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Education for Sustainable Development in Kenya

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

The Kenya Constitution 2010 prioritizes Sustainable Development as a National Goal. The Government of Kenya has therefore, an obligation to lead all citizens towards attaining this goal. The Government is committed to promoting ESD as a key factor in enabling sustainable development and quality education by implementing the Rio Conventions, UNESCO Global Action Programme (GAP) and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (Ministry of Education, 2017)

The country endorsed and adopted Agenda 21 that emerged from the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 (UN, 1992). Chapter 36 of Agenda 21 elaborated the need for ESD.

The Environmental Management and Coordination Act 1999, Cap 387 is a framework law that provides for effective coordination and regulation of all actions that have a direct influence on the environment. Section 42 (4) of the Basic Education Act stipulates that ‘the Cabinet Secretary of Education shall upon advice of the National Education Board advise the government on the promotion of environmental protection education for sustainable development’. 

Kenya’s development blueprint, Vision 2030, aspires to revitalize the country’s economic growth through harnessing of its natural resources. Education is identified as a key driver under the social pillar. The inspiration was to have an ESD policy developed and all education interventions reoriented to address ESD. 

The 2013-2018 National Education Sector Plan (NESP)[1] provides a strategy for education and training to promote ESD with reference to the United Nations Global Action Programme on ESD. This led to the development of ESD Policy for the Education Sector in 2017. The policy provides, promotes and co-ordinates quality lifelong education, training, research and innovation for Kenya’s sustainable development.

Broadly, the following achievements have been realised with regard to the status of ESD in Kenya. Stakeholders for sustainable development are increasingly taking up education, public awareness and training to advance sustainable development. Secondly, the Government has incorporated education strategies, tools and targets into national sustainable development strategies, climate change plans and related economic frameworks such as the Green Economy. Thirdly, partnerships, collaborations and networks, for example, Regional Centres of Expertise (RCEs) have been formed to enhance the implementation of ESD. And finally, several teachers and education officials have been trained and a number of schools are practising ESD.

Kenya has been putting emphasis on approaches that promote whole-institution development of ESD such as Eco-schools and Green Campus. The Eco-schools Programme has been quoted in the Kenya ESD Policy for Education Sector 2017 as an effective whole institution approaches in mainstreaming sustainability into all aspects of the learning environment (ESD Policy for Education Sector 2017, Pg 5)

Sessional Paper No. 4 of 2012 on Reforming Education and Training in Kenya envisages a curriculum that is competence-based to foster quality education in the country (Republic of Kenya, 2015a). Through this policy, the Ministry of Education is committed to promoting ESD as a key element to enable sustainable development and quality education. To this effect, Kenya is currently rolling out a new Competency Based Curriculum for primary and secondary schools. The new curriculum has sections that deliberately show how ESD can be integrated into the curriculum as a pertinent and emerging issue. 

Educators and trainers are powerful agents of change for implementing ESD UNESCO, 2014). The education sector has increased financial support for capacity development activities and strengthened the Kenya Education Management Institute (KEMI), the agency for building capacities of education managers. The Centre for Mathematics, Science and Technology Education in Africa (CEMASTEA) has been offering pedagogical leadership training to support teachers in implementing effective and innovative classroom practices. CEMASTEA has also been sensitising education and quality assurance officers and County Education Directors on effective management of sustainable and institutionalised in-service education and training of teachers (INSET). Development partners have continued to complement government efforts towards capacity enhancement of education managers (Ministry of Education, 2017)

Regional Centres of Expertise (RCEs) in Kenya have provided useful platforms for capacity building in the sector. As networks of formal, non-formal and informal education organisations, RCEs are catalysing and supporting the reorientation of education and training systems in their regions. The Education Sector is represented in each of the eight Regional Centres of Expertise (RCEs) that are operating in Kenya. 

Despite all the milestones made in enhancing ESD in Kenya, improvement of quality of education at all levels of education still remains a challenge towards attaining ESD in all its facets. The ESD Post 2014 Consultation Report of 2013[2] for the “ESD: towards a programme framework after 2014 Survey reports that the overarching priority education areas and levels are teacher education, technical vocational education and training (TVET) and basic education (primary and secondary education).


Ministry of Education. (2017). Education for Sustainable Development Policy for the Education Sector. Nairobi: UNON Publishing Services Section.


[2] : Education for Sustainable Development: towards a programme framework as follow-up to the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development after 2014

 Input from online survey for Member States, Key Stakeholders and UN Agencies   

Eco-schools: Building Capacity of Educators and Trainers for Sustainable Development

KOEE's Executive Director, Dr. Dorcas Otieno, during an Eco-schools Teachers' training workshop on promoting green economy development in schools. 
Photo. Alvin Sika
KOEE’s Executive Director, Dr. Dorcas Otieno, during an Eco-schools Teachers’ training workshop on promoting green economy development in schools. Photo. Alvin Sika

Educators and trainers are powerful agents of change in helping to remake the education sector to address sustainability and enhance the role of education and learning in sustainable development projects and initiatives.  Teachers can be a tremendous force brought to the task, as teachers worldwide number around 70 million, and the corps of trainers and informal educators is virtually countless. But for educators and trainers to help usher in the transition to a sustainable society, they themselves must first become confident in practicing ESD (UNESCO, 2014). They must be empowered to facilitate confidently and effectively students, trainees and other learners to acquire the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values to contribute to sustainable development. They themselves need to acquire knowledge about, commitment to, and motivation for sustainable development.

As the world prepares to mark the World Teachers Day (                WTD) on October 5th, it is important to stress the importance empowering teachers to be agents of sustainable development.  World Teachers’ Day commemorates the anniversary of the adoption of the 1966 ILO/UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers. This Recommendation sets benchmarks regarding the rights and responsibilities of teachers and standards for their initial preparation and further education, recruitment, employment, and teaching and learning conditions. The World Teachers Day aims to focus on appreciating, assessing and improving the educators of the world and to provide an opportunity to consider issues related to teachers and teaching (UNESCO, 2019).

With the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goal 4 on education, and the dedicated target (SDG 4.c) recognizing teachers as key to the achievement of the Education 2030 agenda, WTD has become the occasion to mark progress and reflect on ways to counter the remaining challenges for the promotion of the teaching profession. World Teachers’ Day is co-convened in partnership with UNICEF, UNDP, the International Labour Organization, and Education International.

This year, the World Teachers’ Day will celebrate teachers with the theme, “Young Teachers: The future of the Profession.” The day provides the occasion to celebrate the teaching profession worldwide, to take stock of achievements, and to address some of the issues central for attracting and keeping the brightest minds and young talents in the profession.

Eco-schools Kenya has teacher training as one of its core strategies to enhance sustainability in schools and communities. As one of the steps of the Eco-schools process, over 15,000 teachers have gone through an extensive training course since 2003 to act as Eco-Schools ambassadors. The teachers encourage other schools to effectively address local environmental problems through action based learning following the principles of Eco-Schools. 

In close cooperation with teachers and key governmental institutions the Eco-Schools project has developed wide range of environmental education materials for teachers and learners that comply with Kenyan curriculum requirements to treat environment as a cross curricula issue. The new Kenyan Competency-based Curriculum being rolled out by the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development places great emphasis on environmental education as a pertinent and emerging issue. Eco-schools Kenya has developed environmental theme-packs for primary and secondary schools and made available to schools. The theme-packs cover the following issues; water, waste, energy, health, biodiversity and agriculture. Other resource materials developed include: Eco-Schools Handbook Starter Pack (information manual on the Eco-schools programme in Kenya), Teachers’ Environmental Education Guides for primary and Secondary schools, Training Module on Environmental Education and Eco-Schools Documentary video. A Faith-based ESD Toolkit has also been developed to enhance the faith-based value system and positive behaviour in the school and community to promote sustainable development using the eco-school strategy. It also demonstrates how faith-based values can be integrated into Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) in the primary school curriculum. Similarly, a teacher’s guidebook has been developed to help transform schools into models of sustainability for communities by instilling in learners a greening culture through mentoring and engaging them in hands-on green entrepreneurship initiatives for sustainability. The guide aims at enhancing the ability of teachers to mainstream green growth in the curriculum. All these materials have acted as tools and resources through which schools use to address sustainability challenges facing them. The materials have been widely acknowledged by relevant authorities in the Kenyan educational sector.


UNESCO. (2014). Roadmap for Implementing the Global Action Programme on Education for Sustainable Development. Paris, France: UNESCO.

UNESCO. (2019, September 27). World Teachers’ Day. Retrieved September 27, 2019, from UNESCO:

The Evolution of Corporate Sustainability in Kenya

By Lorraine Dixon

Business, Environment and Sustainability Specialist – KOEE

Source: TheGivingMachine

Against the backdrop of a shrinking natural resource base and societies shackled by inequality, the role of business in helping to drive sustainable development is under more scrutiny than ever before.The engagement of business with sustainability first began through Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). There is no universally accepted definition of CSR.  A 2009 publication on CSR in sub-Saharan Africa by the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (GTZ, 2009), states that: CSR refers to the accountability of corporates, to both shareholders and stakeholders for their utilization of resources, for their means of production, for their treatment of workers and consumers and for their impact on the social and ecological environment in which they operate. Cheruiyot and Tarus (2016) defined CSR in Kenya as the long-term commitment of organizations to social, economic,  legal and environmental rights  and responsible outcomes  for  the sustainability of humanity.

CSR in Kenya has long been characterised by voluntary actions of a philanthropic nature, particularly directed towards challenges of persistent poverty, poor access to education, health care, water and sanitation facilities, as well as food insecurity. However, there has been a slow shift to addressing employee and environmental issues, in the pursuit of sustainability, as reflected in global trends. 

A recent study revealed that most business managers attribute their sustainability initiatives and practices to the need to mitigate their company‘s social and environmental impacts, while some use the initiatives to improve brand image, build trust, and reputation (KCIC Research, 2018). There has been growing recognition of international instruments and networks that aim at consolidating business efforts towards embracing sustainability. The UN Global Compact is an example of this, and it supports companies to do business responsibly by aligning their strategies and operations with Ten Principles on human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption; and take strategic actions to advance broader societal goals, such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals, with an emphasis on collaboration and innovation.

The Global Compact Network Kenya (GNCK) was first launched in 2005 with the strategic objective of spearheading and catalysing actions aimed at promoting good business practices by building capacity and awareness of ethics, integrity and Corporate Social Responsibility in furtherance of the UN Global Compact‘s Ten principles. Only 140 companies are participating in the GCNK, indicating a gap in understanding and uptake of corporate sustainability by Kenyan businesses. 

Globally, the last 20 years has seen the emergence of a new approach to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), with companies recognizing that improving their own impacts and addressing wider sustainable development challenges social and environmental problems will be crucial in securing their long-term success.The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) explicitly call on all businesses to apply their creativity and innovation to solve sustainable development challenges. As the SDGs form the global agenda for the development of societies, they allow companies to demonstrate how their business helps to advance sustainable development, both by minimizing negative impacts and maximizing positive impacts on people and the planet (GRI, UN Global Compact &WBCSD, 2015).

Increasingly, high profile companies are implementing CSR processes such as public commitment to standards, community investment, continuous improvement, stakeholder engagement and corporate reporting on social and environmental performance. This has resulted in a transition of some companies’ efforts under the umbrella of Corporate Shared Value (CSV). This is defined as “policies and operating practices that enhance the competitiveness of a company while simultaneously advancing the economic and social conditions in the communities in which it operates.” (Porter & Kramer, 2011) Three key ways that companies can create shared value opportunities are by reconceiving products and markets; by redefining productivity in the value chain; and by enabling local cluster development (Porter & Kramer, 2011). 

Source: The Partnering Group

Safaricom is an example of a Kenyan company that has embraced the concept of CSV. Safaricom is the biggest telecommunications company in the country providing voice, text, data and mobile money transfer services. The company leverages the power of mobile technology to deliver shared value propositions that disrupt inefficiencies and impact lives positively in the health, agriculture and education sectors (Safaricom, 2019). DigiFarm, the company’s integrated agriculture platform that helps agribusinesses and smallholder farmers share information and transact, won the Shared Value Award at the August 2018 Loeries Awards held in South Africa. Safaricome started the process of integrating nine of the 17 SDGs into its core business strategy in 2016. Its nine priority goals are the goals related to health; education; affordable and clean energy; decent work and economic growth; innovation and infrastructure; reducing inequalities; responsible consumption and production; climate action; peace and justice and partnerships. The company also hosted the Africa Shared Value Summit in Nairobi in May 2019, which attracted participants from 18 countries. 

Therefore as the corporate sustainability landscape changes, it is important to recognise the need for awareness creation and education on the important role business has to play in sustainable development, not only for society, but also for itself. This will help empower the sector in Kenya to embrace sustainability in a more holistic manner.  


Cheruiyot, T.K., and Tarus, D.K. (2016).CorporateSocialResponsibility  inKenya: Blessing,CurseorNecessaryEvil?

GRI, UN Global Compact, and WBCSD.(2015). SDG Compass: The Guide for Business Action on the SDGs. 

GTZ. (2009). Built-in or bolted-on Corporate Social Responsibility in sub-Saharan Africa: A survey on promoting and hindering factors.

KCIC Research. (2018). Public and Private Sector Perceptions of Sustainability in Kenya: Practice, Barriers, Stakeholder Participation. 

Nyaga R.N. (2016). Mainstreaming Corporate Social Responsibility for Environmental and Social Development in Kenya.

Porter, M. E., & Kramer, M.R. (2011). Creating Shared Value How to reinvent capitalism and unleash a wave of innovation and growth. Harvard Business Review, January-February 2011.

Safaricom (2019). Towards Reducing Inequalities: 2019 Sustainable Business Report.

MAKINI SCHOOL – KIBOS Promoting Green Enterprise Development in Schools

Makini School Kibos campus was founded in 2012 and comprises Classes 4 to 8.The school is located on a vast piece of land of about 600 acres overlooking the magnificent Nandi Hills. It is about 4 kilometers from Kisumu City. The school strives to mould its learners into top performers not only in academics but in whatever they pursue. The learners are taught important values such as integrity and discipline as well as skills such as critical thinking and problem solving that are all key in today’s evolving world. The school has a population of 422 pupils of which 101 are in boarding. There are 27 teachers and 41 support staff. 

Even though the main Makini School Nairobi campus joined the Eco-schools program in 2007, the Kibos campus joined in 2017. However, the school has always been keen in promoting environmental conservation evidenced by the several green projects in the schools. These projects are usually spearheaded by the environmental club. The main objective of the club is to empower children with knowledge, skills and values necessary for environmental conservation and to equip them with life skills.

As part of the Eco-school activities, the school has a number of student-centered environmental projects. Some of the projects include; rabbitry, poultry keeping, indigenous vegetables farming, orchard farming, waste recycling, tree growing and water harvesting. All students, teachers, school management and at times community members participate in the implementation of these noble environmental projects. The projects are aimed enhancing learner engagement in environmental activities and improving the learning environment. The projects are also a response to climate change and also aim at making the school self-sufficient. The school gets most of its fruits, vegetables, eggs and chicken meat from the projects.  The orchard also serves as the resource center for extension learning within the school as it is learning and teaching resource.

Due to the school’s exemplary projects, the school was included in a project aimed at promoting green enterprise development in schools dubbed Schools Green Challenge from 2017-2018. The challenge was implemented under a collaborative partnership between KOEE and Micro Enterprises Support Programme Trust (MESPT) as part of the Eco-schools Programme. The school emerged as winners among 12 other participating schools. As part of the Challenge, the school ventured into fish farming. The school has 2 fish ponds each with 900 tilapia fish and 100 cat fish for population control. The school now produces over 10,000 fish after every 6 months. This is targeted for about 40,000 consumers when harvested at the same time. 

The school has about 100 students who board. This provides the fish business with ready market as the school serves fish every Wednesday and Friday of the week for the borders. With the school spending about Kshs. 20,000 (190 USD) on fish per week, this is a sure weekly income for the project. 

Through the projects, the school has been able to inspire the students to be eco-entrepreneurs. The school strives to be a sustainability and climate action model school by indulging into climate smart actions. For instance they organically grow their food which is irrigated using harvested rain water. This cuts their carbon footprint in the long run. 

The killer weed – Cuscuta Japonica

By Ojuka Vincent Ochieng 

Department of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) – KOEE

A tree in Wote town, Makueni County, invaded by field dodderCredit: Nation Media Group

One of the current emerging environmental challenges globally is invasive species and their associated impacts. A species is considered to be  invasive if it has been introduced by human action to a location, area, or region where it did not previously occur naturally and it becomes capable of establishing a breeding population in the new location without further intervention by humans; Global invasive species programme (GISP, 2004).An invasive alien species is also a non-native species both plants and animalswhose introduction causes or is likely to cause economic harm, environmental harm, or harm to human health among others.

Cuscuta japonica commonly referred as Japanese Dodder is an invasive species that is native to Eastern Asia, which is recorded as a significant weed of fruit and ornamental trees in Japan, China and neighboring countries. It is a typical parasitic dodder with yellowish vines 1-2 mm in diameter, almost devoid of chlorophyll and much branched. The vines twine anti-clockwise around the host stems and foliage. Recent research by the Biotechnology Department at Kenyatta University, characterized the invasive plant as one that is a ‘master of deceit’ and which at a glance present itself as an enviable canopy that most people want to have around, thus its continuous spread in most parts of the continent, Kenya included. As an adaptation modification, it has a wide range of host plants but is majorly associated with the yellow oleander trees (flowerbeds), found as home hedges in most rural homesteads. It also attacks bougainvillea plant species and other plant species.

Mangoes belonging to Dorothy Katilo, a farmer in Makueni County, invaded by Japonica Credit: Nation Media Group

Mangoes belonging to Dorothy Katilo, a farmer in Makueni County, invaded by Japonica Credit: Nation Media Group

In Kenya, the manifestation of the dodder has been majorly reported in Western Kenya by most farmers who fear that it will be an uncontrollable challenge to agricultural activities in the region if not addressed early by the concerned departments. With the climate change causing vulnerability to the agricultural sector, it is vital to look into measures that can be taken to prevent any anticipated impacts of Japonica in the country.

One of the recommended conventional ways of containing the spread and impacts of the weed is by physical removal and burning to ensure it does not dominate the host species. As a strategy for Education for Sustainable Development, it is important to increase awareness on the weed and its impacts by sharing the information on it to schools, churches among other social settings, as in most cases its lack of knowledge or ignorance that leads to the increased invasiveness and its problems. The education will also impart relevant skills and attitudes to be able to solve the invasive species challenges. Key to solution provisions is strategic partnerships by related and relevant civil society organizations, state agencies and international corporations in fighting this menace just like climate change fights and other contemporary environmental challenges.



The International Youth Day (IYD) is observed annually on 12thAugust. It is meant as an opportunity for governments, corporates, private sector and other societal entities to draw attention to youth issues worldwide. During IYD, concerts, workshops, cultural events, and meetings involving national and local government officials and youth organizations take place around the world. IYD was designated by the United Nations in 1999 with the adoption of Resolution 54/120. To guide the celebrations, the United Nations developed the Framework Approach highlighting three key objectives for the celebrations which included increased commitment and investment in youth, increased youth participation and partnerships, and increased intercultural understanding among youth. 

With the support, will, guidance and endorsement by the Youth Directorate and Nairobi County Government, leaders from different youths based organizations in conservation, social and economic empowerment strongly aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations, and the Kenya Vision 2030 Agenda, organized a one week event which was flagged off on 6thAugust 2019 by dignitaries from the Directorate of Youth and Gender in the Kenya to mark the opening of International Youth Week (IYW). The event took place at One Stop Rescue Center along Haile Selassie Avenue in Nairobi. Wezesha initiative, Kenya Inter-university Environmental Students Association (KIUESA and Stand Up Shout Out (SUSO) led other stakeholders in the flag off. 

The Kenya organization for environmental education KOEE was represented in the celebrations by Ojuka Vincent, chairperson Kenya Inter-University Environmental students Association (KIUESA), who is interning at the organization and is championing for youth’s spaces and leadership in environmental conservation. This was also to strengthen KIUESA’s collaboration with UNESCO Chair on Green Economy-Kenyatta University that is partnering with KOEE to implement Higher Education Development for a Green Economy and Sustainability (HEDGES) project.

Workshop Objectives

During the day, different youth led organizations were driving their interrelated objectives to mark the week. The workshop objectives included;

  1. To discuss and reaffirm the role of youths in promoting social and economic empowerment within the youth spaces and initiatives.
  2. To show solidarity of the young generation in driving the global development agendas with the sustainable development goals with emphasize on climate change awareness creation and the green economy agenda.
  3. To share and exchange ideas and experiences of the different youths within the county with diverse areas of specialization like youths empowerment.


  • Key note addresses and presentations

This was the first activity of the day that saw different partners present and share with the participants on their engagement in the youth spaces as well as highlighting the milestones they have achieved while working with the youths. Some of the presenters were from KIUESA, WEZESHA INITIATIVE, SUSO and the Youth Directorate. The directorate outlined some of the strategies that the government had put in place to empower the youths and address the unemployment issues through projects like Kenya Youth Employment Opportunity Program and the Youth Revolving Funds. As key note speakers, they urged the youth to be aggressive and to keep doing great in their initiatives as it counts and matters a lot to the government and global community and assured support of the youth led projects.

  • Tree planting

To commit to the objective of fighting climate change and promoting green growth, KIUESA led the participants in tree planting activity where about 100 trees were planted. The association challenged participants on promoting sustainability issues including a call to ensure that the trees planted on the day were well taken care of till maturity. It  was agreed that the school where  the trees were planted was to monitor the progress of the trees and continuous visits by the association to the school will be going on to ensure that the planted trees are counting to the forest cover in the country.

Tree planting activity
  • Exhibitions

During the day, different organizations were able to exhibit some of the products they make for their income generation. Some of them included the art works, customized beads, tree seeds and seedlings, bookmarks-shirts among other products.

  • Youth bonding and team building 

Most of the participants of the day were youths who were lively and engaged in team building and bonding sessions. This was by involvement of the fun games, music and eco-challenges among others. It was meant to expose the participants on the need to partner and work together for a common course irrespective of their backgrounds as illustrated in the SDG 17.

  • Flag off

To mark the day, the Directorate of Youth in the end joined all participants in the flagging off the week by launching an awareness creation caravan of the youths who had a peaceful match within the streets to publicize the week and to sensitize on the different youths agendas to be covered during the celebrations.

   Participants pose with their tree seedlings before planting


IYD/IYW is a major global event that allows people to reflect on the ways and means of engaging the youths who form a better part of the world’s population. It is encouraging to see many youth initiatives supported and endorsed by different government agencies, international programs and entities like UN and UNESCO, civil societies, corporates world among others. A lot more can be done with regards to youths empowerment for relevant skill and knowledge in different fields while targeting to achieve the UN sustainable development goals.

Turning Plastics into Useful Resources

Brookhouse School

Brookhouse School has been one of the pioneer international schools in the Eco-schools Kenya programme. The school joined the Eco-schools Kenya back in 2010. Since then it has been a trailblazer in terms of promoting sustainability in schools and especially among international schools in Kenya. The school has been part of Eco-schools Litter Less Campaign since 2014 – an international campaign supported Wrigley Foundation aimed at promoting sustainable waste management in schools. As part of the campaign, the school has been collecting plastic bottles. The school forged a partnership with the Human Needs Project (HNP) in Kibera Slums in Nairobi. In 2015, HNP had a project to construct an underground waste water filtration and treatment system. This system required media for bacteria to grow and that happened to plastic media. Lots of bottles were therefore needed, cut into small pieces and stuffed into the underground tanks. As part of the Litter Less Campaign, the school Eco-club took up the challenge to support this interesting recycling initiative by rallying up support from the whole school body in collecting bottles. Parents supported their children by dropping off loads of used bottles in the morning when they bring their children to school. It ended up becoming a whole Brookhouse community Eco-schools involvement.

Brookhouse delegation in a brainstorming session at 2019 Plastic Ocean Pollution Solutions International Youth Summit conference in Dana Point, California
Brookhouse delegation in a brainstorming session at 2019 Plastic Ocean Pollution Solutions International Youth Summit conference in Dana Point, California

It is estimated that the whole waste water plant took excess of 150,000 bottles of which Brookhouse Eco-club had made the greatest contribution. Human Needs project is involved with community empowerment and sanitation issues; more about them here;

From 2017, the school shifted focus into recycling used plastic bags into useful products. This was in form of crocheting plastic yarn into useful items such as baskets, laptop bags and pencil cases. The products made are donated to the school’s Service Learning partner i.e. Thomas Barnados orphanage and Seed Academy are two of our Community Service partners. The project also entails creating a group of student leaders who train other students/groups of students on this recycling activity. The project has been made a core Service Learning activity by incorporating more tutor groups.

The Brookhouse Plastic management project has grown from a school-wide sustainability campaign to an international engagement with other schools/youth around the world in a forum known as Plastic Ocean Pollution Solutions International Youth Summit (POPS). Members of the Environment Club in the school brainstorm and develop project ideas that are aimed at eliminating plastic waste in the school as well as in our immediate community. They present these ideas at the summit and also get opportunities to share solutions with youth and experts from other parts of the world. This biannual conference takes place in Dana Point, California. In 2019, the school presented their project idea of recycling used plastic bags into useful products in form of crocheting plastic yarn into useful items such as baskets, laptop bags and pencil cases.

So far the school has recycled over 150Kgs of plastic bottles involving over 100 students directly and over 300 students reached with messages on plastic waste management. This has led to reduced amount of plastic waste within the school community and increased awareness among students and teachers on methods of recycling plastic waste. It has also led to improved behaviour among the youth concerning sustainable consumption and production and increased students’ knowledge and practical skills in recycling plastic waste.

The school Eco-schools Patron, Mr. Thaddeus Obunga says,“The project has exposed our students to different dialogues on plastic waste management which has enhanced their knowledge and skills on waste management. Students have specifically gained entrepreneurial skills on how to transform plastic waste into something useful instead of just discarding it away.” 

Green Bonds: Innovative Financing for a Low-carbon Transition

By Lorraine Dixon

Business, Environment and Sustainability Specialist – KOEE

Combating climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time, requiring far more financing than governments alone can provide.  Climate change is increasingly viewed as a business opportunity, opening many profitable ways for investors to help protect the planet. Kenya’s Green Economy Strategy and Implementation Plan (GESIP) recognises the importance of banks and financial institutions in developing and providing products and services that support green economy entrepreneurs and enterprises. Kenya needs about Kshs 2.4 trillion to support green economic activities in areas such as afforestation, renewable energy and public transport (GESIP, 2016). Finances can be leveraged from green bonds, carbon pricing, feed-in tariffs, subsidies, climate trust funds, green investment banks as well as blended finance from loans, grants, guarantees and insurance.

A green bond or a climate bond is a fixed-income security whose proceeds are earmarked exclusively for projects with environmental benefits, mostly related to climate change mitigation or adaptation but also to natural resources depletion, loss of bio-diversity, and air, water or soil pollution (CMA, 2019). They are essentially loan agreements between the bondissuer and an investor, in which the bondissuer is obligated to pay a specified amount of money at specified future dates. Green bonds are an important channel for low-carbon climate-resilient investments to support the transition to a sustainable economy. The green label is a discovery mechanism for investors; it enables the identification of climate-aligned investments with limited due diligence from investors, which reduces market friction and facilitates growth in environmentally friendly investments.

Photo Credit: Kenya Broadcasting Corporation 

Kenya signed on to some bold environmental impact deliverables at the 21stannual Conference of the Parties (COP 21) in Paris, France under Intended Nationally Determined Contributions, or Kenya’s “in-house targets”. The country has set out to lower greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2030 with agriculture, urban development, energy production and transport as the biggest contributors. Many Kenyan technology entrepreneurs are building businesses in these areas that offer value for end users, as well as mitigate or reverse negative effects on the climate. Scaling up these efforts therefore requires a significant increase in access to appropriate finance. 

Nigeria and South Africa are the first countries on the African continent to issue a security that raises funds for environmental projects after the launch of their respective Sovereign Green Bonds. The Green Bonds Programme Kenya (GBPK) was launched in March 2017 with the aim of catalysing the market for green bonds. The programme’s patron is the Governor of the Central Bank of Kenya and is a partner initiative between Kenya Bankers Association (KBA), Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE), Climate Bonds Initiative (CBI), Financial Sector Deepening (FSD) Africa and the Dutch Development Bank (FMO).

Kenya Bankers Association (KBA) announced plans by Kenyan banks to issue a green bond by end of 2019 to raise money in the war on climate change.  The green bond is touted as the best instrument to achieve sustainability, considering the environmental, social and financial needs of both the country and the banking sector. The KGBP, can therefore be seen as a progressive effort to unlock new sources of long-term investment for environmental projects, particularly for micro and small enterprises (SMEs) in Kenya. 

A study commissioned by KGBP with support from Kenya Bankers Association and WWF Kenya revealed that Kenya’s manufacturing, transport and agriculture sectors have combined green investment and financing opportunities valued at KSh87 billion over the next five to 10 years. The study sought to quantify the investment opportunity for green investments in Kenya, identify barriers to the issuance of green bonds and solutions for creating bankable projects. Learn more about the study results here


Government of Kenya (2016), Green Economy Strategy and Implementation Plan 2016-2030, available from

Capital Markets Auhotrity (2019), Green Bond Market Launched in Kenya, available from 

Teacher Training for a Dynamic World of Work

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

Sometimes life can be unforgiving and you can find yourself stranded if you do not have any contingency plan in place with sudden turn of events and situations. The danger of one sliding into oblivion then becomes a painful reality. In 2018, over 100,000 KCSE candidates had high hopes of pursuing teaching careers at diploma and certificate levels. This of course was as a result of the Ministry of Education lowering the entry requirements for P1 teachers from C- to D+.

In 2019 however, more than 20,000 slots are expected to fall vacant across all primary teacher-training colleges (TTCs). The government has halted all admissions to this level, in phasing out P1 teachers. 13,000 students would have been admitted into the existing 31 public training colleges and another 3,000 across the newly established institutions in Kenya. Private colleges have about 4,000 spaces available for students across 85 institutions.

The elevation of the P1 course to diploma level is a key reform in the teaching industry meant to improve the quality of both professional and academic standards of the primary school teachers. This bold move is informed by, among others, the fact that there has been discomfort among many stakeholders that the two-year P1 course is inadequate to equip the trainees with the knowledge, skills and attitudes required to competently  perform the envisaged roles in the new Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC) being rolled out by the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development. 

It is worth noting that robust teacher training and education programmes should focus on providing skills, competencies, professional attitudes and values that equip educators with knowledge as well as ability to recognise and nurture the educational needs of the students. We should be cognizant to the fact that the success of the CBC is squarely hinged on the ability of the teachers to not only understand but also facilitate acquisition of crucial competencies among the learners.

These are digital literacy, self-efficacy, citizenship, learning to learn, imagination and creativity, critical thinking and problem solving as well as communication and collaboration skills. But for the envisaged teacher training diploma course to be relevant, including meeting societal needs, it should be developed taking into account the aspirations of the international community, the country’s development goals and the 2-6-6-3 system of education.

Among others, the content should be in line with the vision of the Basic Education Act 2013, the Education for Sustainable Development Policy of the Education Sector 2017 as well as the Kenya Vision 2030 and global Vision 2030 Education Agenda as all stress on the need to prepare teachers with a mind-set that focuses on the core educational outcomes. Therefore, emphasis should be laid on mastery of the subject and pedagogical skills and methodologies.

While developing course content in the anticipated diploma programme for primary school teacher trainees, it should be noted that as per the Basic Education Curriculum Framework (2017), pertinent and contemporary issues is an integral part of the content in the new syllabus dispensation. 

These include global citizenship, life skills, health and values education. In an attempt to prepare students to be global citizens, topics like peace education, human rights, gender issues, integrity, social cohesion, ethnic and race relations as well as patriotism and governance inevitably need to be covered. Other issues that need to be included in the teacher training course are sustainable development, climate change, learner support programmes, community service learning and parental engagement. In the new syllabus, topics like environmental education, disaster risk reduction, financial literacy, poverty eradication, countering terrorism and animal welfare are a viewed as precursor for sustainable development.

As for learner support programmes; peer education, communal life, clubs, societies, sports and games are elemental. Topics on career guidance and counselling services; community service learning and parental engagement; community participation and parental empowerment are paramount and should be considered.

Even though the whole notion of reforming teacher education and training, particularly at the primary school level, is commendable, there are notable obstacles that need to be intricately tackled. Orienting instructional practices towards stronger collaborative relationships among teachers and learners, a core emphasis of the CBC, is a primary upheaval staring at the teaching profession. Campaigners of this style hold that such a paradigm shift boosts creativity, innovativeness and dignity apart from making learning enjoyable.

Therefore, this is another critical area that designers of the teacher training diploma course should be attentive to. Inadequate, obsolete and decrepit infrastructure and resources for preparing teachers are also of utmost concern. This is exacerbated by the fact that operations of the TTCs are largely dependent on students’ fees. Adequate information and communication technologies infrastructure, a key component of the new curriculum, needs to be put in place so as to yield teachers that can deliver quality education competently. 

Deliberate strategies to finance primary school teacher training is key. Therefore the decision by Higher Education Loans Board to start financing primary school teacher trainees from 2020 is praiseworthy. The move is timely as enrolment in the TTCs has been nose-diving due to the interplay of multiple reasons, including inability by some of the students to meet training cost. Another major factor is failure by many candidates to attain the minimum entry grade at Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education examination. Some students have also previously avoided the P1 certificate course, opting instead to go for various diploma programmes in other fields which require the same entry grade.

Fortunately, with Kenya National Qualifications Authority now clearly spelling out the minimum entry qualification, and other relevant agencies, there is a higher likelihood of more influx of students in the TTCs compared to the past.


By David Wandabi and Lynn Oburu

There is a reputation established for most public primary schools as schools with less creativity and imagination, but Kariobangi North Primary School is a different case altogether. The school was started in 1964 by Nairobi City Council located in Embakasi North constituency, Nairobi in the Korogocho slums. Its pupils’ catchment includes Kariobangi, Dandora, and Babadogo slums. It is a two streamed school with a population of 750 pupils. With most students coming from humble and poor backgrounds, but the school itself is more than just basic, it is a novelty, a haven of locally driven environmental management. The school has been an Eco-school since 2014. Despite the brawling, wailing and multiple socio-economic and environmental challenges surrounding the school; it has come up with some remarkable projects to make it child-friendly and environmentally conscious. The projects include; organic kitchen gardening, cookery club, beadwork, crocheting, and knitting as well as waste management. 

The school is located in a slum characterized by high poverty levels, food insecurity, unreliable water supply, high student drop-outs, high illiteracy levels and high cases of teenage parents. Most of the 750 pupils are not able to afford more than one meal in a day. In most cases, children go to school hungry with the hope of getting at least a meal at school. The school used to provide lunch to the pupils under the World Food Programme School Feeding Programme. However, the programme stopped in 2017. The situation is exacerbated with erratic rainfall patterns and prolonged droughts. This weighed down on the school as it solely depended on the insufficient government funding and meagre parents’ contributions to keep the lunch feeding programme on. With the majority of the parents living under a dollar daily, most of them cannot afford the daily contribution of about 0.5 dollars to buy food and firewood for the pupils. 

With such a predicament, the school resulted in initiating projects to address some of the challenges. The school decided to provide a holistic education for their students as a way to guarantee them a better life by lifting them out of the problems. The school grows vegetables in their kitchen garden to supplement the student diet. Surplus from the garden is also sold to the local community. The garden has spinach, kales, cowpeas, bananas, tomatoes, and onions. To utilize the school space, sack-gardening is also set-up to mainly grow vegetables. At its optimal, each sack can grow up to 200 shoots of vegetables. However, the farming initiative is occasionally faced with a challenge of insufficient water. The school solely relies on rainwater and water from the City Council which is often rationed.

To supplement the garden, the school involves the students in other activities for income generation. The school has a vibrant cookery club where the students learn how to prepare various foods. This includes flavored fried potatoes (bhajia), mandazis as well as baking of cakes. Despite the lack of an oven, they have improvised by using a jiko and two sufurias. The students do make lovely foods. This is to enable them to be able to use their love for food as a source of money to help in funding some of their school and home expenses.

With biting effects of dire poverty, the school also involves the pupils in beadwork, crocheting, and knitting.  They make a wide variety of items including key/pen holders, mats, and necklaces, pouches, tissue holders, knitted baby clothes, among others majorly for sell. The only downside of these initiatives is a limited ready market. 

The development of all the projects has students at their center. This is to help them improve all-round not just academically. Gardening is always been shunned by most urban young people. However, Kariobangi North Primary has instilled the value of hard work among its students and letting them know that working their farm can provide them with a good source of food. The students therefore wholly participate in preparing the land, planting, mulching, weeding, watering, and harvesting as well as marketing and selling the crops. To watering is done by innovative home-made sprinkler by pupils made out of plastic bottles with holes supported by a tree stump. All these initiatives develop pupils’ entrepreneurship acumen and skills. This helps them raise money to create more and surplus goes to support the children within the school.

The school also invests its time and resources in promoting sports, poetry, music, drama, and art as a way of communicating environmental information. The school has produced some exemplary students in sports and drama that have gone on to represent the school at various levels. 

The school led to the start of a secondary school, Kariobangi North Secondary school to help increase the transition opportunities for students to join secondary education. They also help support some of their students to secondary by helping them acquire sponsorships. The school projects contribute to imparting vocational skills to weak students academically. They also have a mentorship programme for students every Wednesday.

The school headteacher, Mrs. Jane Njoroge says, “The school is a home and a chance for most of the students to rewrite their futures despite their difficult backgrounds. We have understanding teachers, which is one of the main reasons why they go out of their way to make sure the children explore all possibilities to achieve the greatest heights they seek to reach. And what better way than making them make use of their environment? For there is nothing as diverse and constant as the environment if people learn to use it wisely, just as our school is doing to our students. We have made it a point that no child misses a meal, whether they pay or not, and that is what a truly caring teacher does. Our pupils are now sure of having at least a meal in the day as opposed to the past when they were not sure of what they will eat in a day. The pupils can now concentrate better on their classwork as they now don’t have to worry about where to find meals.”