Students in Armenia create local climate solutions
Students in Armenia launch innovative community-driven approaches to climate challenges
The climate crisis is a child rights crisis, with the youngest and most vulnerable children bearing the greatest toll. Children in Armenia are already feeling its impact and are taking action and creating solutions.
This year, students and teachers across Armenia dedicated themselves to fostering eco-friendly solutions to take on global problem and create local solutions.
A green lifestyle challenge
In an effort to reduce a growing mountain of waste in Yeghegnadzor, Armenia, residents burn up to two tons of garbage every week.
A group of 15 eighth graders from Yeghegnadzor public school #2 have been studying the causes of climate change and its consequential risks. Led by UNICEF trained teachers, the young students have undertaken project work, addressing critical questions about the detrimental impact of burning garbage and the urgent need for waste reduction measures.
At the heart of this project lays a vital mission: to raise public awareness and devise solutions for enhancing waste management while mitigating the adverse consequences of waste incineration.
Through project implementation, students frequently take the initiative to search for information and acquire new knowledge. The project-based work empowers students to transition from passive listeners to active and creative individuals.
The groups focused on exploring the correlation between climate change and the burning of garbage, delved into studying relevant legislation and state policies about the issue and conducted an analysis of policies implemented by different countries. They also conducted interviews with residents, local officials that oversee environmental issues, and specialists, comparing statistical data and analysing the overall findings.
While the teachers and students have united around a shared goal: to create a cleaner and a greener community, this vision requires the support of the state.
From Climapolis to COP
Narek and Yerazik, 18, are from the town of Vedi in Armenia’s Ararat province. Last year they participated in the United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP27, as the first young delegates from Armenia to represent the voices of their generation.
In 2021, Narek and a group of friends founded start-up initiative, Climapolis, in their hometown of Vedi. Climapolis is a game consisting of two main components: an educational component on climate change and a boardgame that visualizes the effects of climate change on a community.
The game’s goal is to raise awareness around climate change and provide players with knowledge on what actions can be taken at different levels.
Armenia is in a region that is highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, which prompted the group to take on the challenge of addressing this global issue within their local community.
"We departed from Armenia not merely as members of Armenia’s delegation but also as trailblazers in the battle against climate change and as representatives from our region, a duty we deemed incredibly significant,” said Yerazik reliving his experience at COP27.
Following the conference, Narek and Yerazik joined forces with UNICEF National Ambassador Malena to orchestrate a climate change awareness campaign to educate young individuals about the issue.
These days, Narek and Yerazik are busy advancing Climapolis to reach more people.
School students in Vardenis champion garbage sorting initiative
In Vardenis, Armenia, unsorted garbage is disposed of in a communal landfill. The practice has caused concern for several years with local authorities urging for the closure of the landfill due to its detrimental effects. The unmanaged waste spreads to neighboring areas through the wind and by animals but also emits a noxious odor that has become intolerable among residents.
In Spring 2023, eighth-grade students and teachers from Vardenis public school No. 3 engaged the local community to promote environmental responsibility and support with mitigating the effects of climate change.
To empower and support students, teachers completed training sessions on project-based learning on climate change. During the last academic year, 430 teachers from 33 consolidated communities across Armenia were trained, equipping them with the necessary skills to guide middle-school students in project-based learning.
During the training, teachers gained substantial knowledge about climate change, which they eagerly shared and discussed, which helped them work with students to identify waste management as a key priority.
There are plans underway to establish a waste processing plant in Gegharkunik. In the meantime, the school has been equipped with waste bins for paper, plastic and glass, provided by the municipality. By actively participating in waste sorting, students aim to set a positive example that inspires adults to follow suit, fostering a culture of responsible waste management.