Child-Led Environmental Education Initiative
Why is project needed?
There are severe and mounting environmental challenges facing Albania that affect child welfare and infringe the child’s right to the highest attainable standard of health. Air quality is officially categorized as alarming in major urban centres; wastewater is not treated and regularly leaks into clean water and freshwater systems; solid wastes are not properly collected or processed, and contribute both to air and water pollution. These problems affect child welfare in several ways. For example, acute respiratory infections remain the most common cause of child morbidity and mortality, and certain respiratory infections are on the rise. There are periodic outbreaks of disease affecting children due to drinking water contamination, while many beaches that children visit are officially considered polluted. Many children live in neighbourhoods where rubbish accumulates in the street. In pollution hotspot areas, there are abnormally high levels of birth defects.
To address these environmental challenges, various regulatory mechanisms, fiscal incentives, investments in infrastructure and other measures are being developed. However, underlying many of these challenges is a lack of awareness and understanding of environmental issues, and especially among children at the primary level. Until now there have been few initiatives to raise children’s awareness and understanding of environmental issues, and to get them to participate in cleaning up, protecting and preserving the environment.
It is this project’s aim to raise children awareness and understanding of environmental issues, fostering positive attitudes and encouraging child-led environmental actions.
Who will benefit?
Children of grades 1-5 will have improved environmental awareness, understanding and abilities. This way they will be important actors in safeguarding their environment, but also act as catalysts for behaviour change in their communities.
Teachers will be trained to improve their teaching methodology by using active learning methods in which children have an opportunity to focus on topics of interest, to apply knowledge and develop skills, and to take action. They also will be able to identify learning objectives, including not only knowledge but the development of life skills, and to monitor individual progress.
Schools will have more opportunities to use active learning methods as a tool to achieve better results for their students. Also schools will have a chance to be real partner and contributor in community life.
Who are the partners?
Project’s principal partners are:
• Ministry of Education and Science (MOES)
Technical assistance for the project will be provided mainly by the Child-to-Child Trust of the United Kingdom. The Trust has developed the effective and successful Child-to-Child teaching-learning methodology, which has demonstrated impact in numerous countries, including in the CEE/CIS region.
The project is overseen by a Steering Committee made up of the MoES, the MEFWM, UNICEF, ICT and the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. A working group of specialists from MOES, ICT, and MEFWM is set up working with Child- to- Child in developing curriculum for Environmental Education. Two NGOs, one for the coordination and one for the social mobilization of the communities will also be part of the working group together with the UNICEF project officer.
What are the expected results?
By the end of three years, the project plans as outcomes that in 1,944 of the country’s primary classes (that is, approximately 15 per cent):
In figures, this means that:
- at least 80 per cent of the children in the targeted classes will have mastered the environmental competencies of the curriculum; have positive attitudes towards the environment; and have acted to improve the environment in the school, home and community;
- 475 schools are able to define their environmental objectives;
- 1944 teachers in primary schools trained and supported to implement the environmental studies curriculum;
- 100 schools become ‘Child-to-Environment’ schools, that pursue a minimum environmental goals with the support and help of the community;
To accomplish these goals, the project will work in three main areas:
1. Development of the curriculum core.
2. Capacity building of all actors involved in the project. The main activities will be:
- development of training programmes (including associated materials) for teachers, and for Principals and Regional Educational Directorates
3. Community mobilization, to assist children in carrying out environmental action plans. This will be done in three ways.
- establishing a seed fund which will provide grants to schools and their communities to carry out environmental actions that go beyond the school boundaries.