Youth leadership development on environmental issues and community health
An Ecoclub is an independent, youth-led and self-governing initiative within the community. It promotes activities to improve the quality of life, contributes to the welfare of society, environmental preservation and sustainable local development.
Its mission is to improve the quality of life for people within the community through their active participation in solving environmental problems.
They are leaders who identify, intervene and solve problems through active participation and involving the entire community: family, authorities, local and national organizations.
Beginning of the process
The Panamerican Health Organization / World Health Organization (PAHO / WHO), through the United States – Mexico Border Office (USMBO), in early 2010 considered important and useful the formation of Ecoclubs along the border, starting in the community of El Chamizal in El Paso, TX.
There were several meetings with organizations working in the community and young people interested. At the end, the Ecoclub was formed with three branches to which they were helped in their organization, identification of environmental problems in the Chamizal and selection of the topics to be addressed.
During this process the Ecoclub members took their own decisions about what issues to address. The role of PAHO/WHO was to provide advice and seed money was provided for work materials and other inputs identified as necessary for the initiation of activities.
Beside El Paso, others Ecoclubs were formed in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico and Las Cruces, New Mexico.
Keys for success
1. Each Ecoclub selected the problem on which they want to work. Adults support, accompany, give advice and train, but do not impose.
2. All Ecoclubs have organizations that act as facilitators in the process, technical and material support in the development of its activities
3. The Ecoclubs are not alone; they belong to the International Network of Ecoclubs that supports them.
International Network of Ecoclubs (INE)
The United States – Mexico Ecoclubs Network is part of the International Network of Ecoclubs (INE), consisting of 450 groups with more than 8,500 members from 33 countries in North, Central and South America, Europe and Africa.
The INE is intended to integrate young people to exchange experiences, develop relations and cooperation between countries and support each other on the issues they address.
Launch and presentation of Ecoclub El Chamizal video
Nuestra Frontera - Red de Ecoclubs de la Frontera - El Chamizal
For more information please contact: Gustavo M. Iturralde, M.D., M.P.H. Tel: (915) 845-5950, Ext. 42530. e-mail: