Written by Abigail Chifusa, Global Schools Project Officer.
Every month, the Global Schools Program (GSP) recognizes and celebrates the achievements of Advocates. These Advocates are featured and given the spotlight for their endless contributions to Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). Below are the seven featured Advocates recognized for the month of October.
AGNELLA GUZHA (Zimbabwe)
Agnella Guzha is a Global Schools Program Advocate from Zimbabwe whose journey as an Advocate began in September of 2022.
Since then, Agnella successfully introduced the initiative to implement Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to the school Administration who happily embraced the idea. The School authorities also noted that ESD has been in the school curriculum through project-based learning that occurs in the last two years before the learners write their exams.
During a staff opening meeting at the school, the authorities allowed Agnella to carry out a mini-workshop on SDGs and also used the same platform to inform the teachers of the need to integrate them into their teaching and learning activities.
Additionally, Agnella formed a Club called The SDG Team, composed of enthusiastic students and a junior teacher. The team has successfully carried out different campaigns at school assemblies, class assemblies, and various learner gatherings where they speak and teach about SDGs. The students managed to spark interest and curiosity in other learners through their designed presentations and posters. The team's main goal is to work on waste management at the school because waste disposal has proven to be a challenge to the school and the environment. The SDG team and their teacher have planned that by December 2022, there should be no litter burnt or carelessly disposed of within the school environment. Additionally, The SDG Club chapter at Dendera High School held a fundraising entertainment event where they raised a few dollars. From this money, the school is in the process of installing large waste collection cages made from steel and metal from old hostel beds. These will be used as drop-off sites for different types of litter, from plastic to paper, as well as plastic bottles. Paper material will then be disposed of into the already dug-up school compost hole, whereas plastic bottles will be used to help with irrigation at the school and community gardens. By the end of 2022, the school will not need to buy manure for its gardens.
Furthermore, Agnella is taking advantage of the knowledge about SDGs as she has been able to design tasks for the project-based learning activities with them at the Center. As a Literature and language teacher, she designed coursework tasks that saw learning to incorporate several ESD competencies. "I have worked with the Languages department Head of Department (HOD) in designing some of the tasks to be given to learners for their Coursework integrating ESDs," she said.
Advocacy work has shown Agnella new ways to make education relevant to life. Integrating SDGs in class activities has, in a big way, made students understand why they are in school and helped them to be equipped with ideas and knowledge so that they are able to come up with solutions to solve problems in their immediate environment. This work has a lot of impact and is opening young minds with a confining but broad-based curriculum. Agnella said she is glad to be advocating for such a change in education.
FEDERICA ROBERTA GIORGIA QUARTESAN (Italy)
Federica Quartesan is a high school Science teacher at Centro Studi Casnati (Como, Italy). For the past few years, Federica has been coordinating the multidisciplinary department of STEM subjects. Her personal interest around environmental topics, and the spontaneous attempt of her students to play their part in supporting the 2030 Agenda during active learning experiences drove her to become a Global Schools Program Advocate.
The GSP Advocate role has led to Federica being nominated as Civics Department coordinator in her school and starting an articulated workshop with several goals.
Firstly, with the support of her School Leadership, Federica implemented a strategy for effectively integrating the ESD teaching structure into her school curriculum teaching system (whole-of-school), and in particular, to integrate UNESCO and Global Schools schemes – student’s competencies, learning objectives articulated over the three domains, and pedagogical/methodological issues. This switch resulted in the decision to upgrade all the planning templates used by the teaching staff by looking at the “Global Schools Lesson plan template” as a unique model to adapt to any programming situation.
Secondly, the variety of extra-curricular activities that Centro Studi Casnati school was already engaging in to enrich the different study pathways (language high school, art high school, scientific high school, hotel management school, and aeronautical institute) provided a springboard to implement a new strategy to integrate this potential into the development of a school-wide action to celebrate specific SDGs while trying to follow the United Nations (UN) international celebrations calendar. Examples of extra-curricular activities could be art exhibitions showcasing works by the art high school students, dinners open to families with the hotel school students cooking, snacks in the courtyard for primary school children and foreign language translations for local newspapers by the language high school students.
Therefore, with the support of the school leadership team, Federica also started planning a new youth-focused school project as a way to involve and inspire a larger community, both at a national and international level. The name of the project will be “Casnati ESD,” and it will be configured as a new bilingual (Italian/English) section of the school’s website which collects the school-wide activities and builds storytelling that could inform, educate, and inspire anyone who wants to connect with the website or the affiliated social media channels. The aim is to implement this project during the ongoing school year and then apply to affiliate it with SDSN Youth and be part of career networks driven to sustainable development. Federica is also already working with the communication manager for the school to implement a strategy to communicate school-wide and class-specific actions celebrating the SDGs to the school community.
The following segment of the advocacy workshop was to engage all the teachers of Centro Studi Casnati school in the commitment to the GSP by providing knowledge and tools for teachers' training. The first meeting scheduled for September introduced the new planning templates, the role of the Global School Program in the field of ESD, and the decision to integrate the ESD teaching structure into the curricular teaching structure. The meeting also provided the opportunity to introduce a new Moodle course that Federica elaborated for teachers' self-paced training over ESD so that all her colleagues can access UNESCO resources, GSP classroom activities, the introduction of SEL, etc.
Federica is currently spearheading a small working team composed of her colleagues that will support the management of the ESD teaching integration and the development of strategies to enhance the potential of the different study pathways of the school.
Additionally, among the first classroom activities organized, there are flipped classroom activities or other active learning tasks that will result in products to be collected firstly within the single classroom environment but later on presented to other classes by means of peer-to-peer conferences, art exhibitions, and more, in order to share the knowledge and the experience acquired, thus activating a school-wide action mechanism. Then, the same activities will be showcased on the Casnati ESD website, which is still being developed, to teach and inspire the larger community.
JENNY CHAVUSH (Turkey)
Having supported many global causes over the years as an educator and a citizen of the world, Jenny Chavush, the IBDP coordinator at FMV Isik High School in Turkey, became a Global Schools Advocate to introduce and spread the GSP mission to her school community.
As part of her commitment, she has supported the school's administrative faculty and the pedagogical team to build upon their accomplishments, related to the global goals, that they have already been involved in for the last decade. Jenny has also been holding regular meetings and workshops with the teachers, in which everyone is informed about the developments and encouraged to participate in the SDG activities.
In her school, the SDGs are meticulously embedded into the lesson plans and formative assessment procedures. The student body is well aware of what is expected of them as the young members of a global school, and they also know that it is their individual mission to spread the idea to their household, neighborhood, and friend groups.
Jenny uses every opportunity to bring the aims and goals of sustainable development to the surface, turning it into a live experience. She inspires and motivates the students to connect their IBDP CAS experiences and projects with the GSP mission. The achievements and products of the dedicated student body and the pedagogical team can be well observed in the school, with the evidence being shared on social media, displayed on the walls, and broadcasted on the school's closed-circuit TV.
JOANNA ZIELIŃSKA (Poland)
Joanna Zielińska is a qualified English Second Language teacher in a public high school in Poland, where she is also a school coordinator and Advocate for the Global Schools Program.
Having successfully completed the training program of GSP, she now serves as an official local representative of the program and works to integrate SDGs and ESD into lessons and other activities within her school.
In September, she managed to carry out numerous workshops and both classroom and school-wide activities that helped her colleagues and students develop their knowledge of SDGs and ESD.
The school she works at is the first school in Poland to sign the Global Schools Pledge, and with Joanna as the leader being an Advocate, they have already implemented a number of SDG projects. One of the priorities is to make students aware of the importance of science and the environment in today’s world. Her school started cooperating with the local university to promote science, develop students’ scientific thinking and lab skills, and help students choose the best job career path in the future. Consequently, the students regularly participate in lab workshops in the Department of Biological Science.
She believes that “students will achieve at levels far beyond what is expected if you give them the opportunity to do so.” Therefore, she and her colleagues continue their amazing work to make students excited about new SDG activities so that they become aware of and sensitive to the problems of today’s world.
JULIUS NUWAMANYA (Uganda)
Julius Nuwamanya is a secondary school Fine Art teacher with teaching experience of seven years. He is driven by the famous Nelson Mandela quote, “Education is the powerful weapon which you can use to change the world."
To him, Quality Education (SDG number 4) is so crucial in achieving the other sixteen goals because he believes that when the generations are well taught, it becomes easy to implement SDGs.
As a Global Schools Advocate, Julius held a workshop at his school where his fellow teachers welcomed the idea of integrating ESD activities in their teaching streams and encouraged them to join the GSP Advocacy training in the coming years.
He has also implemented ESD activities within the classroom, such as teaching recycling in their art class, in which his students collected broken glass from the community and made glass mosaics or created masks from waste paper. Apart from that, they also made sculptures and ceramic art pieces using clay from a nearby swamp. By doing this, he implemented SDG 12 (Responsible Consumption & Reproduction).
For the school-wide activities, Julius advocated for climate action (Goal 13) by carrying out a tree-planting campaign with a group of students. He created awareness about the role of trees in absorbing carbon dioxide emissions and releasing oxygen into the atmosphere. Through the project, his students also learned that trees help in fighting desertification.
Further, the Art department and Agriculture students organized an exhibition and invited parents. The Art students showcased recycled works of art, whereas agriculture students exhibited their agricultural produce (Goal 2) and created awareness about the use of biodegradable domestic waste and crop rotation in farming to raise community awareness about SDGs.
For the upcoming months, Julius is also planning to reach out to other schools in the neighborhood in order to introduce ESD activities before the end of 2022.
MA. JONAPER P PALMARES (Libya)
Ma. Jonaper P. Palmares is the first Filipino educator andLibya's first Global Schools Advocate. Residingin a North African country for almost ten years, she has directly used ESD projects in her lessons at the First Philippine International School. She contributes to developing and planning educational programs as she creates a vibrant and effective learning environment using traditional and modern teaching approaches.
Most recently, she has conducted two different workshops for her colleagues and student leaders. The Student Leaders Workshop, also known as the “Global Changers Workshop”, will be the first step for her learners to pass on the information about SDGs. The "15 global changers" will be exposed in different avenues related to the SDGs and will be considered the first batch of students to disseminate the ESD in their community.
As an Advocate of SDG 4 (Quality Education), Ma. Jonaper P. Palmares also uses other learning platforms to spread the SDGs. Her Youtube Channel, "Study Time with Miss M," has gained popularity in the school community as it contains content which helps not only her students but their parents to learn Social Studies through the use of the English language. She is also a verified trainer at Hilokal, an online language-learning app based in Seoul, South Korea. She teaches Global Education and opens a podcast-type class every Saturday called "Sustainability Session," where she spends an hour sharing SDG topics with native and non-native speakers.
Jonaper believes in taking risks because everything is possible. Her viewpoints and actions have influenced her communities to be the catalysts of change, thus, giving a flicker of hope to all for the betterment of our world.
SYEDA SIDRA BILAL (Pakistan)
Syeda Sidra Bilal is a teacher at the City School's Gulshan Junior Campus and is constantly looking for opportunities to use cutting-edge teaching and learning techniques. Her involvement in the Global Schools Advocacy Program provided just that.
Her work includes conducting a workshop for her School Headteacher and her coworkers where they discussed suggestions for incorporating SDGs into regular teaching. In order to raise as much awareness as possible, SDGs were introduced in classrooms and assemblies at the start of the session.
Ms Sidra has made constant strides as an Advocate for Global Goals through SDG school-wide activities. On September 5th, the International Day of Charity saw the integration of SDGs 1 and 2 (No poverty and zero hunger) in an assembly presentation, with skits and musical performances used to emphasize philanthropy's value. Additionally, a fundraising drive was organized for Pakistan's flood victims. To instill in them the values of compassion, sympathy, empathy, and generosity, students were enthusiastically encouraged to donate towards this noble cause.
To better integrate the SDGs in the classrooms, they have incorporated them into several lessons across various subjects, such as SDG 13 (Climate Action). Social Studies lessons on the theme of "Climate Change" included SDG 13 where the students made posters to raise awareness on the issues. The aftermath was discussed and presented by students, along with ways to curb down the challenge. More specifically, on 21 September, the SDG mentioned above was incorporated into the International Day of Peace through an assembly presentation. Ms Sidra helped her students showcase the value of Peace and Justice through Enactments and Peace Poster Contest. Other activities of the International Day of Peace included children in grade 3 painting the peace symbol as part of the integration of SDG 16 (Peace, Justice, and strong institutions) into art activities.
One of the last activities conducted included the introduction of SDG 3 (Good health and well-being) in the science lecture on the topic of drugs from 22 September to 25 September. Students researched how smoking and other drugs affect their hearts and lungs and made a connection between that information and SDG 3; they later presented their findings to the class as a whole.