UNV and FACES Pakistan Organize “Tree Planation Drive”
Protecting the Environment through Youth Volunteering

To mark the International Youth Day 2015, FACES Pakistan, a non-profit organization working for the emancipation and empowerment of the underprivileged groups in the society organizeda Tree Plantation Drive in collaboration with United Nations Volunteers Pakistan. This event was held at Shahdarah Reserve Forest where youth from various educational and religious institutions participated and planted 200 saplings. Besides, people from all walks of life including teachers, religious leaders, development sector experts,social activists and dignitaries from the respective government departmentalso took part in the tree plantation drive to express their commitment to environmental sustainability and a greener Pakistan. Representatives from WWF Pakistan, Government of Punjab Forest Department and Telenor Pakistan were also present at the occasion.

FACES Pakistan has worked in collaboration with the United Nations Volunteers in the past in order to inspire and spur change within society. Similarly this ‘Tree Plantation Drive’ was also organized to protect the environment through volunteerism and to encourage youth involvement and further consolidate the values of environmental protection and sustainable development. Engaging youth in organized efforts to promote environmental sustainability has significant implications as the earth today bears the brunt of rapidly increasing pollution and the deteriorating state of environment needs to be addressed immediately. This is why UNV and FACES Pakistan’s Tree Plantation Drive is an opportunity to realize the significance of caring for the earth and also a call to urge the youth to become agents of change.

While speaking on the occasion, President FACES Pakistan Mr. Javaid William said, “FACES Pakistan holds values of volunteerism and environmental protection in high esteem. Pakistan is a country abundantly embedded with the ideas and values of volunteerism”.

General Secretary FACES Pakistan, Ms. Elaine Alam appreciated the UNV’s role in motivating and engaging youth in volunteerism and said, “Volunteerism is the key to foster development in all aspects. Therefore, youth must be provided certain forums and platforms through which they can work together for environmental restoration as the industrial sprawl is posing great threats to the environment. We focused on supporting volunteerism in a way that makes each volunteer from all ages and walks of life to feel proud of their contribution and value what they have done for their environment and country”.

Elaine Alam also added that,“the Shahdra Reserve Forest is indeed a remarkable initiative with 600 acres of land dedicated to plantation near the landfill site of Mehmood Booti to deal with the environmental and health hazards. There is a lack of stature of institutionalized volunteerism and FACES Pakistan has been playing its part to make up for the shortcomings present within the country”.

Mr. Aktarud Din, Programme Officer, UNV Pakistan was also present at the event and shared his viewsregarding the event and its significance, “Anumber of environmental risks and hazards disproportionately affect young people, who have to live for an extended period with the deteriorating environment bequeathed to them by earlier generations. It is therefore essential to engage young people in new forms of action and activism that will generate effective responses to ecological challenges”.
Dignitaries who graced the occasion with their presence included Chairman Peace and Harmony Network Pakistan (PHNP) PirAllama Muhammad Zubair Abid, Justice (Retd.) JamshedRehmatullah, Manager Corporate Partnership and Fundraising Mr. Sharjeel Farooq Malik from WWF Pakistan and NatiqaNadeem from Telenor Pakistan among others.
FACES Pakistan extended its gratitude to all the worthy guests, participants and the youth and appreciated Government of Punjab Forest Department’s valuable support as a strong valued partner in making this event possible. Telenor Pakistan’s support in amassing the youth volunteers and WWF Pakistan’s role in creating awareness regarding environmental protection and sustainability was also highly appreciated.

Kashif Nawab