THE BLOG
01/31/2014 08:14 pm ET Updated Apr 02, 2014

Let Girls Lead Video Contest: Citlalli Liliana Salas Juárez

Citlalli Liliana Salas Juárez, 13

Mexico City, Mexico

Mexico City is a magnificent center of culture and history and it is also one of the most polluted cities in the world. As residents of this city, 13-year-old Citalalli Alas Juarez and her friends decided it was up to them to enact change. They launched an environmental awareness campaign in 2009 and since then have continued to find innovative and easy ways to engage girls in their conservation efforts.

This week's Let Girls Lead video blog highlights the video they submitted to document their amazing projects. One of their first campaigns Ponme las pilas, y te Damos una Semilla (Give me the batteries and we'll give you a seed) taught the importance of separating batteries from other common waste and was successful in gathering 40,000 batteries.

The girls did not stop there. They decided to take their message to girls in schools around Mexico City. They now lead workshops to teach other girls how to get involved in the movement. They believe that every girl has the power for change in their own hands. From planting over a hundred thousand trees and endemic plants in Iztapalapa to writing books about environmental conservation, Citalli and her friends are doing their part to make lasting and big change.

Citlalli Liliana Salas Juárez's story:

Our city is extraordinary beautiful, has a rich history, and is very culturally diverse. Yes, the Federal District is all of this, but due to its rapid population growth it is also the city that generates the most pollution. It is amazing how the place where we live is deteriorating faster and faster. And to end it, we decided to get down to work!

We took the initiative to work to change everything we do not like. We started our project on my street evergreen garden. With the help of some friends we invited the neighbors to plant trees and adopt. We still had many obstacles, as authorities did not listen to us because we were kids. With this project we planted over a hundred thousand trees endemic plants in Iztapalapa.

Our next project was, "Ponme las pilas, y te Damos una Semilla (Give me the batteries and we'll give you a seed)" which looked to our community population and city delegates to understood the importance of separating batteries from other common waste. Citlalli came up with the idea to give seeds in exchange for used batteries. We collected twenty thousand to forty thousand batteries then.

In 2009 we started working with a new idea. We met children in different places and through lectures and workshops, we encouraged them to take the initiative to transform their environment. We went to public and private schools in order to teach children that they have the ability in their hands to undertake these initiatives.

Soon, we partnered up with various organizations that supported us to achieve a greater social impact. In 2010, I published my first book, called "El Mundo es mi Sueño (The World is my Dream)," and without thinking I got to be the first girl to have its certificate of copyright law in Mexico, but I'm more proud to report that other children have already published their books. Remember that any small action can generate a big change!!!

Let Girls Lead empowers girls and their allies to lead social change through advocacy, education, economic empowerment, storytelling and strategic partnerships, contributing to improved health, education and livelihoods for more than 3 million girls globally.

Let Girls Lead's Global Girls' Conversation video contest highlights girls' power to create change by sharing their own solutions through short videos. The video contest has been an exciting opportunity for girls, organizations working with girls and girls' allies to submit one to two-minute videos capturing girls' solutions and successes. In partnership with the Huffington Post, Let Girls Lead will continue to feature these compelling videos on the Global Girls' Conversation interactive platform and on Huffington Post's Global Motherhood column, sharing girls' power to lead change with a global audience. Contest winners will be announced on International Women's Day and receive $10,000 in cash, equipment and training to create their own short films.