Nature Reserve and Environment Centre
The Mukuvisi Woodlands Eco Schools Programme ‘My Environment My Future My Responsibility’ – The Mukuvisi Woodlands– Engaging schools in education for sustainable development through School Environmental Clubs
Education plays a vital role in encouraging the sustainable lifestyles required to care for our environment. The Mukuvisi Woodlands Eco Schools Programme aims to achieve sustainable environmental management by integrating environmental education into the national curriculum and empowering teachers and learners to implement environmental policies at school level.
The Eco-Schools Programme follows a model used in over 52 countries worldwide, including South Africa. To meet the challenge of environmental stewardship, capacity building is key to success. The Programme provides school children with hands-on experiences and opportunities to tackle issues and concerns in their own environments. They gain knowledge and develop a positive attitude towards solving environmental problems.
Because of their hands-on and self-study components, projects in this Programme allow children to develop skills such as time management, working with people, public speaking, self-motivation, observation, recording data, and classifying and identifying issues.
The programme helps foster the development of children's potential by exposing them to new situations. Children stretch their capacity to handle the world, improving their self-image, confidence and autonomy in the process. It also helps inspire children’s interest in and appreciation of their environment.
They gain an awareness of burning current environmental issues such as global warming, pollution, wildlife habitat and wetland destruction and loss, deforestation, over-population and poor sanitation, and learn at a young age that these problems are everyone’s problems and that each individual can be part of their solution.
This Environmental Education Programme was developed by the Mukuvisi Woodlands Education Unit as an adaptation of the Eco-Schools Programme practised globally. The Programme aims to improve environmental management at the School and facilitate active environmental learning.
Schools Environmental Clubs choose a project of their choice from the list of Themes, while teachers draw on these practical projects to strengthen environmental learning at the school. The Programme is linked directly with the Plan of Action outlined in the Millennium Declaration, signed at the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development, which aims to deliver Agenda 21 Commitments by involving people of all ages and nationalities through formal school education, training of staff and general awareness raising.
The Eco-Schools Programme is also in line with the Zimbabwe National Environmental Education Policy and Strategies (July 2004, revised June 2009). This is a Schools Development Programme designed to encourage whole-school learning and action for a healthy environment.
To date, over 100 educational institutions including schools, colleges and universities, have subscribed to the Mukuvisi Woodlands Eco Schools Programme, signing up and attending one or more events organised by the Mukuvisi Woodlands or starting a Change Project at their school or both.
What the Member Schools do
This environmental learning programme seeks to improve environmental management, beginning at the school. The School Environmental Clubs choose a Theme, then propose and develop a project of their choice.
The Club Patron, usually a teacher, liaises with Club Members to identify a problem around their theme and suggest possible solutions, to be implemented through a practical hands-on Change Project.
Teachers draw on these practical projects to strengthen environmental learning at the school. The project must offer children a hands-on experience and a chance to develop knowledge and positive attitudes about tackling environmental issues. It must allow children to develop skills such as time management, working effectively with other people and public speaking. Club Members identify an environmental problem within their environment and suggest a practical solution.
The Mukuvisi Woodlands Eco Schools Programme at year end does an evaluation of School Project Feasibility and identifies Environmental Steward Award Winners.
To be considered, an Eco-Report or School Profile Report must be submitted, containing all of the following, which are the minimum requirements for Eco-Schools status. All components must be clearly labelled. Reports are assessed on the quality and depth of these sections, not only on their presence in the portfolio.
BECOMING AN ECO-SCHOOL
Any educational institution in Zimbabwe, including Early Learning Centres, Primary and Secondary Schools, whether public or private, and Tertiary institutions such as Teacher Training Colleges and Universities are eligible. Teachers need the background to initiate environment clubs as they enter new schools on graduation and deployment. It takes a passionate teacher to lead an environmental club. The administration must give consent and the whole school is expected to participate, including the Teacher–Parent body (SDC/SDA).
Interested schools can collect an Application Form from Mukuvisi Woodlands Education Centre, complete and submit it. On submission a Starter Pack is supplied.
To become an Eco-Schools Club Member, work must be done both at classroom and whole school level. The following steps are recommended:
Form an Eco-Club: ideally the Enviro–Club leads to the transformation of the whole school into an Eco-School involving teachers, parents, SDA/SDC/PTA and other community members.
Write an Eco-Code: A statement of the ideals for which the school strives in environmental management and learning, and a description of how teachers and learners will conduct themselves in this regard.
Carry out an environmental audit and choose a Theme: Take a good look at of the school. Identify an environmental problem and decide what can be done about it, and how to improve the school’s environmental status, and the environmental learning that takes place there. The challenge is identified from the following themes:
Plan for Teaching and Learning: Select a Theme, identify an opportunity for environmental improvement, and identify environmental learning opportunities provided by environmental problems at the school that relate to topics in the curriculum and the Theme chosen. Schools must teach at least three lessons related to their chosen Theme during the year as part of their Eco-School Programme.
Plan and Take Action: The whole school audit and specific theme audit will have shown which areas of environmental management need attention. Action involving the whole school should be taken and should include the wider community as well, where possible.
Evaluation criteria for the Best Eco Schools Club
Environmental Stewards Certification. To qualify for the overall best Environment Club of the Year.
2015 Mukuvisi Woodlands Eco Challenge Prize Winners
To Find out more, and to join the Eco Schools Programme, Contact: The Programme Coordinator,