BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – The United Nations International Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has named 12-year-old environmental advocate Maria Marshall as its youngest Youth Advocate in the Eastern Caribbean.
UNICEF Representative in the Eastern Caribbean Area, Dr. Aloys Kamuragiye, said that the Barbadian joins 18-year-old environmental advocate and photographer Russell Raymond of Dominica as the newest UNICEF Youth Advocates from the sub-region.
They will join another Barbadian climate advocate, Ashley Lashley, along with Priyanka Lalla of Trinidad and Tobago, as youth advocates in a program in which a select group of young people from all over the world, usually between the ages of 17 and 19, seek solutions for everyday problems, especially those that affect the youth.
“My message is: we only have one environment, and we must protect it,” said Marshall, adding, “my goal is that I want to use social media to spread the message that the environment is important and that we need to protect it, and that climate change is real.”
Marshall has worked with UNICEF on various advocacy initiatives, including World Children’s Day 2020 and Youth Activate Talk Series.
She has produced an award-winning short film, Little Thoughts on Big Matters. Also, She has a YouTube channel of the same name and an Instagram page to share information and provide commentary on the need to protect and preserve the environment.
Raymond said it was an honor to be given the title and promised to use his skills in photography to make a difference.
Dr. Kamuragiye said that the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has widened the gap between the have-nots, which existed even before the pandemic, and “we are at the crossroads regarding our children’s future.”
He said amid the challenges, efforts must be redoubled to build a brighter future for young people and be active participants in that process.