The Faith-based Education for Sustainable Development Teacher’s Toolkit and programme, which has been piloted in schools throughout Kenya since its launch in 2013, pictured above, was described as ‘fantastic’ and ‘inspirational’ by delegates at the event held in November, 2014.
More than 1,000 delegates from around the world took part in the programme of talks and workshops and visited the exhibition.
ARC’s Education Project Manager Mary Bellekom said: ‘It was so good to be in a place where people believed in ESD.'
'The toolkit generated so much interest ... we got people thinking as to how ESD could apply to their situation' – Mary Bellekom
'For some people that was a real eye-opener but others had thought about it already. They just hadn’t realised it could be integrated in practice. It was amazing how many of the workshops and meetings brought it up as an example of something effective that could really be achieved.’
The ESD Toolkit was developed by ARC in partnership with the Kenya Organisation of Environmental Education (KOEE) with input from the Catholic Church in Kenya, the Methodist Church in Kenya, the Presbyterian Church of East Africa, the Anglican Church in Kenya, the Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims (SUPKEM) and the Hindu Council of Africa.
KOEE’s executive director Dr Dorcas Otieno and programmes manager Barasa Wafula joined Mary at the exhibition to give out 600 copies of an explanatory booklet and more than 100 copies of the toolkit.
The comments in the visitors’ book for their exhibition stall speak for themselves, from the Nigerian educationalist who wrote: ‘You are really contributing to ESD for humanity’ to ‘fantastic work’ from an education ministry official from Brunei and ‘congratulations’ from Dr Shukuru Kawambwa, Minister of Education and Vocational Training, Tanzania. The word that crops up the most is ‘inspirational’.
Mary Bellekom is hopeful that this positive response means the approach will be developed on a far wider scale: ‘It was gratifying to bring something we’d been working on for so long to a wider public arena and see it generate so much interest. I do think we got people thinking as to how it could apply to their situation.’
Shortly after returning from the conference the team were delighted to learn that the Kenyan Ministry of Education has accredited the ESD toolkit and programme, meaning it can be used in schools throughout the country. Training courses for teachers are also being run in Tanzania and the curriculum authorities in Uganda are assessing the toolkit with a view to adapting it to their local teaching methods.