Category Archives: SDGS

Eco-schools and SDGS

By David Wandabi – Programs Officer – Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) & Eco-schools Coordinator, KOEE

#SDG 4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all

Quality Education

The Eco-Schools methodology is a powerful tool for providing quality education for sustainable development at all school levels. Its whole institutional approach (WIA) ensures an inclusive implementation throughout the whole kindergarten, school or campus, and the involvement of all children and students.

Eco-schools Kenya employ a whole institutional approach that uses schools as entry points to reach communities through pupils, teachers, parents, non-teaching staff, all departments and other stakeholders of the school to address local challenges of sustainable development. WIA requires not only the reorientation of teaching content and methodology, but also school and facility management that is in line with sustainable development as well as the cooperation of the institution with sustainable development stakeholders in the community (UNESCO, 2016). Eco-schools strategy acknowledges that all departments in a school need to synergize for sustainable development action. 

Some of the benefits of the WIA include: efficient use of resources hence the institution saves money, greening of school grounds, creating extra source of income from the micro-projects, creation of environmental awareness, development of desirable skills and attitudes for sustainable development, development of a sense of belonging in the school and ownership of sustainability initiatives, enabling acquisition of new professional learning opportunities by the teachers, providing opportunity to have hands on learning opportunity using sustainable development micro-projects, contribution to solving local development challenges by the school and community and thus reducing their ecological footprints significantly and strengthening relationships with families and local community (UNESCO, 2016).

Whole Institutional Approach Case Study

An Eco-school that best demonstrates the whole institutional approach is Watema Primary School. The school is located in Kaiti Sub-county in Makueni County of Kenya. It has a student population of 463 (239 boys and 213 girls) with 15 teachers. 

School governance

The school has an inclusive Eco-committee including the head teacher, Eco-schools coordinator, representatives from school board of management, parents and pupil representative from all classes. Additionally, the school has also co-opted a civil society representative in the committee. Being in arid area, the committee is proactive in guiding the school on how to get the best out of their environment to make learning as enjoyable as possible.

Facilities and Operations

The school has strived in making itself a model of sustainability in the area, embracing a number of green initiatives to promote self-reliance in the community in order to eradicate poverty in the area.  The school has two solar panels to supplement electricity to cut energy costs. The school has four roof water harvesting tanks with a capacity of 10,000 litres each to supplement their water which they get from a dam outside the school. With the area having erratic rainfall patterns, the water harvesting system ensures the school has water for drinking, cooking, washing hands and watering plants for over two months. The water has enabled the school grow vegetables, sweet potatoes and fruit trees for food and income generation. The school also grows fodder to make hay for sale. The school has a nursery for indigenous trees to provide seedlings for sale. The harvested water has also been used to construct hand wash facilities near the toilets to enhance sanitation and hygiene.

The main outcomes of the green initiatives are:

  • The pupils have been able to learn practical skills in the conservation of the environment.
  • The pupils have been taught ways of being self-reliant through starting green enterprise for income generation.
  • The community has been enlightened on the importance of green entrepreneurship for sustainable development.

Teaching and Learning

The Eco-school initiatives have enhanced teaching of sustainable development issues in all subject areas in the school as teachers use the projects as teaching and learning resources. Students are provided with an opportunity to learn issues like enterprise development, water harvesting, tree nursery development, irrigation among others which offers them a platform to create green jobs.  This has helped in propagating the teaching of critical, creative and futures thinking as students are challenged to be innovative in finding practical solutions to their local challenges. In this way, the pupils are contributing to solving local development challenges and thus reducing their ecological footprints.

Community Partnerships

The school is working with community members in implementing the projects for learning and teaching. Community members and groups visit the school to buy vegetables, tree seedlings and fodder and the school has also influenced other schools around them to embrace environmental conservation. Additionally, the school is working closely with the County Government of Makueni which donated two water harvesting tanks to the school to support the Eco-school initiative. The school uses local experts from the community to teach the students on various farming technologies. 

Roof water harvesting system, solar and vegetable gardening projects implemented in partnership with the community at Watema Primary School

References

UNESCO (2016). Getting Climate Ready: A Guide for Schools on Climate Action. UNESCO.Paris.

From Millennium Development Goals to Sustainable Development Goals

By Ojuka Vincent Ochieng 

Department of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) – KOEE

The global community, under the leadership of the United Nations (UN), developed the millennium development goals (MDGs) in the year 2000 in order to address most of the prevalent world challenges including hunger, diseases and gender equality among others. These goals were adopted for action by all UN member countries for a period of 15 years. The MDGs established measurable, universally agreed objectives for tackling extreme poverty and hunger, preventing deadly diseases, and expanding primary education to all children, among other development priorities. During the 15 years, the MDGs drove progress in several important areas: reducing income poverty, providing much needed access to water and sanitation, driving down child mortality and drastically improving maternal health. They also kick-started a global movement for free primary education, inspiring countries to invest in their future generations. Most significantly, the MDGs made huge strides in combating HIV/AIDS and other treatable diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis (United Nations Development program, 2016).

With the increasing population and development demands by many countries alongside other world challenges, there came a need to re-evaluate the impacts that has come along with it. Subsequently, sustainable development goals (SDGs) were incepted and adopted in 2015 by the UN member countries. The goals are an extension of the MDGs, which incorporate the comprehensive objectives of addressing the development needs of the world with consideration for the environmental and societal challenges that come with it.

While theMDGs focused only on 8 goals, 21 targets and 63 indicators, SDGs in contrast have 17 goals with 169 targets and 230 indicators. The goals are to be achieved by 2030, coinciding with major global treaties such as the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, among others. The SDGs can be grouped according to the following key themes: People, Planet and Prosperity, with Partnerships and Peace cutting across all the goals (United Nations, 2015). 

Source: Office of the senior special assistant to president Nigeria OSSAP, SDGs on Twitter

The goals concerned with People seek to address poverty, hunger, quality education and gender equality. Prosperity is tackled by the goals on decent work and economic growth, industry innovation andinfrastructure, sustainable communities. Planet is addressed by the goals on climate action, life on land and below water. The SDGs are a bold commitment to finish what was started by the MDGs, and tackle some of the more pressing challenges facing the world today. All 17 Goals are interconnected, meaning success in one affects success for others.

Global goals such as the MDGs and the SDGs complement international conventions and other tools by providing a globally shared framework that fosters collaboration across countries, mobilizes all stakeholders, and inspires action. Applied well, the SDGs are ambitious in making sure no one is left behind as development advances and key challenges are tackled. 

References

Office of Senior Special Assistant to President Nigeria, SDGs on twitter (2018), 5Ps for Sustainable Development

United Nations Development Program (2016), From the MDGs to Sustainable Development for All

United Nations (2015), Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development