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ADVOCATES OF THE MONTH RECOGNIZED BY THE GLOBAL SCHOOLS PROGRAM.

Written by Abigail Chifusa, Global Schools Project Officer.


The Global Schools Program recognizes and celebrates the achievements of our Advocates. Each month, Advocates are featured and given the spotlight for their endless contributions to Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). Below are the featured 7 September Advocates of the Month.


AMOS O. OUMA


Amos O. Ouma is the current school manager at Oremo School and a chairperson to Education Empowerment for Rural and Urban Slums initiative (EERUi) organization, which is in charge of teaching learners at the right level in Kenya. 


Amos is also a Global School Advocate, a title he received after completing a successful training session by the Global School Advocacy team through the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) under the auspices of the UN. 


In his role as an activist, and a GS Advocate, he has to a greater extent implemented ESD activities. In his advocacy roadmap, he has held a number of workshops with both teachers and learners, not excluding a section of community members who are parents to some of his students.


At the onset, it was interesting to note that some of those whom he interacted with including teachers had scant knowledge on SDGs. Statistics drawn from his interviews and sharing indicated that less than 10% of the interviewees apparently had heard about the SDGs but had practically done nothing with the information. To salvage the situation, he was propelled to start from scratch by first introducing the SDGs concept and further elucidating on their importance tothe whole sphere of development.


At the school level, with the help of fellow teachers, Amos carried out a number of classroom and school wide activities that inspired and helped learners develop a better and deeper understanding of sustainable development and their contributions to a stable and sustainable society. He further encouraged teachers to have a Global Goals Chart that would see learners mount pictures, cutouts and what they were possibly able to lay their hands on that would help to demonstrate the significance of sustainable development.


As part of school wide activities, Amos came up with the school cone garden project that will address a number of SDGs - to mention specifically numbers 1 (No poverty), 2 (Zero hunger) and 3 (good health and well-being). Meanwhile, cones have been raised and a variety of vegetables that are to be consumed at school and taken home. Thehe rest/surplus will be sold, and the proceeds will be used to buy pesticides and to expand the cone garden activities planted. The objective is to spur motivation to parents and the community making them aware of the fact that it is possible to curb food insecurity amongst other SDGs to make the planet a hospitable, habitable, and a better place to live in for this generation and others to come.


So far, Amos has conducted workshops with different cadres of people, that is, teachers, learners and community members. In all cases, the aim was to introduce SDGs and encourage collaboration and communication besides self efficacy for the purposes of implementing the noble cause of ESD. One major breakthrough is that he has not met any form of resistance so far as people are willing to be part of the whole process and are ready to give support towards the achievement of these SDGs.


Amos is planning to hold a workshop to review the progress of both the classroom and school wide activities as his Advocate journey continues. This will help address the challenges so far encountered so that they are mitigated or averted to divert any possible failure or retrogression of nature by providing sustainable solutions.


In order to promote a community based approach, learners will be encouraged to extend the practice so far learnt in ESD to their homes and will be requested to involve their parents who are now aware of the need to implement SDGs within their surroundings and beyond. This is an innovative way to introduce ESD concepts and create a sense of love and responsibility among community members.


Amos is also planning to see that every classroom has a waste bin for proper waste disposal. He wants to see a clean school environment, an increased number of trees and the issue of food security addressed. He also has a plan to extend the school garden by employing the use of sacks and containers, as space is limited. Learners are also expected to collect plastic bottles and refurbish them into a useful product or take them to a factory for recycling. The aspect of climate action will be demonstrated by mitigating the effects of environmental pollution within the school by cleaning the school fish pond and planting trees both at school and at home.


One of the major concerns Amos is planning to address adequately is gender equality targeting the boy child who has been for a long time neglected at the expense of a girl child. “This is an issue under discussion and head teachers have started rolling on boy child empowerment,” he said.


Lastly, Amos hopes that his final meeting will present an opportunity for the teachers and the stakeholders to summarize their experiences and probably give their opinion and assurance on the continuity of the program from what they have practically learnt.


ARIFE SAHIN KESICI


Arife Sahin Kesici is a Global Schools Advocate who has introduced the Global Schools Program to her school administrative group at TED Ronesans College in Turkey.


She has explained her roles and responsibilities as a Global Schools Advocate which involves the adoption of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as long-term school goals. She welcomed the teachers with green pencil gifts containing meaningful messages that will increase the awareness of the teachers at the beginning of the school year, making decisions regarding the use of glass water bottles and thermoses in school living areas. Arife has established a committee that plans and follows activities that will cover the entire school for studies related to SDGs.


Furthermore, Arife made a presentation to the entire school community explaining the aim of the Global Schools Program as well as SDGs. She conducted her presentation in a way where the boards in the living areas and classrooms of the school were arranged to draw attention to the SDGs. During her presentation, she also emphasized the importance of teachers including sustainable development in their lesson plans.


Arife quoted Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Turkish Republic; "The assurance of the future is based on a solid education, and education is based on the teacher." This emphasizes the importance of education and teaching and Arife added that teachers have a sacred role to raise future generations. One of the important needs of today’s age is to gain sensitivity about global problems and to act consciously in the solution of these problems.

She further added that the Global Schools Program draws attention to the important role of teachers in educational activities and offers a meaningful framework for producing solutions to global problems with sustainable development goals. She said the aim of this advocacy by the Global Schools Program is to inspire different stakeholders of the school community to raise awareness about sustainable development goals and to find solutions to global problems together where children are actively involved.


DARSHANA KALYANPUR


Darshana Kalyanpur is a teacher at the Global Indian International School in Singapore. She has been incorporating Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) in the class regularly from the time she became a Global Schools (GS) Program Advocate for SDGs. Darshana has always shown interest in doing something for the planet and her community. The appointment as GS Advocate has given her the opportunity to reach out to larger communities. She constantly looks for ideas and opportunities to do things that can have an impact on the students and teachers in her school, by giving them direction on how small things done can also make a difference in everyone’s life and to the people around them. She is positive that throughout the advocacy journey as GS Advocate, she can involve more people from the teaching community in her country to join in the mission of achieving the SDGs.


EIRENE CHRISTA LUTURMAS


Eirene Christa Luturmas is a curriculum coordinator and teacher trainer who has helped teachers carry out two interdisciplinary, project-based learnings:


(1) Healthy Food and Habits lesson that encouraged grade 4 students to record and analyze their food intake and physical exercises, thus, coming up with doable actions to improve healthy dietary and habits. 


(2) Human Respiratory System lesson that engaged grade 5 students to analyze the school environment and come up with actionable plans to improve clean air circulation to preserve respiratory health. 


“It took extra effort and time to coordinate teachers to plan, collaborate, and implement the lessons. Yet, it was worth doing as students developed greater management and critical thinking skills throughout the project,” she said.


Furthermore, Eirene’s students felt that they were given voices and the power to act for change despite their young age. Parents also added that the students' project presentations went beyond their expectation and made them proud. 


Together with the leadership board, Eirene also launched a Green School Program involving 3 sub-projects namely: 


1. Encouraging students, parents, and teachers to minimize using single-use plastics and promote sustainable lifestyles by bringing their own water bottles to schools, using lunch boxes instead of plastic wrap/bags, as well as recycling plastic waste for events decorations instead of buying new plastic materials.


 2. Avoiding food waste by encouraging parents to prepare just enough food for students to bring to school; giving rewards to students as they finish their food. 


3. Training upper-grade students in plantation skills and delegating thema specific responsibility to take care of a plantation area at the school.


The Green Schools program was excitedly welcomed by her school members especially the students. Eirene and the school leadership team plan to keep the momentum going by having Green Class(es) competitions where they will be awarding class(es) that demonstrate consistent commitments and efforts to make our school greener through the program.


NURADEEN MUKHTAR


Nuradeen Mukhtar is a Global School Advocate in the 2022 cohort who started his advocacy immediately after he got the appointment. Nuradeen has initiated the Idea of developing SDGs Club in the school he is working at in Nigeria (Government Basic Education School Sultan Bello, Kaduna, Nigeria.) In the club, students and community members engage in a series of training on Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations. 


He expanded his work by involving the Kaduna North Local Education Secretary to ensure the aims of empowering and equipping young people to become knowledgeable, effective and compassionate leaders of the future.  He is also looking forward to involving the Kaduna State Universal Basic Education Board on a way to expand the advocacy at the state level.


Nuradeen Mukhtar has over 9 years of experience in community development where he works with students, children and vulnerable people where he specializes in career, education, ICT, personal and sustainable development.


SHAHNAAZ OJHA


Shahnaaz Ojha is a teacher at Delhi Public school, lava, Nagpur in India, which is now in the Map of World Peace Song project and uses the power of music to bring peace in the world. Shahnaaz is the teacher in charge of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) club in her school and has undertaken various activities across age groups from 10-16 years old, such as waste paper recycling, waste collection drives and collaborations such as 1) "tomatoes for tomorrow" with Sri Lanka, 2) 3D models "Beat the floods"resilient houses, 3) Environment Quiz and 4) Organic farming. She has collaborated with others in the Philippines to carry out cultural festivals in their language, and in the future,, she will be working on the Climate Action Project, Transforming education and the International SDGs collaborative project cohort III. Her Collaborations with schools in different countries works to achieve SDG 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions) to build a harmonious world.


WARSHA SAWANT


Warsha Sawant has been an active Advocate throughout in propagating awareness about the SDGs. Not only does she make sure that the SDGs are incorporated in her day to day teaching, but also conducts several activities to spread awareness about these goals in her class and the whole school. She engages the children in her school with a purpose. Ms. Sawant assigned the learners  to research about different SDGs and then present it in the class. She was also a part of the Interhouse Singing Competition in which the children presented their songs based on the theme of SDGs. Furthermore, she was an active participant in the school plantation drive in the month of August where she tried to incorporate SDGs in her class teaching plans and her assemblies. She is quite motivated to make these goals a success by instilling values and the required awareness about the SDGs amongst  the children and other people around her.





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