Children are the change-makers of the future and schools are mainly where their capabilities, visions and values are built. The Green Academy Project is a unique programme that allows teachers and educational services professionals to be trained on innovative, fun and practical ways to address the waste management issues within their students and lead schools to become the motors of a circular economy. This training academy can be easily adapted by schools, given their current state and existing capabilities, and can empower teachers and staff to take charge of environmental education.
The Green Academy Project aims to bring out a ‘green’ change in disadvantaged or low-income areas, starting from facilitating a change in students’ perception and behaviour about WASH+ (Water, Waste, Sanitation, Hygiene behaviour) and creating tangible and social value from all of these elements, to make the school environment actually much cleaner and greener.
Its novelty lies in its interactive teaching approach. It includes educational material and activities that are introducing the key concepts of waste management and circular economy to the students in a fun and interactive way. Though short presentations, games, quizzes, outreach activities, songs and hands-on constructions students get to know not only the WHAT but also the WHY behind the meaning and importance of adopting a more hygiene behaviour.
Confucius said ‘I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand’
Green Academy Project in Ghana…
Under the support of Waste Recovery platform of UNDP Ghana and in collaboration with Ghana Education Service and the local NGO Environment360, the Green Academy Project is taking place for the first time in Ghana.
The Green Academy Project in Ghana – Progress Timeline
June 1, 2020
The programme has been developed by the Friend In Need India Team along with the impact evaluation plan designed by the SITE4Society Team at United Nations University-MERIT. The educational material have been submitted to Environment360 who took care of the localization of the context to the culture and needs of the local population in Accra.
Ghana Education Service & Environment360 training
July 27, 2020
During a 2-days online workshop the Ghana Education Service officers and the Environment360 Staff have been trained by SITE4Society and FIN on the educational material, the activities and the whole programme of the Green Schools Academy.
October 14, 2020
All 23 teachers of the Green Schools Academy project have participated in a 2-days training undertaken by Ghana Education Service and Environment360. During these two days the teachers have been exposed to the educational material of the programme, through the presentations and activities prepared by GES and E360. Despite the distance, SITE4Society and FIN were are also ‘present’! We had the chance to talk with the teachers and answer any questions they had. During the next months, before the school opening, we were preparing the impact evaluation of the programme, including the selection of the control group, development of metrics and expected outcomes.
Schools opening in Ghana
January 18, 2021
On the 18th of January, schools open again in Ghana! Teachers are receiving the educational material and further instructions for the programme implementation and getting ready to bring the Green Academy Project into their classrooms.
Baseline Data Collection
February 1, 2021
The baseline data are collected from 46 classrooms in different schools. Half of these include the students who are going to receive the programme and the other half to selected schools with similar characterises which are not going to receive the programme. In total, about 2,000 students fill in the survey prepared by the SITE4Society research team. The same students will be conducted again for the second and third round of data collection, which will take place in June (end of the programme) and October respectively.
Green Schools Academy Kick-off!
February 15, 2021
After the first two weeks of the programme’s roll out, the feedback of the teachers is already very encouraging. Most of them covered at least the first 2 activities from Module 1 and had an introductory discussion with their students, on the importance of sustainable waste management. We received many pictures and videos from the teachers highlighting the work they are carrying out in class while also showing the students’ engagement! Also, we have had our first winning teacher of the week- Victoria Neequaye, who achieved an outstanding performance.
Our Waste Warriors in Action!
March 25, 2021
Our 23 trained teachers and over 1.000 students enjoyed these first weeks of the programme with many educational activities, games and handicrafts from recycled material! From flip flops and necklaces to shoe racks and small houses, students surprised us with their creativity and thirst for knowledge.
Squaring up for a Circular Economy
April 20, 2021
It’s time to fight again plastic pollution together! Students asked – What happens to the plastic that we use? and – How do they reach the ocean? The answers came through their games in the class, the stories of their teachers and the exchange of experience they had with waste piled up on the coasts of Accra or many other places around the city. We then agreed that Circular Economy is the way forward!
Meeting plastic waste heroes
May 31, 2021
This month, we learnt how to create value from waste, through the eyes of WastePreneurs! From artistic carpets created in Ghana, to small and micro enterprises in South Africa and circular design furniture in the Netherlands, all stories were inspiring and triggered students imagination on what they can actually do with waste.
Midline data collection
June 10, 2021
The programme ends with the midline data collection, which aims to provide us with evidence on the actual impact of the programme on students knowledge, attitude and behaviour towards waste management. Stay tuned for the results!
Congratulations to these amazing teachers who are leading a change in environmental education in Ghana!
Interested to learn more about Education for Sustainable Development and the role of teachers in that? Watch the video below!
Media credits (slider picture): @alexandros_tsoutis