JGI initiates and supports environmental education initiatives in areas where communities can benefit from knowledge about the importance of preserving biodiversity and living in harmony with the environment.
To foster knowledge, appreciation and responsible behavior for Uganda’s forests as well as for the chimpanzees that live within them, JGI-Uganda has established a holistic environmental education (EE) program geared toward Uganda’s primary schools. The program uses the forest as a living classroom to teach children basic ecology and encourage them to take action to help the environment. Programs operate in the 4 areas of Uganda where remaining viable chimpanzee populations are found: Kibale, Budongo, Bugoma and the Kalinzu/Kasyoha- Kitomi forest area. We are focusing at the primary school level and working with schools in Kabarole, Kyenjojo, Bundibugyo and Kamwenge Districts.
The education program uses material development, training workshops, field centers, and Jane Goodall's Roots & Shoots program to get children excited about the environment. We have developed a set of Environmental Education Teachers Guides, which integrate EE into the current primary school curriculum. And to help build teaching capacity, we run EE workshops for teachers.
The material development and training components work together to support primary school teachers in an effort to help improve on the quality and quantity of EE taught within school settings. They are complemented by the field centers and the Roots & Shoots program, which gives pupils a chance to experience nature first-hand and are avenues through which they can practically implement the knowledge they've gained.
By developing educational curriculum that fits with national education regulations, students’ environmental knowledge will deepen without undermining or complicating a teacher’s classroom. We work with the government and education administrators to build a conservation ethic and environmental pride for the unique and diverse ecosystems that Ugandans live in.
Tanzania is rich in coastal and marine resources, including coral reefs, mangrove forests and a large variety of fish species. But pollution and commercial activities such as blast fishing with dynamite and mining coral reefs for lime threaten the East African nation's fragile coastal and marine ecosystems.
A Roots & Shoots program supported by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) creates greater awareness of these problems and inspire action on the part of Tanzanian youth. The program implements Roots & Shoots service learning and environmental education in coastal regions, to help nurture a new generation of leaders committed to environmental action. The Roots & Shoots approach is youth-driven and hands-on, supporting students as they study problems in their communities, come up with solutions under the guidance of a teacher or youth leader, and take action. Service projects range from a beach clean-up to an awareness campaigns on overfishing.
The Environmental Education Program also is designed to help further cultural understanding. It involves Tanzanian public school students as well as students who attend madrassas, or Islamic schools which offer religious teachings on the Holy Koran.
Photo: Kristen Mosher