Empowering Youth + Protecting Fresh Water in Bogotá

The theme of this year’s World Water Week meeting — currently underway in Stockholm — is “Water in an Urbanizing World.” Read more posts about World Water Week here.

This past June, CI’s visual storytelling team traveled to Bogotá, Colombia, to film a story about the fascinating and critical natural freshwater ecosystems that serve the city’s more than 8 million people. During our trip, we met Danilo Ochoa, an impressive young man who is helping to revive some of the natural freshwater sources in Bogotá’s surrounding hills. Lessons learned from his own life experiences prompted him to become a youth leader in his community and encourage other young people to get involved in conservation.

Danilo’s early years were not easy. He was involved with gangs and watched friends go in and out of hospitals from drug addiction and other street evils. This hardcore lifestyle eventually became too much, and Danilo found a new path. Always having a passion for the environment, Danilo began working with Conservation International and applied some of his best talents — graffiti art and rap — as conservation awareness tools. In addition, he has organized diverse groups of volunteers to clean up the creeks and forests behind his neighborhood.

This work continues to grow, and as you can see in the video below, has been very successful for not only conserving Bogotá’s precious water resources, but also keeping kids off the street.

I hope you find Danilo’s story as inspiring as I did. It really shows how a community can thrive by protecting its environment.

Rebecca Field is video production coordinator on CI’s communications team.

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