How we educate and help the educators
The people who are being schooled today are the same people who will be leading the country tomorrow. So, ever since our inception in 1998, promoting environmental education has always been a priority for us.
We’ve developed strong programmes, tailored for UAE youth, and we are active in more than 85% of Abu Dhabi Emirate’s schools. Our education policy is based on stewardship, commitment and action. Rather than impose a set of principles to be learnt by rote, we hope to develop critical thinking and decision making skills in individuals, encouraging them to adopt a responsible attitude.
Our efforts have been regionally and internally recognized, including winning the GCC award in 2003, the Energy Globe Award in 2004 and the Arab Towns Organization Award in 2010.
Here are some highlights of our work in this area:
The Annual Enviro-Spellathon
We launched the Enviro-Spellathon in 2001 and have been improving childrens’ environmental literacy ever since!
Enviro-Spellathon is a sustained programme that grows with the child through seven levels, from ages four to 13.
It consists of a set of attractive educational workbooks, designed specially by EAD, which cover all aspects of the UAE’s biodiversity and important issues such as water and waste.
Students are tested on the information in the booklets in a simple and fun way. They receive a certificate on completion, with special gifts as well for students scoring above 80%.
Enviro-Spellathon has been a bigger success than anyone could have dreamed of at the outset. 92% of schools, not just in Abu Dhabi but all across the UAE, now take part. Nearly 1.3 million students have been Enviro-Spellathon students.
In 2013 alone, more than 150,000 Enviro-Spellathon awards and certificates were presented to children from 366 schools.
Click here to access the information and download options for the i-Enviro Spellathon.
The Annual Environment Competition
Launched in 2001, this is essentially an inter-school competition for students from kindergarten to grade 12. Each year, the competition follows the UN’s World Environment Day theme. Competition categories usually comprise drawing, coloring, poster design, writing short stories and articles for publication, photography, 3-D model making and writing fully researched reports.
Expert judges look through the entries and choose the winners in various age groups, from both government and private schools. All entries are displayed at a public exhibition, with schools, participant’s parents, families and friends all invited.
Click here to visit the website
Sustainable Schools is a whole school initiative that addresses students, parents, teachers, administrative staff and maintenance staff, eventually linking them to the larger community.
Participating schools get an opportunity to audit their own environmental impact and set targets to enhance their performance each year, following the procedures set in EAD’s Green School Manual.
To help spread the message even farther, students are encouraged to run an active Eco Club, reaching out to parents and the community. Schools are also strongly encouraged to organise ‘hands-on’ field trips.
We support this highly interactive and engaging scheme with a “Train The Trainer” programme that makes sure that participating teachers are fully briefed and able to make the most of the initiative.
Feedback tells us that teachers enjoy and value this initiative as much as the students do!
Click here to visit the website
Water Education in the Arab World
As UNESCO’s international coordinator for water education in the Arab world, we designed and developed a water education programme and learning pack. A total of 12 Arab countries are now benefitting from it.
The Sustainable Campus initiative is targeting university students in Abu Dhabi from 19 to 25 years old and it aims to educate them on the most pressing environmental issues such as water conservation and energy and empower them to act towards addressing them. The initiative is designed to build and strengthen leadership capacity amongst the youth of Abu Dhabi who are key players in advocating, working towards, and shaping sustainable communities.
One of the main focuses of the SCI is to encourage youth to replace their negative environmental impact ‘eco footprint’ with a positive impact ‘handprint’. It also aims to build a strong network for Emiratis youth by helping them interact with their counterparts in the local, regional and international organisations to exchange ideas, views and best practices.