KATS: Barbados (SIDS)

Introducing KATS: Barbados (SIDS)

Empowering marginalised young people through citizen science community-based learning focussed on global challenges in Small Island Developing States (SIDS): Barbados.

There is no other group of nations more vulnerable to the devastating effects of climate change than Small Island Developing States (SIDS). They are amongst the earliest and most impacted countries around the world owing to the threat of sea-level rise, storm surges and coastal erosion, despite contributing less than 1% of global carbon emissions. These vulnerabilities are further exacerbated by ongoing socio-economic challenges including geographic remoteness and vulnerability to external economic shocks, further inhibit SIDS’ ability to pursue and achieve their Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The KATS team is actively partnering with SIDS institutions to tackle global challenges.

KATS goes International

In November 2022, the KATS team delivered our first international KATS programme in Barbados, a small island developing state that is most vulnerable to the affects of climate change. Professor Pauline Dixon, Elle Young and Dr Andrea Wilkinson delivered a tailored programme for SIDS with a diverse group of young from a variety of socio-economic backgrounds at multiple sites across the country. Through an innovative educational approach, the programme amplified young people’s voices on climate change issues in Barbados, and empowered them to become citizen scientists, researchers, data analysts, reporters and active citizens within their own communities.

Over the course of a week, the KATS team visited three locations: Providence Elementary School, Eco Kids Club and Haynesville Community Centre, reaching over 60 children (aged 8-12) in total. The children initially explored the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through interactive activities in groups, focussing on three SDGs – Climate Action (SDG 13), Life Below Water (SDG 14) and Life on Land (SDG 15). Joined by Dr. Olivia Ryder from Kids Making Sense, children learned about citizen science and were encouraged to become the eyes within their communities by carrying out experiments using weather sensors and mobiles. Children applied their knowledge of Barbados’ climate issues and became ‘Weather Experts’ by collecting, analysing and reporting data to their peers on their location’s temperature, humidity and windspeed. The after-school project with disadvantaged students from Haynesville Community Centre, enabled children to experience first-hand Barbados’ marine biodiversity through virtual reality (VR) headsets.

Championing #ClimateAction

In all locations, children became news anchors by reporting on the ‘KATS Global Network’, where they interviewed each other in groups, using camcorders, microphones and directors’ props, to highlight their own community’s issues around the environment, climate, biodiversity, water and pollution. By taking control of the narrative, it encouraged the children to raise their voice and speak directly to world leaders about how climate change has impacted their lives.

KATS: Barbados has been the first of the programmes to be delivered internationally and the integral first step in enabling young people to pass on the torch of knowledge of climate issues and mobilise a global network of climate superheroes. The KATS project will continue to be accelerated internationally, empowering young people across the world to work together to take climate action.

The next stop is New Delhi, India in 2023, in collaboration with the Water Security Hub and the Janya Collective so watch this space.