GGSA Project: Eco-Schools
Creating ambassadors for the environment
Mounting an effective response to the sustainability challenges that have been set before us through the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals is not always about advancing sophisticated arguments, developing large scale spatial plans or providing cutting edge technology. There is a more readily accessible and inclusive approach that focusses on ‘small’! As much as these knowledge based, scientific approaches are important, the role of building awareness and advocacy in society, whilst starting small, has the potential to build into a movement and ultimately a natural way of thinking, both regionally and globally.
One of Green Growth Solutions Asia’s (GGSA) approaches to achieving green growth and sustainability is to identify projects that have a special people-to-people element and an envisioning content that can build awareness, galvanise people to make a response and create advocates for the environment. The Eco-Schools Programme that GGSA will be implementing in the State of Melaka, Malaysia in 2017 is one of these special initiatives. In short, the programme is implemented through primary and secondary school by the teachers themselves and the students undertake a school project that responds to a particular environmental need in their location. The goal is to make a lasting impact on their attitude towards the environment, and in so doing, make them an ambassador for green issues – for life!
The Eco-Schools Programme was launched in 1994 by the Foundation for Environmental Education Europe, later to become Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), in a number of European countries as a response to the needs discussed during the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development a couple of years earlier. Today, FEE has over 80 member organisations in 68 countries worldwide, with more than 15 million students across 58 countries being involved in the Eco Schools Programme.
The implementation of the Eco Schools Programme at the state level in Melaka will be undertaken in a collaborative effort between GGSA and WWF-Malaysia. Mr. Balamurugan, CEO GGSA explained,
‘Melaka has been chosen for the concerted roll out of the Eco Schools Programme from a strategic perspective because of its proven commitment to championing sustainability and green growth.The pioneering, innovative and highly respected Malacca Green City Programme supported by The Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand Growth Triangle (IMT-GT), the Asian Development Bank and the Chief Minister of the State of Malacca is testament to this ongoing commitment.’
Talking about the Eco-Schools Programme, YAB Datuk Seri Ir. Hj. Idris bin Hj. Haron, Chief Minister of Melaka said,
‘It is very encouraging that The Eco-Schools Programme is to be rolled out in such a meaningful and well-designed manner in schools throughout Melaka. This is an important educational project that will embolden thousands of school children to understand the importance of responding to issues that place our environment in danger. This programme brings us one step closer in realising the Melaka State Government‘s aspiration of establishing Melaka as a Green Technology State.’
Mr. Balamurugan, declared his excitement in implementing the Eco-Schools Programme in 2017. He said,
‘The Eco-School Programme is a wonderful people-to-people initiative that will involve students, teachers, university lecturers, volunteers, the local community, local government and even the private sector. We will provide capacity building to the teachers who will run the project in their schools and they will also receive mentoring support from university lecturers that will also be envisioned on the programme. Parents get involved through the school’s Parent Teachers Association and the broader community gets involved directly in the project that is undertaken by the school.’
Another interesting aspect of the programme’s implementation is that GGSA has received interest from many private sector organisations that are willing to arrange school trips to visit their operations and see how they are seeking to make their ventures sustainable in practice.
After each school undertakes its own project over the course of the year, the projects are assessed with the support of the volunteers and they have the opportunity to be awarded with a Bronze or Silver accreditation. Where a school considered by WWF-Malaysia has excelled, it can be awarded by FEE with the prestigious Green Flag award. The students all receive certificates celebrating their involvement in the programme and the state will be awarding its own prizes.
As can be seen, the programme aims to influence a single student and in the process the local community. As The Eco-School Programme global head office in Denmark put it, ‘Ensure young people have power to be the change for sustainability that our world needs by engaging them in fun, action-orientated and socially responsible learning.’ GGSA believes strongly in this programme claiming that in this way we are engaging the youth of today to protect the climate of tomorrow.
Creating ambassadors for the environment
If you would like to get involved in an Eco-School Programme initiative in your area, particularly as a volunteer, then please Contact Us. We have a special Volunteer Kit that we would like to send you.
Sponsoring the Eco-Schools Programme
Importantly, if you would like to become a valued sponsor for the programme, please visit our Eco-School Programme Sponsor Invitation page. You will see that there are many ways in which you can sponsor the programme and many different benefits that can be generated for your organisation.