Unesco Green Citizens

WESSA Eco-Schools programme

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Project begin: 01/01/2001

Eco-Schools in South Africa give students the opportunity to actively contribute to the local community with a hands-on approach designed to drive positive change.

Leading organisation: Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (WESSA)
The country where the team is based: South Africa
Theme: Education for Sustainable Development
Sub-themes: Agriculture, Cities, Climate change, Cultural diversity, Energy, Environment, Food and food security, Forests and desertification, Gender equality and women's empowerment, Knowledge sharing, Natural disasters risk reduction, Poverty and inequality reduction, Resources management, Sustainable lifestyles, Waste management
Tag: #Africa #Women #Youth
Selection: 2021
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Just like Nelson Mandela, WESSA Schools Programme Manager Cindy-Lee Cloete is convinced that education is the most powerful weapon to change the world. To give young people the skills and knowledge to actively shape change, environmental conservation organisation WESSA launched Eco-Schools, the world’s largest sustainable development education programme.  Deployed in South African schools, it mobilises teachers and students to tackle local social and environmental problems. Beyond the schools, often situated in rural communities and townships, the projects also directly benefit the local community.

Learning about the environment, hands on

Based on 7 steps, the programme guides teachers and students in choosing and implementing projects in relation to 11 different themes: biodiversity and nature, energy, health and wellbeing, marine & coastal environments, water, transport, climate change, community and heritage, waste, school land and ecotourism. Adapting to school programmes, WESSA Eco-Schools also enable online workgroups with teachers to foster a community, share resources, experiences and best practices.

In 2019, 19,711 teachers and 751,855 students took part in 1,563 environmental projects.

The secret to success? A fun learning method that instils responsibility and focuses on concrete action.

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