1. Environmental education policy
1.1 The National Policy
1.2 The Environmental Education Curriculum
1.3 The Available Resources Booklet
2. Schools' eco-clubs program
3. GLOBE Program
5. Extra-curriculum activities
1. Environmental education policy:
AFDC environmental education program has been growing gradually from 1998 with the cooperation of the Ministry of education in Lebanon and the financial support of Hanns Seidel Foundation.
The program targeted nearly 500 private and public schools from different Lebanese regions. In order to achieve the promotion of environmental education concepts such as sustainable development, sustainable use of natural resources, and resolution of conflicting interests of natural resources across all generations, health issues, ownership and citizenship of local environment.
In 2010, AFDC signed an agreement with the Educational Centre for Research and Development (CRDP) affiliated to Ministry of Education to implement a three years project about “The National policy in Environmental Education” with the financial support of Hanns Seidel Foundation.
The project main activities:
1.1 The National Policy of Environmental Education in Lebanon:
The National Policy of Environmental Education in Lebanon was launched on the 17th of October 2012 under the patronage of H.E. the minister of education and higher education Prof. Hassan Diab and H.E. the minister of environment Mr. Nazem El Khoury, at the conference hall of the ministry of education, in the presence of all the institutions that worked on this project: the Educational Center of Research and Development (CRDP), the Association for Forests, Development & Conservation and representatives from the German embassy of Beirut, and the Hanns Seidel Foundation.
1.2 The Environmental Education Curriculum for the 1st educational cycle grades (1, 2 & 3)
The developed environmental education curriculum is divided into seven chapters, which introduced the environmental education theme such as ecosystem, pollution, natural resource and sustainable development. The EE curriculum presented the environmental events calendar for the national and the international days. Furthermore, the developed curriculum for environmental education of the 1st cycle presented the teaching methodology based on the competencies, in order to achieve environmentally aware citizens. The curriculum was tested through several workshops that engaged the teachers and their students for the same cycle.
1.3 The Available Resources Booklet
This booklet introduced the environmental NGOs, institutions and organization, to support teachers through EE activities as extra and intra curricular activities. Furthermore, it presented games that help teachers and students to understand environmental education and can implement it in class or outside.
2. Schools' eco-clubs program:
Education and awareness have played a major part in AFDC programs since 1998 based on AFDC’s belief in the importance of targeting schools as a main partner in the dissemination of information and improvement of knowledge of environmental issues and in the building of teachers’ and students’ skills in sustainable development and nature resources conservation.
AFDC is currently working with 300 private and public schools spread out all over Lebanon and this year, 120 new public schools will be targeted in cooperation with the Ministry of Education. More than 750 schoolteachers have participated in AFDC training workshops in the last few years.
AFDC usually organizes two different types of training workshops for teachers. One is called “Basic Training”, which introduces the basic concepts of environmental education, establishing environmental school clubs, formal and informal education and the logistics of preparing an action plan related to a given environmental challenge. The second training workshop provides teachers with skills and information related to varied environmental topics such as birds, forests, water issues and solid waste.
Training kits about biodiversity, environmental resources and threats, bird conservation, water conservation and land cover assessment including lessons plans and hands-on activities for children were developed and are provided to schools along with the training activities. In the same context, educational games were also developed to increase students’ knowledge about their environment while playing. More than 15,000 children from different age groups have been participating in the program’s activities in schools and outdoor in natural areas throughout Lebanon.
AFDC annually organizes field activities for students for the occasion of the World Biodiversity Day and World Environment Day. Also, a national festival for all schools is being implemented yearly outdoors for eco-clubs. One example of this is the Rally for Nature where schools share their activities with other schools from different regions. The festival follows usually the Annual Environmental Competition that highlights each year a specific topic that is of high priority at the national level.
3. GLOBE Program:
GLOBE Program was announced in 1994, it is an international environmental and science research program implemented in more than 111 countries. GLOBE “The Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment”, the programs vision is to promote and support students, teachers and scientists to collaborate on inquiry-based investigations of the environment and the Earth system.
In Lebanon, the program started in 1998; after the agreement between the US Embassy, the Ministry of Environment and The Association for Forests Development & Conservation (AFDC)
assigned as the Country Coordinator for the program. Up to date more than 35 private and public schools are involved in the GLOBE Lebanon. The schools are distributed all over Lebanon. Several trainings have been done for school teachers on GLOBE science protocols, organizing GLOBE games (such as mini-football tournament with US Embassy in Lebanon), organizing and participating in regional & international GLOBE conferences.
Inspired by the International experience of GLOBE, AFDC and the Ministry of Environment decided to bring that experience to Lebanon. Science can be a great tool to teach and inspire to learn more about the environment and protect it. AFDC focuses in its environmental education programs to instil a spirit of environmental stewardship among school children, the leaders of tomorrow. By using GLOBE protocols related to water, soils, atmosphere and land cover, students learn through a hands-on experience the pillars of their environment and understand far better than through the traditional theoretical approach. When students learn more about their environment, they appreciate it and start to realize that their actions can have a positive or a negative impact on it. As such, GLOBE protocols have proven to be great tools in influencing the behaviour of students and their families. All of which inspired the start of GLOBE Lebanon.
Arabic International significance
The GLOBE program is an international program applied in different countries around the world. As a result, GLOBE Lebanon is related to the international GLOBE project and is inspired by it. GLOBE international works with the different national chapters of the program in its quest to push forward environmental sciences teaching to school children.
In order to increase the regional cooperation among different Arab countries, AFDC as the country coordinator of GLOBE Lebanon along with GLOBE International established in 2009 The Near East and North Africa Region (GLOBE NENA Region) and it was hosted by AFDC for 3 years. After that period, the GLOBE NENA office was transferred to Amman, Jordan as part of the rotation of the regional office between member countries. The GLOBE NENA groups 13 countries: Lebanon, Jordan, Qatar, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Egypt, Tunisia, UAE, Kuwait, Mauritania, Pakistan and Morocco
What exactly have you achieved so far in your project? Please elaborate and describe?
Since the GLOBE Lebanon has started in AFDC many activities and training workshops were conducted to achieve the main goals of the project:
SANJOUB the Lebanese Squirrel
After a huge fire started to spread through the forest, Sanjoub the squirrel escaped to the city on a fire truck that came to his home to put out that fire. He went to the city with a mission, to share his story:
“Hey people you are destroying our forests that have been here for thousands of years, before any of us were born. They have provided us with food, shelter and community. My home was an oak forest, however, my relatives and friends used to dwell in forests from the South to the North of Lebanon. The forests were so dense you could barely see the ground. But that was a long time ago. Now more than half of the forests are gone. One by one the trees were cut or went up in smoke. What are you waiting for, we must act now or we will lose all our trees, and our livelihoods.”
AFDC and the US Embassy
The Lebanese version of the “You and I can prevent forest fires” campaign was initiated in an effort to increase awareness among youth and the local community about the damaging forest fires in Lebanon. Since 2009 – 2011 US Embassy supported AFDC to develop a fictional character similar to ‘Smokey the Bear’ of the US and a slogan/message to provide youth and the local community with important information about the environmental, social and economic impact of forest fires in Lebanon.
AFDC and Lebanese Reforestation Initiative LRI through“Lebanon Forest Protection Partnership project”
Environmental Education has always been one of the main pillars AFDC uses to raise awareness and engage the future generations in conserving the environment. Within the project AFDC aims to use multiple methods and tools targeting the youth, teachers, parents, media and others to raise the awareness on environmental protection and education.
Sanjoub will be highlighted in several activities. Theatrical show will promote Sanjoub as forest guard. National Sanjoub environmental education day was held on June 5th to celebrate the world environment day. Environmental education stand which included Sanjoub statue sitting on a bench whereby children and adults alike can sit next to it, a big rollup conveying Sanjoub story with big slogan “Help Sanjoub protect forests” and calling all viewer to act in supporting environmental protection as well as a section for pamphlets, posters, stickers and other promotional items.
5. Extra-curriculum Environmental Education activities at MFDCL include:
The Mediterranean Forest Development and Conservation Center of Lebanon (MFDCL) - training and awareness center located in Ramlieh Village – Caza of Aley that provides all the facilities to accommodate, and host seminars, workshops and training courses