MAPs project promoting eco-friendly initiatives in schools.


July 13, 2023

Climate and environmental shocks are undermining children’s rights, from access to education to housing, food, and safe water, and even their right to a clean and safe environment. For three years, ZELA has been bringing together various key stakeholders within Zimbabwe’s mining sector to promote children’s rights to a healthy environment. The organisation has been working closely with the children themselves, promoting their participation. They, in turn, have been doing their duty by demanding action and calling for the realization of their environmental rights.

In its determination to promote environmental participatory behavior and stewardship among pupils, ZELA introduced school environmental clubs in the mining areas of Marange and Chimanimani Hotspings. Through the Environmental Clubs initiative, pupils at Mweyamutsvene (St Andrews) High School, Hotsprings Secondary School, and St Andrews Primary School have been taught skills that enhance their participation in meaningful environmental activities and embed in them a personal responsibility that influences their behavior and attitudes towards their surroundings. This is line with UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) ‘s core principle on child participation.

To take stock of the progress recorded and strategise, an environmental child rights workshop was held on Thursday, July 14, 2023. In attendance were representatives from Environmental Management Agency, environmental club members (pupils), and patrons from Mweyamutsvene (St Andrews) High School, Hotsprings Secondary School, and St Andrews Primary School. After a refresher on environmental child rights, the pupils managed to communicate their thoughts on what environmental child rights mean to them.

Building on the previous workshops that provided learners with information on how to form and constitute environmental clubs (E-clubs) at their schools, the District Environmental Officer at the EMA, Mr. Prosper Kaneta, encouraged the pupils to own their initiatives, raise awareness about the benefits of environmental clubs, and continuously participate in environmental governance. He also unpacked the concept of an environmental audit, a tool that is used to understand the current environmental status of their surroundings (the school). Kaneta mentioned that these audits are conducted to show the strengths and areas that need improvement at the school. In addition, the audit also helps provide ideas for potential environmental school projects and activities.

School club environment management projects and activities can include establishing nurseries, introducing waste management programs, recycling, and reusing, and introducing environmental club gardens, added Kaneta.

Good environmental governance promotes positive social and environmental outcomes. One of the key aspects of the MAPs project is to promote the participation of children and young people in environmental governance. The project seeks to encourage practical environmental management activities. Children and young people will face the full devastating consequences of the climate crisis, yet they are the least responsible. Therefore, it is everyone’s responsibility to preserve the environment for present and future generations.

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