sri Lanka, Coca-Cola is achieving this through its ‘Give Back Life’ campaign for PET packaging with the support of its partners across Local Governments, NGOs, civil society groups, youth organizations, and its valued customers.
Polyethylene terephthalate, commonly abbreviated as PET or PETE, is any plastic with the number ‘1’ in the recycling logo on the package. It is commonly used for water, cooking oil, dish wash, shampoo products, other beauty, and personal care products and biscuit trays.

Coca-Cola Beverages Sri Lanka Ltd. (CCBSL) is committed to achieving high volumes of PET plastic recycling in Sri Lanka through waste management solutions for PET plastic both at national and local levels.
‘Give Back Life’ promotes individual responsibility in the waste disposal and recycling and highlights the importance of community-led sustainable initiatives in post-consumed PET recovery, recycling, and waste management practices. Coca- Cola has successfully led large-scale PET collection drives through community-led volunteerism throughout the country.

Coca-Cola launched it’s first ‘Give Back Life’ PET plastic collection center in Delgoda in line with World Environment Day 2019. The project enhanced the capacity of the Biyagama Pradeshiya Sabha to collect more PET plastic more efficiently. The selling of the PET plastic on a per KG basis provided a sustainable and additional channel of income generation for the Society of Sanitary Workers under the Biyagama Pradeshiya Sabha who managed the project.
More than once, Coca-Cola has collaborated with Sri Lanka Cricket to collect and recycle thousands of PET plastic bottles at cricket stadiums in Galle, Colombo, Kandy, and Dambulla. The campaign encourages people to give new life to their PET bottles through a recycling process that converts them into clothing, shoes, brushes, and brooms, thereby adding value by preserving our unique environment and creating new livelihoods.

Coca-Cola is a National Partner of AIESEC Sri Lanka and both the organizations have worked closely in implementing this campaign. AIESEC Sri Lanka can resonate with this campaign since it is an organization that actively involves in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Coca-Cola has addressed many events including National Conferences hosted by AIESEC Sri Lanka to create awareness about the ‘Give Back Life’ campaign and sustainability among the youth.

In a recent event, Coca-Cola Beverages Sri Lanka Ltd. Country Public Affairs, Communications, and Sustainability Manager, Lakshan Madurasinghe said “We are increasing the number of locations where our ‘Give Back Life’ collection bins are located for the convenience of the public to dispose of post-consumer PET plastic. In turn, increasing the motivation to hold onto PET plastic bottles until it can be disposed of appropriately. We are working towards achieving this behavioral shift for all Sri Lankans to no longer litter the country but do their part in preserving our unique environment and facilitating a better and cleaner society for everyone”
‘Give Back Life’ campaign for PET collection and recycling also drives community mobilization through its multi-stakeholder, volunteer clean-ups and collection programs.
It continues to drive locally the Coca-Cola Company’s global ‘World Without Waste’ Goal. This goal is the centerpiece of the company’s new packaging vision in Sri Lanka.

Read More →


Unilever Sparks: An Opportunity of a Lifetime

Recognized as the No. 1 employer in the nation, Unilever Sri Lanka reaffirms its commitment to empowering the country’s future business leaders through launching Unilever Sparks, a student ambassador program for undergraduate students, for the sixth consecutive year.

The ‘Sparks’ program is an ambassadorship that will serve as an opportunity for students to act as a liaison between Unilever Sri Lanka and their respective university it is designed to allow students to exhibit their strength as leaders in their institution by being ambassadors of Unilever. The program looks to enhance the pioneering spirit and skills of talented Sri Lankan youth, inspiring them to be forces of positive influence amongst their peers. Furthermore, it will recognize the top young talent from the country who have the passion to Want More, Do More and Contribute More, to become great leaders who act as agents of positive change in their respective fields.

Unilever has always been and continues to be committed to developing leaders for itself, for the industry and for society. In 2012, Unilever Sri Lanka joined hands with AIESEC Sri Lanka as a Premium Partner. Through the partnership, Unilever aims to groom potential talent by helping them enhance the skills required in the corporate world and the partnership between the two organizations has become stronger this year more than ever. AIESEC and Unilever share a common passion for developing leaders, so it continues to be a promising partnership. Unilever is always looking to build stronger bonds with potential first career recruits through numerous networking and social initiatives and these initiatives have led to Unilever being selected as the Employer of choice amongst undergraduates in both local and foreign universities.

Offering invaluable real-world exposure, the ‘Sparks’ program allows the student ambassadors to build relationships with seasoned industry professionals and like-minded students, thereby allowing them to expand their professional network even before they enter the workforce. This guidance and exposure will help the students to develop themselves in key areas such as negotiation, stakeholder management, and team-working skills. Thus the ‘Sparks’ program gives a significant boost to the employability of the undergraduate students while giving them the opportunity to be fast-tracked into a career at Unilever.

Commenting on his ‘Sparks’ experience, Hashan Rahubaddha from the University of Moratuwa said, “Being directly exposed to the working culture of Unilever through the Sparks program helped me to enhance my skills and competencies while expanding my network.
Expressing similar sentiments, Sparks student ambassador Yasasi Bandaranayake from the University of Kelaniya noted, “Being a student ambassador for Unilever was one of the greatest milestones I have achieved in university life. It was a distinctive and incomparable journey that redefined me.”

Applications for the program are now open. Students from all universities across the island are invited to apply.
Application link – https://unileversl.typeform.com/to/k2cro7
For further details on Sparks log on to the Unilever Sri Lanka Careers Facebook page at www.facebook.com/UnileverCareersSriLanka.


Read More →