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Global Schools Advocates reach 75,000+ students In their Mission to teach sustainable Development

Updated: Mar 22, 2022

Written by Kannan Reghunathan Nair, Global Schools Project Officer

Photo Credit: Lydia Chinonye Chilaka, Global Schools Advocate in Nigeria

The Global Schools Program, an initiative of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network, celebrated the graduation of its third cohort of Global Schools Advocates. The program’s vision is to create a world where every primary and secondary school student is equipped with the knowledge, values, and skills necessary for effectively responding to the most significant challenges of this century through Education for Sustainable Development (ESD).

“I feel proud of myself for inspiring members of my team. We now have more valuable conversations about this topic, and they trust my opinion.”- Antissa Triantafyllidou, Global Schools Advocate in Austria

In August 2021, the Global Schools Advocates Program provided free training to 327 school teachers and educators at the K12 level representing 75+ countries. The training enabled the Advocates to promote the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) through advocacy activities and in their individual lesson plans, creating whole-of-school strategies to promote transformative education. In addition to the online training, the Advocates attended monthly professional development webinars led by pioneers in sustainable development, including Dr. Jeffrey Sachs, President of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network; Dr. Cindy Sit, Chairperson and Professor at the Department of Sports Science and Physical Education at the University of Hong Kong; Mr. Jeff Remmington, National STEM Teacher Ambassador; Mr. Brighton Kaoma, Director of SDSN Youth; Mr. Akah Patel, Founder of the Happy World Foundation; among others.

Caption: Global Schools Advocates listen to a webinar on STEM and Design Thinking Led by Jeff Remmington, National STEM Teacher Ambassador

Through collaborative methods and with the support of Global Schools resources such as the lesson plans, sustainable development activity guides, and comprehensive Advocates toolkit, participating educators reached parents, community leaders, and national/regional governments during their 5-month mandate. They used creative means to implement Education for Sustainable Development in regional contexts.

Global Schools Advocates reached 75,100+ students across the continents in creative and transformative school-wide activities that instill the values of sustainable development. These efforts resulted in the engagement of ~16,000+ additional teachers and school administrators in relevant sustainable development projects, and in the work of Global Schools. Specifically, 8,100+ teachers participated in a training workshop on the SDGs, Global Citizenship, ESD, or another topic led by a Global Schools Advocate. 51,200+ students directly benefited from a classroom lesson taught by Global Schools Advocates with the purpose of increasing sustainable development literacy.

Photo Credit: Geoffrey Holt, Global Schools Advocate in Australia

280+ Advocates successfully completed all program requirements and participated in the celebratory graduation ceremony. Out of the Advocates who graduated from the program, 59% of their schools made sustainability a strategic goal/vision due to their role as an Advocate; 62% have improved litter or waste management; 35.4% of schools have set up a curriculum or planning committee on SDGs/ESD; and 52% have integrated ESD/SDGs into staff development for future years to come.

“I felt happy after seeing the student leaders actively owning the process and advocating so strongly for ESD in general and goals related to equality of access to education for girls in particular.” - Geoffrey Stephen Holt, Australia

Furthermore, with constant monitoring and evaluation strategies, the Global Schools team assisted the Advocates to ensure efficacy through tools such as the monthly Key Performance Indicator (KPIs) survey and Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Guide. During the cohort, Advocates conducted approximately 7,000 lesson plans and classroom activities on sustainable development. The majority of lesson plans completed spanned SDG 4: Quality Education, SDG 13: Climate Action, SDG 5: Gender Equality, SDG 3: Good Health and Well-being, SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation, SDG 1: No Poverty, and SDG 2: Zero Hunger. All of these activities conducted in and outside of schools additionally involved 30,000+ community members and parents.

Photo Credit: Nabuduwa Grace Olive Musingo, Global Schools Advocate in Uganda

One hundred thirteen advocates (40.4%) have been invited to speak at events; 81 advocates (28.9%) have received a promotion or a new role in their school; and 55 advocates (19.6%) have presented to local or national governments using their Advocate title. The data supports Global School’s mission, and backs additional evidence that imparting sustainability education has a constructive role in the professional, personal, and career growth of Advocates. After completing their term, the majority of the Global Schools Advocates aspired to continue their role as Advocates for sustainable development.

"In these last 5 months, I’ve considered myself an influencer who has been sent to fulfill quality of education, leave a mark, inspire kids, create, and make his country a better place. I am just so excited to share my knowledge and pedagogy outlook with all educators! Especially helping educators to see the SDGs as an opportunity to add extra depth to their lesson plans, rather than being something that requires work to link to the curriculum.” Doha Jemai, Tunisia

With renewed enthusiasm and hard work, beyond the conventional academic frameworks, Global Schools Advocates are thriving to develop local solutions to global problems. Global Schools would like to congratulate all graduated Advocates for completing the mandate and for their hard work and dedication in promoting sustainable development in your communities.

Once an Advocate Always an Advocate!

The Global Schools community is looking forward to welcoming a new cohort in the coming months.

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