Project: The Green School, duration 2013 until present
At the initiative of the State Oil FOundation Suriname and the Suriname Waste Management Foundation (SUWAMA), a plan was developed for making our youth more environmentally aware and specifically the young people in primary schools.
After an intensive preparation period between the Suriname Conservation Foundation, the State Oil Foundation for Community Development, SUWAMA and in consultation with the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture (MINOWC), the “The Green School” project was created.
In this project, the Suriname Conservation Foundation and the State Oil Foundation for Community Development are the funders of the project and SUWAMA is responsible for the implementation of the project in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture (MINOWC).
In October 2013, a start was made with the implementation of “The Green School”, which was executed at all primary schools in Suriname. After four exciting and intensive years, the Green School activities at schools were completed in 2017. A total of 331 schools joined the Green School network in this phase. Given the importance of a young and environmentally conscious generation and the successes achieved during the implementation of the project, the Suriname Conservation Foundation, in coordination with SUWAMA, have come to realize that it would not be justified to stop the project without further ado. The decision was then taken to continue the project and to make the activities and efforts to help create young environmentally conscious Surinamese more sustainable.
The main goal of the Green School is:
Influencing children’s behavior so that they handle the environment in a sustainable and responsible manner (biodiversity (our flora and fauna), waste, water and energy) by providing information on sustainability.
From the very beginning of the project, the aim has also been to make the Green School a permanent part of the natural science education curriculum.
As indicated earlier, the activities of the Green School have been carried out with children at the various primary schools, where they also had the responsibility to share the knowledge gained with family, friends, acquaintances and neighbors.
To make it all attractive, the Green School has developed various practical lessons (with see and do examples) on the 4 most important environmental topics in Suriname, in particular:
- Biodiversity (protected animal species, school gardens and medicinal plants)
- Water (saving)
- Energy (saving) and Waste / recycling (Environmental brigades, special “Batra” for recycling purposes).
To encourage the children and to make the efforts they have made visible, rules have been made that a Green School must adhere to.
The 8 rules of a Green School are:
- We protect and preserve our biodiversity (this is the collection of all life on earth)
- We learn here that our waste belongs in the appropriate bins
- We do waste separation
- We keep our classes tidy and clean
- We keep our school yards clean and tidy
- We keep our street free of litter
- We save water
- We save energy
To be able to carry out the activities of the Green School and teach the practical lessons, the teachers of the different schools have been trained. A total of 286 teachers were trained nationwide, who were also responsible for the implementation of the Green School at their respective schools. In addition, the schools received all materials to enable them to perform the activities of the Green School optimally, including manuals and logbooks, school garden posters, environmental posters, plastic collection bins and net bags for the collection of their PET bottles, waste bins, waste picks, the green board with all the 8 rules, reusable cups, vests and badges for the environmental brigades.
What are the achieved results?
The following results were achieved nationally during the period October 2013 and 2017:
|District||Number of schools||Environmental brigades installed||Number of children reached directly via the activities||Number of school gardens||Monitored (after 6 months)|
In December 2016, after more than 3 years of intensive cooperation with the Ministry of Education (the MINOWC), the department for Curriculum Development officially made the commitment to include the materials and lessons of the Green School in the natural science curriculum, as a practical addition to the current curriculum.
Presentations given by the project coordinator at the MINOWC and a field orientation study by the Curriculum Development department have clearly demonstrated that the primary schools need the lessons from the Green School.
A start was made in 2018 with the adoptions of the lessons through the Second Basic Education Improvement Program (BEIP 2). The lessons of the Green School will be included in the natural science curriculum of the fourth, fifth and sixth grade of the primary schools. The development process will last until mid-2020.
Spinoffs of the Green School
The “The Green School” project has had several positive spin-offs during the implementation phase. That is, in addition to the planned activities. Due to the successesof the Green School, various additional activities have taken place.
To mention some among others:
1. Addition of two environmental books to the teaching materials of the Green School in 2015, namely:
a. “Thula”; is about a curious Snowy Egret (Sabaku) and is written by Ineke Oudekerk.
b. “I don’t want plastic in my soup”; is about plastic pollution and is written by Monique Bruining.
2. Addition of trilogy environmental booklets to the teaching material of the Green School in 2018.
a. The books are all about protecting our biodiversity and are intended for classes 1, 2 and 3. The books are written by Marijke Waagmeester (Matoeja).
3. Participation in the training sessions of the project “The green lesson box”, in which the teachers of the media libraries were trained on how to use and teach the lessons of the Green School.
4. The project “Sustainable plastic collection campaign in the village Pikin Slee (Upper Suriname – Sipaliwini)”, a collaboration between the Green School (represented by SUWAMA) and the Liembo Teego Foundation (represented by Mr. Lindie Aboikonie). The aim of the project was to motivate the residents of Pikin Slee to separate waste and rid the village of plastic waste by placing waste bins and big bags and organizing training and cleaning campaigns. The aim was to protect the biodiversity and health of the residents. The local school and the environmental brigades of the Green School were involved and made responsible for the collection of the waste. The project was carried out in close collaboration with the children of the school in the village and the traditional authority and it lasted from 2018 until February 2019.
The good results and the spin-off effects were not only achieved thanks to the good cooperation between the Green School and MINOWC, but above all also because of the good cooperation and support that the schools have given fully to SUWAMA and its team.
Currently the lessons of the Green School are being adjusted so that they can readily be included in the curriculum.