Environmental Education for Children and Youth

AFRICA ENVIRONMENT

MY FUTURE, MY ENVIRONMENT EDUCATIONAL CAMPAIGN

P.O Box 19499 – 00100

Nairobi.

http://Africa-Environment.info

 

Dear Children and Youths,

 

Wouldn’t you want to be appreciated every time you learn or do something new on your own for the good of the environment? Well, Africa Environment, an umbrella name for Educative environmental initiatives has launched a campaign, My Future, My Environment to reward children and youths as they discover more about their ecosystem.

 

The campaign, which will run once every two months starting 1st October 2011, aims at raising students’/pupils’ awareness of sustainable development and environmental conservation issues via self-study and practice. This we aspire to achieve through:

 

  • Disseminating information that promotes understanding environmental systems and environmental challenges.
  • Encouraging self-learning on environmental aspects through research amongst children and youth.
  • Influencing attitude change and promoting concern for the environment by means of incentives.
  • Impart skills to prevent and mitigate the environmental problems through encouraging participation in exercising acquired knowledge.

 

Pupils enrolled in Kenyan primary and secondary schools are qualified to enter the Educational contest in the three entry categories: Lower primary, upper primary and secondary/high school.

 

Campaign rules can be viewed at our website http://Africa-Environment.info/Rules.doc

Entrants are required to:

 

  • Fill in the entry form, downloadable from http://Africa-Environment.info/EntryForm.doc
  • Answer one question (found on the entry form)
  • Submit a painting or picture showcasing an issue in regards to the environment together with its brief description of not more than 300 words.

 

Winning entries will be awarded USD10 and USD15 for primary and secondary school entrants respectively. Winners in each session of the campaign will be featured in our website and contacted via phone and letter.

 

For more information view our website; http://Africa-Environment.info or write to us with your inquiries at EduCampaign@Africa-Environment.info

 

We look forward to working with you for the betterment of our environment.

Warm Regards,

Africa Environment Team

TECHNOLOGY: Making the most of mobiles

LONDON, 7 September 2011 (IRIN) – It is not often a technology guru will say, “Forget the internet!” but Ken Banks, founder of Kiwanja.net, advocates going back to basics – using mobile phones rather than the internet, and pretty basic phones at that.

While mobile phones are ubiquitous in Africa, the internet has nothing like the same penetration and is almost non-existent in rural areas. Says Banks: “For example, in Zimbabwe, there’s 2-3 percent internet penetration. If your amazing, whizzy mobile tool needs the internet, and you are looking to deploy it in Zimbabwe, you have lost 97 percent of people before you start.”

making the most of mobiles
Even the most basic mobile phones are able to use innovative tools

Dillon Dhanecha’s company, The Change Studio, was trying to distribute management tools and training through the internet, and admits it fell into exactly the trap Banks was describing. “We were developing short YouTube clips and so on, but I was in Rwanda a few weeks ago and trying to access our site from my Smartphone, and it just wasn’t happening.”

But there are plenty of options with even a not-very-smart phone: one of the pioneers was M-Pesa, designed as a tool for repaying microfinance loans. But Kenyans found all kinds of other uses; for instance, people afraid to carry large sums of cash while travelling would send it to themselves for collection at their destination. It was also key to the recent Kenyans for Kenya drought aid funding drive.

Tracking livestock

Another phone-based tool playing an important role in the drought-affected areas of East Africa is EpiCollect, developed by Imperial College, London, which allows the geospatial collation of data collected by mobile phone. Kenyan vets are using it for disease surveillance, monitoring outbreaks, treatments, vaccinations and animal deaths.

Even where there is no mobile-phone signal, they can record data by phone and store it until it can be transferred to a computer, producing an interactive map pinpointing where each observation has been made, with additional information about locality, even photographs, available at the click of a mouse.

Nick Short, of the NGO VetAid, has been greatly impressed by the possibilities, and the fact that ministries of agriculture and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) can now track what is happening in real time.

“When I worked in Botswana,” he says, “We had an outbreak in the northwest of a disease called CBPP. It took us about two-and-a-half months to hear the disease was in the country. By the time we got there about 20,000 cows had died; we ended up killing 300,000 cattle.”

Short is also hoping its use during the current drought will help leverage assistance, helping potential donors pinpoint exactly where their money will be going. “Just watching the BBC is not good enough,” he says. “This way people will actually see the animals they are benefiting.”

Banks has developed an SMS-based tool, Frontline SMS, which will work with even the simplest phones. By connecting a standard mobile phone to a laptop, data can be received or transmitted wherever a basic phone signal is available, without any need for 3G or an internet connection. It is freely available to any not-for-profit organization.

In Afghanistan it has been used to send out security alerts to field workers. It tracks drug availability in clinics across East Africa, and house demolitions in Zimbabwe. Civil society groups in Nigeria have used it to collate information from their election observers, and it is used by a company distributing agricultural pumps in Kenya and Tanzania to keep in touch with farmers. Specialized versions are being developed for health and educational sectors, for NGOs working in law and microfinance, and for community radio stations.

Nay-sayers

But while the developers may be entranced by their tools, some dissenting voices were raised at the 1 September meeting in London. A Ghanaian lawyer, who declined to be named, said: “I find this depressing. Just monitoring is not sufficient; monitoring is just collecting data while people die.”

Short disagreed: “Without these tools no one knows what is happening in remote areas, and if you don’t know what is happening, you can’t do anything about it… If there were an outbreak of disease, we wouldn’t know about it until it was too late, and the animals were already dead.”

Shewa Adeniji, director of a small NGO called Flourish International, which sponsors community clinics in Ghana, expressed wider concerns about Africa’s love-affair with the mobile phone. “There are glaring benefits, but it’s adding to poverty on the ground. You have people in Nigeria struggling to pay 1,000 naira for medical insurance, and yet they will buy 1,000 naira top-up for their phones. These are misplaced priorities and meanwhile the telecom companies are going to African countries to milk them of their money.”

Banks accepted there had been cases of people buying phone credit rather than food or sending their children to school but pointed out that building a transmission network, especially in rural areas, costs money. “If mobile phone [companies] didn’t make money, we wouldn’t have the network of coverage we have. And once the network is there, people can use it… The technology can be used to do both good and bad, and you can’t really control that. You can just as easily spread a hate message as a health message, but you just have to hope that people will use it in a positive way.”

eb/mw
Theme (s): Aid Policy, Early Warning, Food Security, Health & Nutrition,
[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]
Source: http://www.irinnews.org/report.aspx?reportid=93675

My Future, My Environment Campaign

Thank you to all who contributed to making this a success. The competition is now closed.

Our planet continues to suffer the effects of human activity, including land degradation, air pollution and contamination of waters. For the most part due to human activities, the waters have been turned into places of dumping toxins, and arid lands sites for testing and deserting warfare equipment. The wild animals have become a means of quick riches as they are killed for their valuable body parts. The polluted air that we breathe has become the cause of our premature slow deaths. The list is endless. The ability of our natural resources to replenish themselves is being strained by the consumption of the high and rapidly increasing human population.

Yet, mankind remain ignorant, even adamant because of the values we grew up with; values that are no longer sustainable if we are to continue existing in this planet as we know it.

That is why we need environmental education to be a basic subject, not to be taught just formally like mathematics and history, but to be a way of life for the young generation; the leaders of tomorrow.

Environmental Education, as defined in the UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) Tbilisi Declaration (1978) is a learning process that increases people’s knowledge and awareness about the environment and associated challenges, develops the necessary skills and expertise to address the challenges, and fosters attitudes, motivations, and commitments to make informed decisions and take responsible action.

With just as much right to live in comfort utilizing the resources that nature gives unto them, children and youth do not have the option of spending these resources as freely as their predecessors. Their knowledge, attitude and practices have to be focussed on sustainable development and social individual and shared responsibility for the general good of their natural capital. It is their only hope for a future as good as their present life, and can make it even better.

The focus of Africa Environment’s My Future, My Environment educational campaign is mainly on:

  • Disseminating information and imparting knowledge and understanding about the environmental systems and environmental challenges to children and youth.
  • Encouraging and promoting self-learning on environmental aspects through research amongst children and youth.
  • Influencing change of attitude and concern for the environment from a tender age so as to ultimately bring up an environmental conscious generation of mankind.
  • Imparting skills to mitigate the environmental problems through encouraging participation in exercising acquired knowledge.

The core intent of this educational campaign is to foster this necessary change in the lifestyles of the upcoming generation. Their future surely depends on their environment. Our approach is in full recognition that Education is not enough by itself but is a tool which has to be combined with skills and experience to cause any desired change. Change we shall bring.

 

 

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