For projects by non-governmental organization (NGOs).
The role of NGOs in the provision of education services and job creation for the poor in rural areas.
The Winning Project:
Discovering the Ocean World: Education resources for primary schools.
(Selected winner from 29 projects).www.shoals-rodrigues.org
Shoals Rodrigues Society
UNDP GEF Small Grants Programme.
Shoals Rodrigues’ mission is to protect marine biodiversity by engaging with the community, as it recognizes the fundamental importance of combining education and grass-roots involvement with research in order to achieve sustainable stewardship of natural resources. The key elements of the organization’s programs are environmental education projects with children, young people and the general public; outreach with the fishing community; long-term studies of fisheries and habitats; and working with fishers and policy makers to implement belier resource management strategies.
The Discovering the Ocean World: Education resources for primary schools is an outstanding project, beautifully presented. It is an inspiring, well-conceived project with excellent implementation. Costs have been kept to a minimum. The textual material provided (of the published book) reveals an exemplary educational approach.
The project has a highly innovative main idea in using the marine, as opposed to the terrestrial, environment as the main reference source for teaching science. This is an important change because the sea is the more important ecosystem for small island and coastal states, but traditional teaching materials have tended to emphasize land-based systems. The project also introduced ways of using marine examples in a wide range of other subjects (including maths and language skills) in a creative attempt to continually highlight the subject mailer. The project has increased the amount of information available to further improve understanding of the implications of Man’s activities through the reference to marine resource use within the curriculum.
The topic itself is of great importance in today’s world. An awareness of environmental issues is probably the most important single issue that will ensure the survival of the human race, and this project approaches it in a manner which is creative, imaginative, and likely to succeed. The fact that the project was conceived on a small island in the Indian Ocean does not detract from its importance. The idea of giving the environment such prominence in education is something that needs to be followed in all countries. The methodology used in this project is entirely replicable, and can be adapted to whatever environmental issues are relevant in each country.
Two concerns of this project make it stand out: (i) its focus on the ecology of development for context specific knowledge base for learning and relevance and (ii) addressing the teacher factor. Contextualizing learning content immediately educates children to become persons who can create jobs rather than being job seekers. Providing teachers’ manual and training them how to use it, is a very important strategy that should ensure the continuity of the skills being inculcated. Access to primary education is so crucial for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and UNESCO concerns for equality and quality.
The project stands out beyond all others in the light of its objectives, activities, management and need for community development and through well coordinated capacity building programs of training (with well packaged natural resource programs) for teachers, the project skillfully brings together and trains for the proper use and management of the contextual environment (the ocean area) for learning and skill development. Children are able to learn concepts and sustainable developmental practices by manipulating and being active in their local environment.
The project’s framework also captures the intention of AGFUND to alleviate poverty in poor countries through the improvement of educational level in poor countries for children and women; the improvement of the health condition of the people; by providing opportunities for institutional development and capacity building. Certainly, the project design and activities are rather a positive orientation to tomorrow’s development than a harmful one.