Written by Abigail Chifusa, Global Schools Project Officer, and Raquel Armendariz, Global Schools Project Lead (Communications).
November has been a month filled with great achievements and initiatives by educators participating in the Global Schools Program (GSP).
Let's take a closer look at eight outstanding advocates who have been named the November Global Schools Program Advocates of the Month.
The eight advocates have passionately embraced the mission of advancing Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Patricia Movu Lutibezi (Namibia)
Patricia Movu Lutibezi, a Global Schools Advocate from Sikaunga Primary School in Namibia, has shown incredible commitment to sustainable development since her appointment in the new cohort.
Through a wide range of initiatives, she was able to successfully introduce ESD and the SDGs to her colleagues, learners, and their parents, exemplifying her dedication to fostering environmental consciousness not only within her school but also in the wider community.
Her commitment and passion for sharing the importance of sustainability is such that she even caught the attention of some teachers who attended her training workshop, in which Patricia gave a detailed presentation on SDG15: Life on Land.
From conducting lessons on mental health connected to the SDGs in October in honor of Mental Health Month, to donating fruit and trees and having the selected students, or rather “Little Green Ambassadors,” addressing the school on the importance of a greener environment, to voting in favor of rules that fight against plastic production and reduce plastic pollution, Patricia knows the importance of advocating for a better world.
Finally, Patricia’s leadership earned her school the recognition in the Old Mutual Little Green Ambassador Initiative, which, besides showcasing her impactful work in promoting sustainability and environmental awareness, led to her students presenting on climate change at the Namibia Environmental Education Network Conference.
Didem Demirci Çiçek (Turkey)
Didem Demirci Çiçek, a Geography teacher at TED Istanbul College Foundation Private High School, stands out for her holistic approach to sustainability education. Since starting her journey as a Global Schools Advocate, Didem has been a leader in promoting awareness of sustainable development on the school campus by implementing various projects and inspiring her students to take action and raise awareness in the broader community.
Furthermore, thanks to her influence, the whole school has committed to be part of the Global Schools Program Network, which resulted in teachers becoming more interested in the SDGs, and some of them even participating in different training programs to learn more about Climate Mobilization. While in the classroom, Didem likes to advocate for sustainability by implementing different initiatives. Some of them include the writing of letters on the sustainable environment for future generations, the celebration of Animal Protection Day that taught students about the importance of protecting animal rights, and the implementation of the “Republic Neighborhood Project,” which, together with the Visual Arts department, students built mockup houses with recycled solid waste collected from their homes. Lastly, Didem has been externally promoting the importance of Goal 4, Quality Education, by participating in several conferences to provide more information on sustainability and the need to implement it in the educational system.
Parvin Badali (Turkey)
Parvin Badali has seamlessly integrated the SDGs and the Global Schools Program’s mission into her lessons, advocating for positive change within her school in Turkey. Her commitment to raising awareness about the SDGs throughout the school demonstrates the transformative impact education can have on shaping a sustainable global society.
As an educator at both primary and secondary levels, Parvin took advantage of the different groups to implement as many activities as possible, which successfully demonstrated the endless possibilities for integrating ESD into schools.
Firstly, with her primary students, she introduced the SDGs with a presentation and poster-making activity, and from there, she implemented different projects linked to other SDGs. Examples include the Global Handwashing Day Celebration related to SDG 6 Clean Water and Sanitation, a discussion and comic presentation on endangered animals, which she related to SDG 15 Life on Land, a food globalization activity and discussion where students learned about SDG 2 Zero Hunger by exploring food origins and insight on the world’s food systems, and a plethora of other activities that covered SDG 1 No Poverty and SDG 3 Good Health and Well-being.
On the other hand, with secondary students, Parvin focused on more in-depth and complex, interdisciplinary activities. In-classroom projects include the discussion of SDGs 1,2, 3, and 15 along with activities that cover these Goals, such as the “unhealthy habit change challenge” or reducing food waste locally and promoting animal rights. At the school-wide level, some of the featured projects promoted the reduction of single-use plastics (SDG 7), encouraging interest in the SDGs by creating an “SDG tree” and creating sustainable villages in Minecraft.
For Parvin, the school integration of SDGs into classroom activities has resulted in a holistic educational experience. Looking ahead, she’s looking forward to further enriching the student’s understanding of these important issues in the years to come.
Preeti Jain (India)
Preeti Jain, along with her dedicated colleagues, believes in instilling a sense of responsibility and environmental consciousness in students from an early age.
Together with her school community, she has been focusing on implementing activities that can set a strong foundation for a future generation that is more aware and committed to addressing global challenges and working towards a sustainable and resilient future.
Thanks to her work with students who range from 3 to 6 years old, Preeti demonstrates that even the youngest students can participate in ESD-friendly activities. In addition, the myriad of activities she conducted have benefited her students and encouraged them to advocate for a better future.
Some of these examples include the plantation drive that provided students with a tree to plant in their house while they learned about SDG 15 Life on Land; a nature walk experience that led students through the school's vegetable garden; and, a farm visit to learn about the importance of eating healthy, not wasting food, and promoting responsible consumption and recycling, which covered SDGs 2 No Hunger, SDG 3 Good Health and Well-being, and SDG 12 Responsible Consumption.
Lastly, Preeti's school implements play-based learning, asserting that toys can fulfill more than recreational purposes and become learning resources for children's mental, social, and emotional development, which aligns with the 21st-century skills necessary to promote global citizenship. The school and students have created toys from card boxes, newspapers, bottles, etc., promoting upcycling and sustainable waste management. Some of the toys developed include an Alphabet House using newspaper and old cardboard boxes, a sensory organ puzzle game made with shopping bags and a tea-leaves box, and a bioscope created from boxes and toilet paper rolls.
Otayomi Esther Remilekun (Nigeria)
Otayomi Esther Remilekun, a life-coach and educator from Lagos, Nigeria, brings passion, resourcefulness, and resilience to her role as a Global Schools Advocate. Through impactful campaigns like the Ajegunle Flood Alert and Teacher's Self-Care, she addresses environmental challenges and promotes holistic education. Otayomi Esther is also known for nurturing talent and helping students discover their potential.
As a Global Schools Advocate, she has been collaborating with her colleagues and students in conducting several activities to promote values such as diversity, equality, and empathy, among others. However, the best way to learn more about her efforts in promoting sustainability is by looking at all the activities she led and conducted in October. From celebrating her country’s national day with a diversity campaign that promoted SDG 16: Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions; to joining Global Schools in celebrating teachers and promoting SDG 4: Quality Education by sending appreciation letters to educators; and, to recognizing the importance of mental health via event with her colleagues and students, focused on battling stigma around it.
Finally, being aware of the importance of SDG 5 Gender Equality, Otayomi Esther also led a campaign with her “Girl Team” that celebrated the achievements of female students in the school and outside the community. Thanks to her efforts, students are being equipped with the necessary values and skills to find sustainable and fun to implement activities.
Lei Ka Man (China)
Lei Ka Man’s workshops on sustainable development from September to November have benefited around 1,500 students, emphasizing the interconnectedness of the knowledge economy and talent cultivation. For Lei, it was clear that to get the message to as many students as possible, there was a necessity to implement school-wide activities. With that in mind, Lei carried out a morning assembly for the school and went through how the targets of the SDGs are related to our daily lives.
On the other hand, in the classroom context, Lei has been focusing on promoting SDG 3: Good Health and Well-being in her English lessons by teaching the students the importance of achieving well-being in this day and age, something many people struggle with. However, Lei’s passion for sustainability doesn’t influence only her students; it also intends to promote awareness with her colleagues via the organization of professional development workshops for teachers.
Thanks to Lei’s efforts advocating for a better future for youth, she was invited to be one of the speakers of “International Youth Forum of YAWCAM – Empowering Youth with New Economic Power” on October 21st, where she talked about nurturing diverse talent. More specifically, Lei shared how the knowledge economy and talent cultivation were interconnected and mutually reinforcing, providing a foundation for achieving sustainable economic development and competitiveness. She also emphasized on how gender equality could fuel economic growth and competitiveness.
Lei’s insightful presentations and work to advocate for SDG 3: Good Health and Well-being and SDG 5: Gender Equality, showcase her dedication to empowering youth and achieving sustainable development.
Ayesha Khilji (UAE)
Ayesha Khiji’s month involved skillfully incorporating SDGs into her lessons, reaching not only students, but also parents and the broader public to whom she helped raise awareness of pressing global issues like Gender Equality, Natural Disaster Risk Reduction, Mental Health and Wellbeing, and Peace and Justice through surveys and social media engagement. Her hard work in raising awareness on global issues demonstrates a commitment to holistic education.
Moreover, since beginning her advocacy journey as part of the Global Schools cohort, Ayesha has shown the ease with which she can mobilize her community to participate in sustainability-related events. For example, thanks to her lead, in October, she celebrated a variety of events commemorating different SDGs, from the celebration of Mental Health Day that promoted SDGs 3: Good Health and Well-being and SDG 4: Quality Education to the celebration of the International Day of Girl Child, where she raised awareness of SDG 5: Gender Equality and the call to action for the International Day of Disaster Risk Reduction.
Lastly, besides focusing on specific days to learn about certain sustainability topics, she has also planned and organized in-class projects and activities that allowed the students to take a hands-on approach to resolving some of today’s most pressing issues. For instance, one of the best examples is when to understand the importance of SDG 16, students had the opportunity to become real-life journalists and report on the matter of how, through international support and advocating for the SDGs, these conflicts can be resolved.
Arti Gaur (India)
Arti Gaur, is a dedicated librarian and recipient of various awards. Through the program's resources and guidance, Arti gained the knowledge and tools to integrate ESD into the curriculum effectively. Arti has been able to benefit almost 500 students that took part in a variety of ESD-related lessons and activities. First, Arti started introducing the 17 SDGs through a presentation and by planning how different projects will be related to each of the Goals. Once these guidelines were set, Arti implemented projects that taught students things such as how different sectors of society are governed, relating them to SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth and SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities. She also focused on the importance of advocating for SDG 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions in honor of International Peace Day; the appreciation of educators and their work for quality education on Teacher’s Day; and on an infestation on the nutritious values of food in order to achieve SDG 3: Good Health and Well-being.
Lastly, thanks to Arti’s work, students are learning not only about these new topics, but also essential values that will help them navigate society and advocate for a better world in their communities. From responsibility to empathy, equality, and social justice, Arti knows that her students are surely equipped to be global citizens.