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Written by Abigail Chifusa, (Global Schools Project Officer).

On Friday 4th March, 2022, the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) Zambia, through Unite4Climate and Conservation (U4CC), Wildlife and Environmental Conservation Society of Zambian (WECSZ) and the Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA), collaborated with Global Schools (GS) Advocate, Gilson Tembo, to implement initiatives on proper waste management for the students at Arakan Girls Secondary School in Zambia. This initiative was done through Waste Segregation (WASE).

UNICEF Zambia and WECSZ donated two-litter sorting bins to help the students sort waste materials in a way that would protect the school environment from pollution and the environmental impact of waste in dumps.

In the vain to recycle disposed paper, plastic bottles and plastic paper, ZEMA promised to link the school to companies that will assist them in implementing sustainable recycling programs. These programs will teach students how to reuse and recycle waste. However, members of the school environmental conservation club, GreenTeenz, have already started recycling plastic bottles. The plastic bottles are used to grow vegetables in the school production unit garden. The club members have also planted trees around the school as well as managed a maize garden.

During the waste segregation activity, the learners collect paper, plastic bottles, and plastic paper from classrooms as well as the surrounding area, which they later sorted using litter sorting bins. Gilson and his students are contributing to combating climate change and actualizing climate action (SDG 13) therefore, they came up with a rule of no litter, no open air burning and no carbon emission.

Due to his role as a GS Advocate, Gilson’s school has improved on issues of waste management. He has seen an improvement in the learners' understanding on SDG issues, and his students are able to come up with solutions to achieve the global goals. The learners have been developing solutions with reference to different experiences in their respective communities.

Gilson has been working with two teachers also based in his school to implement sustainable development in different extracurricular activities,with the aim of creating a conducive and sustainable environment for teaching SDGs through Education for Sustainable Development (ESD).

Using his advocate title, he has presented to the local and national governments. The Zambian District Forestry Office, invited him to share with participants at an event on the significance of planting trees to promote and achieve climate action.

Gilson also had the chance to meet with the District Education Board Secretary (DEBS) for Lusaka District in his country, with the purpose of proposing an idea of carrying out quiz competitions for 15 secondary schools within the district. He received a positive response, and permission was granted to implement the activity.

Furthermore, Gilson conducted two-part workshops for 30+ teachers and school administrators, as well as 13 parents and community members.

During his entire mandate as an Advocate, 14 classrooms and 274 students benefited in activities that integrated sustainable development topics into lesson curricula whereas 430 students benefited from three school wide activities, involving 9 teachers. .

Gilson’s favorite sustainable development activity was the assignment he gave the learners to research SDGs. With their findings, they conducted quiz competitions in their respective classes according to their grades. This was carried out in grades 8,10 and 11.