Essay Competition Received Almost 10000 Entries

Written by Alice Rees on . Posted in India, News, News & Updates

We are very pleased to announce that our essay competition in Pune, India, is now concluded. We received nearly 10,000 entries from participants aged 10-17 from 15 schools, and from there we have chosen a select few winners.

In each school there were two age groups, and we chose three winners from each group in each school. From those we then chose three overall winners for each age group.

This competition was a huge success – teachers were keen to get involved because of the importance of the topics and the children were keen to engage with these subjects in a critical and thoughtful way.

All the winners received certificates, and there were also jute bags, notebooks, and stationery kits.

Here are some photos from the competition, and you can see some more photos in the flickr album of the event:

One of the winning essays from the junior group.

One of the winning essays from the junior group.

One of the winners from the older group.

One of the winners from the older group.

One of the prizes.

One of the prizes.

One of the classes of participants with the winners.

One of the classes of participants with the winners.

                                                   

E4S in Sierra Leone

Written by Alice Rees on . Posted in News, News & Updates, Sierra Leone

The E4S project was warmly welcomed by the Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology following several successful activities, and George of E4S Sierra Leone and The Kiradi Initiative was invited to join the curricula review team who are responsible for mapping the way forward for education in Sierra Leone.

Unfortunately, there were inconsistencies and the direction was unclear, especially with regards to key considerations such as who does what, how, when, and where. There was also some confusion about UNICEFs role in the process, exacerbated by the Ebola crisis. Then, after some bureaucratic shenanigans, the secretary and the director of the Curricular Review Office, both of whom had been keen champions of the E4S project, retired from their positions. These changes caused a general sense of confusion over the project’s next movements, and so we consulted the President’s Office for advice on how to proceed in this situation.

In the face of these continued challenges, George almost despaired of the project ever seeing any movement or progress, and came close to abandoning it to work on something new. However, he realised that the E4S project is important and relevant – anyone who found out about it agreed that it is a project which could really make some important changes. George used patience and endurance to grease his elbows, pushing the project onwards and upwards, taking the daily challenges in his stride.

After consulting with the President’s Office, it was determined that the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) would be the authority best suited for dealing with this initiative, and we entered into discussions with the EPA, looking at the project’s concept and the scope of our planned activities.

Discussions With the Environment Protection Agency

EPA Sierra Leone logoThe first official meeting centred discussions around what the EPA does, and Nektarina & Kiradi’s role in promoting the E4S project’s main tenet; that sustainability should be included on school curricula as a separate subject.

Working with the EPA is already a great step in the right direction. They have regional offices across the country and, working closely with local councils, have formed around 100 nature clubs in schools (especially in cities), and already run campaigns on environmental education for sustainability.

The Executive Chairperson welcomed our involvement in this endeavour, as all hands are needed on deck to promote our common goals. George has been co-opted onto the strategic planning team, piecing together a roadmap leading to the introduction of sustainability as a school subject in both primary and secondary schools.

The greatest challenge we face is rolling out this scheme across the nation, building on the successes we have already achieved. Gaps need to be filled, and in this our role will be paramount.

We shared our insights, our activity proposals, and our global strategic plan. These thoughts and plans were most welcomed. Volunteering will also be a vital part of these initiatives, and interns have an important role to play as we move forward. Environmental assessments need to be carried out and expert advice of varying opinions must be sought.

They are open and ready to make our goal their goal and we will make their goal our goal.

Essay Competition in India

Written by Alice Rees on . Posted in India, News, News & Updates, Upcoming Events

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We are celebrating International Youth Day this year (August 12th) with an essay competition in India. We are inviting all schools in the Pune region to get involved, and we’ve provided a selection of topics for children to write about.

The topic for 5th to 7th std (junior group)

  • Are Our Festivals Causing Pollution?
  • Cycling For A Greener Earth
  • Trees: Our Best Friends

&

The topics for 8th To 10th std (senior group)

  • How Can We Control Global Warming?
  • A Green Earth Through Renewable Energy
  • Conventional Farming vs. Organic Farming

Essays should be 200 words maximum.

You can find out more by downloading our invitation letter from this post, or by getting in touch with Suresh More, the India E4S project manager, at suresh@nektarinanonprofit.com

The date of International Youth Day also happens to be Nektarina’s birthday – we are six this year! So please encourage all school children in India to get involved and participate in this competition to make sure we have an excellent birthday!

Invitation Letter

World Environment Day 2015 in Pune

Written by Alice Rees on . Posted in India, News, News & Updates, Take Action

Our World Environment Day celebration was the highlight of June. As we consider the environment to be a matter of vital importance, Nektarina Non Profit were excited to celebrate WED in India with its local partner, Zest Youth Movement. Not simply a celebration, the event aimed to contribute to raising awareness of environmental protection among the population, with a particular focus on youth.

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Over 300 people took part in our rally through Pune City. Among them, students from different institutions and universities, colleges, school children, representatives of civil society organizations, companies and political parties, Pune Doctors association, Chartered accountant association, private coaching classes, and many other. Girls and women have been notably present, as well as disabled and elderly people, which is comforting as we strive towards inclusive and sustainable progress.

The rally was launched by Mrs Bharati Kadam, Municipality Member, and a special guests delegation, among them famous environmentalist and social activist Naur Mohammad Patel and Mr Prakash Kadam, president of the Pragati Foundation.

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Mrs Bharati Kadam introduced the event by addressing the public with a speech. She mentioned Pune’s different environmental problems and how they are affecting the health of people around city. She said waste management, transport systems, and cleanliness should be take in account and we should strive to find permanent solutions for these challenges. She pledged to raise her voice on these issues as a municipality member.

Before the parade set off, student Sneha read a message from Miss Sandra Antonovic, Nektarina Non Profit Co-founder and CEO. In her message, Miss Antonovic said “I am touched, honoured and humbled that so many of you have gathered here today to celebrate the World Environment Day and to show that people do have the power to change things if they come together and act together. As a community, as a nation, as global citizens.

“You are showing us how to be global citizens, how to come together, how to act together; and we are humbled by your example. We are also inspired, and we follow you on your path of sustainable living. Now, more than ever, sustainability is important for all of us.”

The participants then walked in procession through the roads of Pune, showing banners and calling out environmental awareness slogans and reached the polluted riverbank.

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We undertook the riverbank clean-up to support Prime Minister Naredra Modi’s Initiative Swatch Bharat. The cleanup was launched by Shri Dattatray Dhankwade, Mayor of Pune. He gave a speech congratulating attendees for taking part in such initiatives and encouraged people to engage in such programmes often. He also said that more focus should be given to such issues within education because educated people can be more proactive, leading to cleaner and healthier lifestyles for everyone.

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Equipment was distributed and together the participants removed a huge quantity of litter from the riverbank. At the end of the cleanup, everyone took an oath for a clean and non-polluted river.

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Throughout the event, we invited people to write their messages on a 20 ft banner, and there was face painting available, with many people opting for environmental slogans on their face and hands.

We are extremely proud of this celebratory event and thanks to everyone who attended and engaged, we successfully cleaned up a strip of riverbank and raised awareness of this vital cause. The high level of participation drew the interest of the press and we hope to have an even larger event next year!

Bristol – European Green Capital 2015

Written by Alice Rees on . Posted in General Information, Green Economy, News, News & Updates

Every year since 2010, a panel of environmental experts has chosen one exceptional city in Europe to be granted the title of ‘European Green Capital of the Year’. This year, 2015, the European Green Capital is Nektarina’s home city of Bristol. The award was envisaged to be a way to reward and recognise cities which are making continual, conscious efforts to improve their environment, become more sustainable, and innovate in green ways.

Clifton Suspension Bridge

Clifton Suspension Bridge (photo credit Gary Newman Low)

The successful bid was led by the Mayor of Bristol, George Ferguson. Before getting into politics, Ferguson was an architect, and served two years (2003-2005) as President of the Royal Institute of British Architects, where “he was noted for championing the causes of education, the environment and good urbanism”. In 2012, Ferguson became Bristol’s first elected mayor, but his personal efforts have long had Bristol at their heart. Ferguson’s 1994 purchase and renovation of part of the Imperial Tobacco Factory is not only an laudable example of urban renewal and regeneration, but is also credited with kick-starting the regeneration of the Bedminster region as a whole. He’s known fondly by locals for his love of red trousers.

Although it took three attempts, Bristol has proven itself this year as a Green capital. This means that is has been formally recognised as a city:

  • with demonstrable records of achieving high environmental standards
  • which is committed to ongoing environmental improvement and sustainable development
  • which can act as a role model for other cities, and can inspire them to adopt best practices

As we are based in Bristol, we thought we’d give a brief overview of what makes it a Green Capital.

Bristol is the UK’s city with the lowest per capita emissions of CO2. In 2010, Bristol’s per capita emissions were just 4.7t, compared to 5.6t on average in other major cities, and 6.6t average nationally. This low amount represents a reduction between 2005 and 2010 of 19%.

Bristol has also affected a huge shift in waste management, moving from over 85% of waste being landfilled in 2004-2005 to just 25% of waste being landfilled in 2012-2013. This represents a performance which is now 23% better than the national average, with Bristol producing 378kg household waste per capita, compared to 449kg as a national average.

This is an impressive performance, putting Bristol ahead of national targets to reduce emissions despite a growing local economy, a thriving industry, and a popular university.

How has it achieved these excellent levels of reduction?

Bristol City Council has engaged in many schemes to lower emissions and energy use, including:

  • improving municipality buildings to reduce energy usage
  • modernising street lights – so far 10,500 street lamps have been updated to use energy efficient LEDs.
  • an Eco-Schools programme which improves energy performance and promotes climate change awareness in schools. Also involving 32 schools in a solar power project with an installed capacity of 568kWp.
  • a 6MW wind turbine development on council owned land, making Bristol the first UK council to own wind turbines
  • using schemes to promote awareness and alternative transport to reduce council transport emissions by 32%
  • developing 15 new Biomass boilers fed by organic waste from park/street maintenance
  • a £20m investment in improving the cycling and walking infrastructure
  • improving public transport, with 10 new bus routes and new, more efficient vehicles.
  • facilitating a network of over 250 businesses who have pledged to lower their own carbon emissions and make Bristol a low carbon city with a high quality of life.
  • a scheme which has improved the energy efficiency of over 20,000 homes with insulation and improved energy systems
  • providing bespoke and accessible advice to over 100,000 residents to help the community affect positive changes
  • requiring all new developments to have an energy plan and to incorporate on-site renewable energy generation
  • weekly recycling collection services for 14 recyclable materials
  • a network of recycling sites and household waste recycling centres
  • a massive awareness and informational campaign alongside social enterprises to inform and educate people about better waste management and how to lower waste production
  • targeted and specially designed informative communications to encourage the reduction of waste and better waste management habits, including linking recycling to Islamic teaching and practices

This is just a handful of the strategies Bristol City Council have adopted to make sure that Bristol is not only one of the greenest cities in the UK, but also in the whole of Europe, and well deserving of its title of European Green Capital of 2015.

You can find out about events and more info about Bristol’s year as European Green Capital at the website bristol2015.

CCS 2015 – Building the Desired City

Written by Alice Rees on . Posted in General Information, News, News & Updates, Venezuela

The country manager in Venezuela for Nektarina’s Education for Sustainability project, Vladimir, attended the first CCS Forum, entitled ‘Building the Desired City’. The forum took place in Caracas early in May and had several high calibre speakers, including Wynn Calder, the eminent director of ULSF (University Leaders for Sustainable Futures) and Sustainable Schools LLC. Wynn is the director of Sustainable Schools LLC, co-director of the Association of University Leaders for Sustainable Futures (ULSF), and the review editor of the Journal of Education for Sustainable Development.

Other speakers included Ann Cooper, a chef and advocate of healthy food for children; Larry Black, an expert in environmentally-friendly and sustainable architecture; historian and anthropologist Joseph Tainter; and Nancy Nowacek, visual artist and designer.Wynn Calder

The forum was inspired by and the ideal of a city which offers quality lives to its citizens and future generations, and aims to create a space for considering sustainability. Sustainability is innately linked to this goal, particularly ensuring that future generations can continue to enjoy the quality of life that current citizens have, and so Wynn Calder’s prominence in the lineup was vital to ensure the success of the forum.

Mr Calder gave a fascinating presentation wherein he discussed some of the ways schools he’s worked with have incorporated sustainability into the education of their students. Many schools had in fact gone further than just this and had made sustainability part of the school ethos – a part of the student’s lives rather than just another box they have to tick.

Prominent among them is a rural school which created a garden, which has truly become a part of the school experience for students there. Now incorporating an outdoor classroom, and a produce section much loved by the school’s chef, they have ensured that each student feels a sense of ownership over the project and gets involved with it in some way.

Other tales include schools now involved in a study on Monarch butterflies, schools taking on mass clean-up actions, schools encouraging children to take more of an interest in how their food is produced and how sustainable it is, and many more. Listening to someone talk about such a wide variety of initiatives was extremely useful for Vlad and the rest of the E4S country managers (who were able to see a video of the presentation).

As I watched the video, I started to think about the differences and similarities between the projects. More than just things like whether it was an urban or rural school, or what age group was being targeted, I considered the ideas and outcomes of the projects and came to a few conclusions.

Perhaps the most important thing about these projects are that the children were not just taking part in them – they were taking ownership of them. Collecting their own data for research studies, clearing their own playing fields, growing their own plants; these schools were not simply teaching the students about sustainability, but really getting involved with it, making them care about it and helping them realise that if they want their younger sibling, their cousin, their own children to enjoy the world as they do, they must act sustainably.

As well as empowering them to take ownership, these projects inspire the children. Whether they are inspired to picture a beautiful, flourishing garden, to imagine their name on a research paper, to consider how it would feel to meet the cows that produce the milk in their cereal – what exactly doesn’t matter so much as the act of inspiration itself.

These projects have captured the hearts and minds of many hundreds of children, and that is what the E4S project aims to do. The experience and expertise of Wynn Calder has been extremely valuable in this, and we can’t wait to put these principles of ownership and inspiration into practice across the Education for Sustainability project.

Education For Sustainability in Sierra Leone, April 2015

Written by Alice Rees on . Posted in General Information, News, News & Updates, Sierra Leone

By George Mansaray, E4S Country Manager, Kiradi Initiatives, Sierra Leone

Introduction

The report under review is specific to the curricular review process and the collaborative efforts of other local organizations in ensuring its success by addressing the actual educational needs of the country.

It also focuses on the new path taken to engage the hundreds of school pupils that became pregnant during the Ebola sit at home ordeal to stay on course.

It further highlights challenges and recommendations for the smooth implementation of the said initiative.

sierra leone

The curricula review process

The review process for April has been fabulous, with lots of interest being shown by national organizations and government departments for the inclusion of sustainability issues in the curricula. The city council, the environmental protection agency and other like-minded groups organized much of the activities. This was a result of several presentations jointly done with local charities arousing their interest on the environmental challenges of the country. The revelations were shocking though and this has prompted further radio debates and community forums on the environment and sustainability.

More so, many organizations are using radio jingles appealing to the government to review the curricula with emphasis on sustainability.

Furthermore, the reopening of schools on April 16 offered the opportunity to use the first two weeks to visit high schools and do presentations on the E4S concept. Fifteen high schools were targeted, two teacher training colleges and ten primary schools.

A strong network has been formed and a proposal to pull resources together to take up the nationwide education campaign for sustainability is being looked into by all participating organizations.

However, the review process has been suspended for the month of May to pay attention to the proper management of schools after missing out for nearly a year.

The education authorities, however, realized that hundreds of young pupils became pregnant during the Ebola sit-at-home campaign. As they number in their hundreds, the girls themselves did not want to miss out in school, and so then the government has proposed an accelerated literacy project for these set of girls across the country. Therefore, a special curriculum will be developed in the month of May to keep these girls in school. The review team is currently working on the task for which I am involved to hammer sustainability to be a direct school subject in the accelerated literacy project.

back to school in sierra leone

The challenges

  • The challenges had been a lack of funds despite the acceptance of the initiative by the government. Lack of funds is not shown to the education authorities; our charity uses miscellaneous funds and salary from Nektarina to keep the initiative afloat.
  • A break in communication across the board
  • Left in suspense with regards the current status of the international office and project implementations across the various projects

Recommendations

  • Prompt response to project activities to enhance work as scheduled
  • Clearer lines of communication for updates to reduce waiting times of country manager and team.