Nafla Binte Mohamed Yousuf, 22, former participant, current organiser.
Chili Padi Academy
Why did you create this innovation?
The current approach to the climate crisis is one that is focused strongly on coming up with “solutions”– neglecting the social and emotional aspect of change, such as changing people and the way that we relate to each other. Presently lacking in the conversation is a focus on how to build up collective capacity for mutual care and support, which then enables individuals to make meaningful change.
How does your innovation work in practice?
We use the head-heart-hand methodology, via a month-long accelerator where participants acquire practical skills like theories and critical thinking (head). We emphasise the need to pair knowledge with Social Emotional Learning (heart), which is worked into every part of the process. This manifests in our uniquely curated curriculum where we facilitate challenging conversations relating to personal identity, environmental justice and privilege. We intentionally hold space for vulnerability, enabling participants to build relationships with each other, and come to a deeper ontological understanding. Finally, this culminates in an action-oriented approach (hand) as participants kickstart a self-designed environmental project in their local communities. This allows them to take ownership of their learning, and embark on transformative personal journeys. The continuity of projects post-CPA and alumni returning as organisers reflects the value that CPA has given to its participants.
How has it been spreading?
As a Southeast-Asia community, we evolved from initially 3 to now 4 countries. Over 5 cycles, we have reached out to more than 100 youths, with around 10-16 senior high school participants and 7-12 youth organisers each cycle. Although our numbers remain modest, we strongly believe in the intimacy of a small community. Additionally, we believe our impact scales outwards-participants educate their local communities on environmental issues, and many former participants and organisers continue to working on environmental and social issues even after CPA. Our goals for the next 2-3 years is to improve our organisational structure and plan for longer-term sustainability. We will continually improve on the accelerator programme, and consider adding more SEA countries to the mix.
If I want to try it, what should I do?
We strongly believe that any organisation or learning community can incorporate social emotional learning and principles into their work. CPA is just one example of that. If you want to find out more about how to do this, or even get involved and partner with us, please refer to our website or email us at email@example.com.
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