On the 2nd and 3rd of July, a team bonding retreat was held in Puchong as a platform for the new batch of MYD2016 to get to know one another better, and to understand the core values of being a part of the MYD family.
Our mentor, Adrian Yeo introduced the main objectives of the MYD to the new delegates, including representing the youth climate movement in Malaysia, holding our leaders accountable for their actions, seeking equity for those who are suffering from climate change impacts etc. The new delegates were convened to discuss some of the plans and strategies in the coming months, as well as analysing their personal strengths and weaknesses in order to work better as a team.
The past MYD2015 members showed their support by sharing their experiences at COP21 in Paris. Useful advice was also given to the new batch of delegates. The night ended with a barbecue session as both MYD2015 and MYD2016 members bonded over food and merry discussions. The next day after having breakfast together, the new delegates drafted a team contract and the weekend ended with a training session on fundraising.
All in all, it was a fruitful weekend as new friendships were formed and aspirations were set prior to the COP22.
Below is a group photo that was taken during the retreat. Take a look at what our new delegates of MYD2016 have to say about the retreat! 🙂
|Chang Zhun Yan||A group of like-minded youth, passionate about climate change and eager on making a difference gathered together at the MYD retreat.
It was a golden opportunity to learn more about our fellow MYD2016 teammates which I would be spending the second half of 2016 together, and contributing to climate change policies.
The retreat opened my mind to a lot of possibilities. It was interesting to know that by learning about how policies work and trying to address problems through policies, changes could be made. The changes may not be significant in the short run, but it will be impactful in the long run. I will be satisfied knowing that I had once aided in making our earth a more sustainable place to live in.
It is indeed different from the public’s usual perceptions on climate change movements. It is not your typical loud activism, but rather by making a difference through policy change.
For the upcoming months, it would be intriguing to study how effective policies are and whether expectations would end up into self-fulfilling prophecies. Admittedly, there is no one-size-fits-all solution, but at least changes are made.
We learned about fund-raising techniques, how COP operates as a whole, and I can only imagine how mentally tiring the process is for fellow leaders from all over the world. The proudest moment was when Malaysia has a few world respected climate change leaders who are not afraid to speak their mind. It is a shame that these are not featured in daily newspapers which are filled with political satire.
I realised that it is not because Malaysian youth do not care about climate change, but rather the big scale of the subject causes people to think that maybe, their help will not matter because the issue is too large to be viewed through an individual perspective.
I sincerely hope that all of us who will be working hard in the upcoming months would get a chance to attend COP22. It would be a once in a lifetime opportunity that I would never forget.
|Dulanga Nimanthie Sahabandu Witharanage||As an undergraduate studying Environmental Science and working with the UN since my childhood, I assumed that I knew what I was up against when my MYD2016 dream came true. One hour into our retreat in Puchong, I realised the knowledge I had just merely scratched the surface of the mammoth task ahead of me! From the basics of MYD to topics that stretched far out towards climate change policy, the two days were educative and fun. From ice breaking games to crammed tight schedules of learning and sharing experiences, the retreat fully achieved its purpose.
We kick-started our learning curve with a much needed introduction to the organisation itself. All confusions were then resolved when we discussed topics such as the UNFCCC, COP, fundraising and project management. Throughout the informative sessions, we were fortunate enough to get input from the MYD2015 members; their experiences and advice were well received. I personally realised there are a lot that I have to learn in the coming months.
The most important part of the retreat was meeting the members of MYD2016! The ability to work with a bunch of youth who share the same dream as you, who are inspired by the same things that inspire you is hard to find, especially when you come from a different country! And here I was, making friends and learning, sharing ideas and working towards a common objective with a bunch of individuals who made me feel that I belonged in Malaysia. The journey to Morocco had already begun, we have a lot to catch up on before we reached our destination.
|Jasmin Irisha Binti Jim Ilham||Honestly, what I learned during the two-day MYD2016 retreat was way beyond what I expected. Signing up and being chosen as one of the passionate youths of the Malaysian Youth Delegation 2016, I thought I was already somewhat partially prepared for anything climate change related i.e. COP22, having a degree in Environmental Science and being actively involved in environmental related initiatives for the past eight years. My, I was wrong.
The two-day retreat was intensive, crammed with information, facts and sharing of hands on experience by the MYD2015 cohort. From the moment we arrived at our retreat location, activities such as team bonding and group work kicked off. Even the first session on getting to know what MYD is all about has gotten the undivided attention of most of us, redefining the journey that we are embarking upon and putting things into perspective for the next four months ahead. The sessions followed by mandatory topics that we have to live by including introduction to COP, UNFCCC, project management and fundraising. I realised that I have so much to catch up on - from understanding organisational structure to policy making, as they are of unfamiliar territories to me. I have learned a lot, but I have a lot more to learn.
I would say that the best part of the retreat is meeting the rest of the MYD2016 who attended. It is such a wonderful feeling to work together with like minded youth and advocating a common goal that all of us are enthusiastically passionate about. It instills rainbows of hope within me as it empowers me to truly believe that together, we can make a change, not only for the environment, but also in our community. The retreat has truly opened my eyes and inspired me to work harder to reach our targeted objective, which is to represent the Malaysian youth voices on climate change at COP22 UNFCCC, hold the leaders accountable for a better, greener future and contribute towards climate change policy.
|Nachatira Thuraichamy||I took being part of the MYD2016 team seriously – the only problem was my limited understanding of the whole organisation and its cause. Participating in the retreat made me understand several things. The first is that the MYD is not under Power Shift Malaysia, rather they are two separate programmes among others under the umbrella of Persatuan Belia Perubahan Iklim (PBPI). I had also realised over our sessions, that the MYD2015 team had given their immense support and commitment to the cause. Already they had gently nudged us into the right direction whenever they thought we were side-tracking or getting lost.
I had also realised how important it was that we took time off to physically meet as a team and get to know each other. We had light moments over BBQ, but we had also shared personal information about ourselves, such as our strengths and weaknesses in teamwork. Each session was significant in adding another piece to the puzzle, so that the challenges and the direction that we should head towards started to take a clearer shape.
I am glad that I am on this journey with these dedicated bunch, each whom hold onto the cause with his or her own conviction. I believe this is just the start – I can’t wait to create magic together!
|Nalina Santhiran||What is MYD? I believe that was the question that was sought to be answered during the 2-day retreat that commenced on a quiet weekend just recently.
First things first, MYD stands for Malaysian Youth Delegation which is a contingency of youth on an endeavor to represent Malaysia at COP 22 in Marrakech, Morocco this year.
Perhaps the one thing that have learned through these first steps in our long metaphorical MYD marathon is that the heart and pulse of MYD lies in policy - how is it shaped to better the lives of the 7 billion populace of our world, specifically policies that govern climate change mitigation.
The retreat started off with the usual ice breaking activities that managed to remind us once again that the MYD team would be our core support in the journey to come. Thankfully, the MYD15 'veterans' were there to share their knowledge and invaluable experience with the MYD2016.
Then, under a session conducted by Mr Adrian, we discovered the standings and purpose behind MYD2016. We were allowed to clarify all our doubts, and indeed, I believe without this session we would still be rather unsure of our objectives. However, now I am certain that the MYD2016 team has formed a concrete identity out of this retreat.
Furthermore, we were also given insights as to how the next 6 months would unfold. At times, the sharing sessions got very intense and technical. We were exposed to the countless agreements and conferences that came before the Paris Agreement. Indeed albeit brief, it was a glimpse into the consensus riddled world of climate change policy making. We did get a chance to unwind and really get to know our MYD2016 family with a barbecue session. Finally, we were given the chance to map out our core foundations for the MYD2016 which included our Team Contract, as well as our potential working timeline.
Indeed, this retreat proved as a great way to build a strong bond between the members of the MYD2016 family, it is always a great feeling to be able to put a face to a name. Most importantly though, the retreat gave us a sense of realisation of the bigger picture that I know I will go back to when faced with challenges in the coming months. So, what is MYD2016, you ask? It is a family that is working towards a goal bigger than all of us, but would not be the same without us.
|Terence Aaron Anthony||There are times in life where you go out to learn something, only to realise you have more to learn about. This retreat is one of those moments in life. Prior to joining MYD2016, I thought I was well read when it comes to climate change. I thought reading climate change related policies in my international law class were sufficient for me to understand the state negotiations.
I was flat out wrong. Throughout this retreat, we were taught on the multiple NGOs involved through negotiations for COP21. The serious coordination needed between these groups, is not presented in a formal educational setting. Instead, they can only be shared by those who have been on the ground and witnessed them in action. Our batch for 2016, are lucky to have seniors who are willing to come down and extensively share their experience.
However, the most surprising thing I learned throughout would be the extent of how the youth played a role during COP21. Though the Malaysian Delegation was still new, our seniors taught us how other delegations managed to influence the demands made by their respective country’s delegates or diplomats. Their push, managed to get the perspective of the youth to be inserted into the Paris Agreements. The message is that if the average Joe like me can put in enough effort people will hear us, and enact policies on what we want, it shows how powerful our voices can be if we want to.
If anything, this retreat just shows us the tip of the iceberg on what we can do to influence the world. This session is just a demonstration on what the youth can do if we are motivated enough, and if we are permitted to do. I look forward in making my mark in climate change policies for our one and only planet Earth.
|Yong Khye Lynn||Within the 28 hours or so that it lasted for, I think intense would be the most appropriate word to describe the retreat. It was necessary in putting things into perspective for us, from ideas surrounding the main mission of the Malaysian Youth Delegation to organised plans to counter possible complication that may arise. It is fair to say that we are clearer than ever about our roles and the desired aims and outcomes where our collective efforts shall be directed to.
Moreover, bearing the advice of the MYD2015, we have gained the advantage of grasping the bigger picture, roughly knowing what to expect upon arriving at COP22, should we be given the opportunity to attend. Hopefully, this will enable us to coordinate our actions better as a whole. Tips and materials given on how to improve on policy and climate knowledge will be helpful to us in increasing our individual capacities and becoming better candidates for any challenges that await us.
The brainstorming activities such as setting the ground rules by communicating our shared values as an entity, where all decisions are consensus-based, generates a platform for all voices to be heard. Breaking issues down early is crucial on matters such as dispute settling, and with any luck, anticipating any such events on an earlier note might help us reach a solution as quickly as it arrives. By grouping a structure of morale and values, it allows and encourages flexible work flows, through helping members from other working groups for instance, makes efforts and ideas interchangeable.
I think it is also imperative to know the people whom you work with who all share a common goal on a personal level, so that you may set your relative expectations on how to work with them effectively. So, I am glad that we had the opportunity to do that through this retreat. Also, congregating like this and being in the physical presence of everyone have brought a certain awareness to the projects of other working groups that would otherwise seem slightly more indeterminate.
I thoroughly enjoyed the retreat, and no doubt the best part of getting to know the MYD family personally and with a group which is as passionate about the environment as the one in MYD, I am sure we will achieve much more together in the following months to come.