Sustainability 4 Youth: Combining Education, Entertainment, Empowerment, and Innovation in schools across Lebanon
This is how Perla Mansour, a young activist with Organisation De Development Durable (ODDD), describes the project “Sustainability 4 Youth in Schools across Lebanon”. The project is a series of educational workshops on diverse sustainability themes, aiming to enhance the awareness and skills of young people in Lebanon about sustainable development through designing and implementing youth-led activities in various public and private schools across the country.
In line with UNESCO’s focus on quality education, this project seeks to enhance the profound understanding and practical engagement of school students on the concept and application of sustainable development. It also seeks to improve their competencies in understanding complex global challenges such as climate change, and inspire them to act to contribute to solutions in their local community.
Salim Shehadeh and Mona Zoghbi of UNESCO Beirut also explained that the project seeks to build the skills and capacities of local youth leaders in mobilizing and leading their communities towards sustainable development, by providing them an opportunity and platform to engage in the development and conduction of dynamic and creative educational activities for school students.
Over a period of 3 months, a total of 385 kids in 9 public and 2 private schools, between the ages of 8 to 12 years old, engaged in hands-on activities that enhanced their knowledge and skills on diverse themes related to sustainable development. It took five key partners working side by side with 22 youth activists to achieve a successful and long-lasting impact!
The collaborating partners included UNESCO Beirut Office, Le Drageon educational eco-centre, Friends of Nature (FON)/ MACAM museum, the Lebanese National Commission for UNESCO (LNCU), and Organisation de Development Durable (ODDD).
A “Workshops Organization Committee” (WOC), composed of all partners, was created to develop the schools intervention curriculum, implement it in the chosen public and private schools, and propose a continuity/scale-up to this project. The youth activists played a dynamic and vital role throughout the various phases of the initiative, especially during the execution process as they represented the soul of the initiative via their commitments, enthusiasm and leadership.
“Our main objective was to choose and develop an interactive workshop to be introduced in local public schools; focused mainly on transmitting the initiative details, understanding each of the SDGs, finding a common ground for the concept of sustainability, and beginning to develop a potential curriculum”; says Elyesh of ODDD. Thus, two interventions per school took place; the in-school intervention & the guided tour intervention; both led by the youth activists.
The in-school intervention curriculum tackled two topics; the first was focused on up-cycling and the second on water and planting.
The Sustainable Mini Library
The water-wall for rainwater collection, made from plastic bottles
As for the guided visits tour, the main aim was to put the students and the youth facilitators in direct contact with nature; to give them the opportunity to understand it by experimenting it and not only by hearing and speaking about it in the classroom.
School students planting at Le Drageon
School students learning about seeds during field visit to Taanayel EcoLodge
The schools students shared very positive feedback regarding their nature discovery visits. They showed deep interest and excitement for direct engagement with nature, and asked to have the youth back to work with them on additional topics related to sustainability. Aside from the kids, the schools principles and instructors also expressed their gratitude for such intervention and their interest to scale it up at their school with other students.
You can find detailed information about this initiative in this report.
*This article was written by Marie-Jean Malek, intern at UNESCO Beirut and member of ODDD ngo.
Activities building skills among youth organizations and young journalists; to enhance youth representation in media and promote freedom of expression, media and information literacy and youth-generated media content.
Activities joining youth organizations, employment experts and different national stakeholders to engage in dialogue and work together on unemployment solutions and skills needs.
Activities empowering youth to participate in the communal and national development, revision and implementation of national youth strategies and public policies.