It is in early childhood that children often experience the greatest environmental challenges, and this is time the foundations of many of their fundamental attitudes and values are first put into place. Also, through research and experience, we know that even very young children are capable of sophisticated thinking in relation to socioenvironmental issues. Therefore, the earlier Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) ideas are introduced the greater their impact and influence can be.
The launch of the ‘It’s Time to Grow’ educational materials for Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) by the Namibian Desert Environment Education Trust (NaDEET) in partnership with the UNESCO Participation Programme which took place on the 23rd January 2018 at NICE Restaurant was geared towards incorporating key environmental issues in the minds of young Namibian citizens to ensure the sustainability of Namibia’s future.
Opening the launch with welcoming remarks, Mr. Roderick April, Secretary General of Namibian National Commission to UNESCO, stated that this initiative is supported under the UNESCO Participation Programme as ESD is one of UNESCO’s priority areas.
‘It’s Time To Grow’ was officially launched by the Director of Programmes and Quality Assurance in the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture, Mrs. Edda Bohn and the Director of NaDEET Mrs. Viktoria Keding. The event brought together representatives from different schools, government officials as well as various stakeholders and partners in the ESD field in Namibia.
The materials which are in a form of books and memory games have been translated by language teachers into three local languages namely Khoekhoegowab, Otjiherero and Oshindonga and they cover various environmental themes such as biodiversity, energy, water and waste and are aimed at lower primary school teachers and learners.
Mrs. Bohn highlighted that developing educational materials in the various local languages was identified as one of the educational needs in Namibia and equipping lower primary teachers with the right materials for the development of children. She called upon the teachers to share and make good use of the materials. She further urged all the involved stakeholders to work together to achieve the full translation of the books into all the local languages so that no Namibian child is left out. Furthermore, Mrs Bohn referred to Sustainable Development Goal Number 4 and emphasized on the importance of quality education.
Mrs. Edda Bohn, Director of Programmes and Quality Assurance in the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture officially handing over the educational materials to Mrs. Ingridt //Awases, one of the lower primary school teachers. (Photo credit: Dirk Heinrich)
Mrs. Viktoria Keding, who initially authored the booklets in English said that the translation of the booklets came as a result of the feedback she received particularly on language. The booklets were translated by teachers during a workshop held at the iconic NaDEET Centre in the Namib Desert. Mrs. Keding stated that the absence of cellphone network at the centre made the workshops effective.
The teachers who translated the booklets were also present during the launch and they gave brief testimonies on their experiences during the translation process. The teachers mentioned that participating in the workshops lead to behavioral changes towards environmental conservation, and that they have implemented some measures at their respective schools to that effect.
The project was primarily funded by the UNESCO Participation Programme through the national commission to UNESCO with the support from the Hanns Seidel Foundation’s Promoting Renewable Energies in Namibia (PREN) Project and the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture.
For more information about the It’s Time To... sustainability series, visit the NaDEET website at: www.nadeet.org/its-time-toseries.