MAURITIUS – ECO SCHOOLS AND FEE (Foundation for Environmental Education)
MAURITIUS : A PARADISE ON EARTH
First of all, let me start by giving you a bit of information about this beautiful country.
Mauritius is an island located in the Indian Ocean off the east coast of Madagascar. Well known as a tropical paradise by many people around the globe, the island attracts tourists from all over the world for its beautiful and sandy beaches and its rich cultural diversity.
(This is a picture taken from Moint Choisy beach)
Although the official language of Mauritius is English, most people speak French and Creole. As you can probably guess, one of the things that I love the most about the island, apart from the natural beauty, it is the diversity of the population. The people of Mauritius are multiethnic, multireligious, multicultural and multilingual. The majority of the population is Indian, followed by Creoles, Africans, Chinese and Europeans. This beautiful mix of cultures is obviously reflected in many different aspects.
I found it incredibly fascinating just walking around for example and assisting to an Hindu celebration while listening to a Muslim prayer in the background. Mauritius is the only country in Africa to have an Hindu majority. Even if in minority, there are also few communities practicing Buddhism.
As you can imagine this rich and cultural diversity, is also present in schools where students coming from different backgrounds, stories and families all learn together.
(Students – ECO AGENTS from the LORETO SCHOOL)
ECO SCHOOL PROJECTS – FEE & REEF
I visited two schools here in Mauritius for the ECO SCHOOL project. The ECO SCHOOL is the largest sustainable schools programme in the world and it is operated by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE). The aim of the the project is to focus and improve knowledge, behaviour and actions within the school environment, and encourage students to apply knowledge and skills gained in the wider community and sensitise about Environmental issues through fun, action-oriented learning.
FEE – FOUNDATION FOR ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION
We believe in the power of change and that the best gift we can give to future generations, the most valuable legacy we can leave behind us, is a world of educated and environmentally conscious people equipped with the sustainable attitude which is so sorely lacking in today’s society.
During my visit, I had the opportunity to meet the Chief Executive, Dr Ian Humphrey, with whom I had a lovely chat while visiting two of the schools which had received the GREEN FLAG AWARD for promoting sustainable living.
(Dr Ian Humphrey with one of the teachers involved in the programme)
Each school follows a seven step change process and empowers their young people to lead processes and actions wherever they can.
SEVEN STEPS :
1- Establish an ECO – SCHOOLS COMMITTEE consisting of students, and adult members (parents, school workers and teachers)supporting them.
2- Investigate the Environmental Review – students and adult members collect information about the Environmental issues faced by their school and the community they live in
3- Action Plan – After choosing 1-2 ECO TEAMS, students discuss together and make AN ACTION PLAN
4-Monitor & Evaluate – Students monitors progress of their plan
5- Link to CURRICULUM – Teachers give knowledge and skills in order to implement the action plan
6- Inform & Involve – The students spread their knowledge with their families, friends and with the rest of the community they live in.
7- Draw an ECO CODE – It can be anything, a drawing, a song, a motto that represents the school’s commitment to the environment
After going through these seven steps, the school will get an award called GREEN FLAG. (Like the picture below)
What is really amazing is that, thanks to this project students are put in charge and get sensitized about the seventeen SDG (Sustainable Development Goals) and experience a sense of achievement at being able to have a say in the environmental management policies of their schools.
(Dr Ian Humphrey speaking with some of the awarded students).
I was really impressed with the enthusiasm of these students. They were really eager to explain why they recycled the material and how they had achieved that.
These are some of the recycled material! I think it’s brilliant, isn’t it?
This is an example of ECO BIN, made by recycling plastic caps made by the LORETO SCHOOL.
(Some more students- ECO AGENTS from the LORETO SCHOOL).
If you want to know more about the ECO – SCHOOLS project, FEE and REEF here’s are the links!