By David Wandabi – Programs Officer – Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) & Eco-schools Coordinator, KOEE
Educational changes necessary for poverty reduction should not only be content-related but require approaches to teaching and learning that are transformative, community-engaged and relevant to contemporary and future societies- quality education (UNESCO, 2013). Such changes need to be infused by values and ethics that are counter-hegemonic and different to the ‘norm’. Based upon experiences of Kenya Eco-schools Program in formal education in Kenyan primary and secondary schools, it has led toimproved teacher quality and professionalism, enhanced learning environments, innovative curricular approaches, improved school management capacity, and better accountability systems as some of the key drivers of quality education that has helped alleviate extreme poverty by formal education over the decade (Otieno, 2015).
Eco-Schools framework provides numerous opportunities to enhance learner-centred education, through contextualization of learning, through strengthening school-community interactions/partnerships and through enabling active involvement of learners in decision making and a range of contextually meaningful Eco-schools practices. This enables creation of a nexus between formal, informal and non-formal learning (Odek, 2006).
The Eco-schools programme promotes Climate Change Education for Sustainable Agribusiness Development and Risk management(CCESDAR) strategy that provides a useful tool to address challenges of poverty, unemployment and food insecurity in technical, entrepreneurial and industrial training institutes (TVETs) (UNICEF, 2013). Investment in greeningof schools and communities has helped in addressing poverty and unemployment especially among the youths. This has been seen in innovations in agriculture for increased production and value addition developed, e.g. active school gardens for food production using improved farming methods such as organic farming and mulching. This has helped increase food production, make savings for the schools and impart practical skills among learners for survival. Rain water harvesting promoted in schools – has created jobs for artisans, clean water for schools and communities. Biogas technology promoted for green energy, has created jobs for artisans, produces slurry for organic farming and reduces greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) Emissions. Green jobs have also been witnessed in nursery establishment and tree planting in the schools.
Odeke, G.J.E. (2006). Eco-Schools. Completion report for pilot phase 1 for Kenya: Nairobi (Unpublished report), Kenya Organisation for Environmental Education.
Otieno, D.and Odeke, G.Eco-Schools Handbook Starter Pack, Nairobi: Romlan Publishers and Cincom Systems, 2006.
Otieno, D. Faith Based ESD Toolkit, Nairobi: Jacaranda Designs, 2013.
UNESCO.National Journeys Towards ESD, Paris: UNESCO, 2013
UNICEF. Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction in the Education Sector: Resource Manual, New York: UNICEF, 2013.